As hard as it is to write this sentence, it looks like the predicted ‘second wave’ of COVID-19 is fast approaching, and we need to prepare mentally and physically for another lengthy lockdown.
While testing rates are up significantly from the Spring, our numbers of positive results have increased significantly in recent weeks, and appear to be trending in the wrong direction.
Understandably, governments at all levels are reluctant to start closing doors on businesses. The widespread closures earlier this year were painful for so many businesses, with many business owners making the painful choice to close permanently when they saw no clear path to recovery. Yet, if the public health threat continues to grow, many businesses may soon be left with no choice.
So, if October and November mean your clients are opting to stay home - will your business be ready?
Are You Set Up To Provide Virtual Services?
Naturally, there are some business (think bars, nightclubs etc.) which are practically unable to provide services virtually. Yet so many other industries have made the best of technology to offer, if not their full suite of services, at least some measures to keep their clients engaged and their operations intact.
Law, where so much of negotiating strategy takes place in the nuance of subtle body language and the ability to have discrete, impromptu conversations with opposing counsel, quickly evolved this Spring into virtual consultations, and Zoom court. Even though lawyers were declared an essential service and permitted to open their offices as necessary, most opted to find virtual solutions to still provide legal services while ensuring both they and their clients remained safe.
The same techniques applied to a number of service providers who would ordinarily meet clients face-to-face, including doctors, social workers, and even hands-on workers such as physiotherapists. While the setup may not always be ideal, these innovations allowed businesses to keep running in some capacity instead of closing entirely.
Other businesses are thinking completely outside the box. After her industry was practically wiped out by COVID, one of my travel consultant clients refashioned her business model to offer her clients armchair travel experiences. Other businesses are coming up with more innovative solutions, offering their clients an experience different to the one they would have on their premises, but an experience nonetheless.
While virtual services may not be ideal, they may offer a best case scenario when the alternative is no scenario at all.
Are You Using Your Website To Its Fullest Potential?
If you needed to close your doors tomorrow for a few months, your website then becomes your new storefront.
Think about that for a moment. If a potential new client was browsing your website instead of walking past your storefront, would they be interested in learning more about your business?
Similarly, if someone has seen your site before, just as if they used to pass by your front window regularly on their commute, what are you offering today that is new and different to keep them interested?
That last part is key. While content is always the cornerstone of your website, it is even more important once it becomes your primary offering to the public. What can you offer potential clients that is fresh and exciting to either gain new business through virtual services, or keep them engaged enough to become clients when you are able to offer in-person services again?
This is where creativity will go the extra mile. One of my new clients for example, who primarily offers outdoor programs in better weather, is now turning to an online content series to keep her clients engaged and excited for when she is able to resume regular business likely next Spring. Some of my other clients are increasing their output of blogs and newsletters as a means of communication in order to keep reminding the public of their operations. Others are turning to more frequent social media output in order to engage their customer base on platforms already being used more frequently to reach friends and family.
Your website may have been your calling card a year, or even 6 months ago, but moving forward think of it as the lifeblood of your business. With most of us again growing hesitant to leave home, your website is not just how people will find you but how they will then stay connected to your business.
A new and innovative way of offering content may just be what helps your business thrive this winter. Contact me today, and let's work together to keep your clients excited and engaged with your business in ways you may never have thought of before.