We get it, lots of business owners have closed their doors, sent employees home, and are now wondering how they can keep business afloat while we wait out this uncertain period of time.
We all face health worries, concerns about finances, and a desire to help our employees and clients. This is definitely a time to take stock but it’s also a time of opportunity. If you move quickly, you can pivot to a different kind of service for your clients and position yourself ahead of the pack for the inevitable recovery. We WILL come out of this, hopefully, sooner rather than later, and you want to be ready when the time comes.
The question has become, what can you do NOW to keep your clients interacting with you?
First off, don’t ignore them assuming they are busy with other things. They are home and looking for ways to be engaged, keep the kids busy, and stay positive. One look at the incredibly active Nola Family Facebook group we created this week will tell you that parents are hungry for information and help. Feed into that! Some of the things we suggest may not make you any money immediately. You still need to keep engaging. As you are, you may find ways to monetize your efforts. or, they may serve a greater good in keeping you top of the mind for when customers start making buying choices again. Both options are good!
Here are a few suggestions that we came up with that you can implement quickly and with little or no cost. We are happy to share these ideas with everyone. For our advertisers, we will also be happy to share what you are doing with our website visitors, social media followers, and in our new daily newsletter ‘ Nola Family’s Daily Survival Guide’. So be sure to send us information about what you’re doing to keep in touch with your clients. We are in this together.
- Start offering recorded classes/lessons. Dance and yoga studios, music teachers, art teachers–basically anyone with a teachable skill–can all do this. If you have safe access to your studio, great. if not, clear a small space in your home (preferably with a non-distracting space behind you that has your business information printed on it) and set up a makeshift studio. Use your phone or iPad to record your video. It doesn’t have to be perfect! Keep your sessions short, 15 minutes is great. Then upload your video to YouTube.com and share the video link with your clients, via social media, and with us. Be consistent, pick a day of the week and time and do a new lesson each week so that those who enjoy your work can find a new one consistently.
- Paid virtual classes. If you have a skill people generally pay for and it’s something that can be shared remotely, you may be able to use this time to offer paid lessons and classes. Tutoring, music classes, foreign language instruction, SAT prep–all can be done via videoconferencing. Get planning and start teaching ASAP. Consider offering the first lesson for free and then having special multi-lesson rates. Yes, there are companies and organizations offering these services for free but they aren’t local teachers that students can continue to work with after we are no longer housebound–that’s a huge plus for you.
- Virtual storytime. Everyone can read to kids! Pick a fun book, get animated, and read to the camera. Again, share the heck out of it when done and create a consistent schedule for new uploads. Be sure you market yourself at the beginning and end of the video–tell viewers who you are and how they can reach you! If you can find books that pertain to your business, even better.
- Write an article. You have the expertise, now is the time to use it. If you’re a children’s dentist, you can write an article with tips on caring for your child’s teeth when routines are upside down–what a great time to remind parents about how important basic care is. Or how about a short article on what to do in a dental emergency? Post the article to your own website, share via social media and, again, share with us. We will post it and promote it.
- Do you offer services/goods for children’s parties? Kids will be having birthdays over the next few weeks and parents will want to celebrate. If you normally offer party entertainment, can you find a way to still do that? Is there a way that using Zoom would work for a “teleconferencing” party? Can you put together a party package with downloadable props, a how-to sheet, and links to videoconferencing options?
- Workouts from home. Parks and Rec people, sports coaches, etc.: can you offer a weekly workout session? You can do it live via Facebook or create a video with a 15-30 minute workout.
- Offer gift certificates. Even if you don’t now offer gift certificates, get yourself set up to do so quickly. There are lots of online resources to help you set up your site to offer gift certificates but even an old school option, where you do it manually, will work right now. If you can offer an extra incentive for buyers, even better.
- Deploy your email. If you have an email list–no matter how small–now is the time to use it. Send a letter letting your subscribers know how you’re handling this situation. Then, keep in touch. Send a newsletter with activity links or ideas. Share on social media and work on building your list. If you don’t have a list, now is the time to start one. Get a free account at MailChimp or Constant Contact and get going using social media to build it. Contests and giveaways are a great way to get those email addresses and names.
- Finally, stay positive. We will get through this. It may hurt temporarily but things will get back to normal and we all need to keep our eye on that. Use this downtime to work on overdue marketing projects, keep in touch with your audience, and reach a new one. Be sure to keep us updated with what you’re doing. Good luck!
We will have more ideas and helpful tips as we work through this, and are happy to talk to you or share other ideas specific to your business. Don’t hesitate to call me. Our office is 504.866.0555 and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org – Ann Herren, publisher, Fleur de Lis Publishing.