Improving Marketing Channels Step By Step To Survive COVID19 : Social Media Changes You Must Do Today
TL;DR: This How-To is helpful in any industry, budget, business, product or service. The pandemic is changing the way we do business and behave as consumers. Business owners who adapt to these forced changes and see opportunity where others see chaos and losses are the ones who will greatly benefit greatly. My clients, my companies and my family appreciate the work and insight I provide and in this article and the ones following I will be showing you how I am doing things now, what you should be doing as a business owner to help your business thrive and adjust to this new way of doing business. In this How-To I am focusing on social media because it is the cheapest and easiest channel to change and see results immediately. There also resources at the bottom as well as ways to contact me directly.
This novel COVID-19 virus is forcing a lot of changes for businesses, a lot of good and bad changes. The business world won’t be the same, at least not for a while and while we are currently worried about surviving the virus by practicing social distancing; for many of us small business owners, having to let go of our employees, reducing their hours so we can free up whatever little cash we left and pay our own business and personal bills is a reminder of how surviving the virus is also killing our financial stability and future retirements. Or so it seems.
I have the opportunity to work from home, I get to help many small business owners in many countries! I have had the opportunity to work and chatted up with many great entrepreneurs like David Heinemeier, the founder of Basecamp, Will S., of the Startups.co family of companies, with entrepreneurs and their startups funded by Sir Richard Branson himself, A-list actors, I’ve worked with many high profile politicians in various markets, and many cool product launches…Point is, I’m doing something right. The cool thing? I get these jobs working from home, I don’t travel if I don’t want to and definitely don’t depend on it. Is that I don’t drive around looking for jobs? I don’t have an office. I don’t pay for a publicist to go get me work… NO. I practice certain marketing tactics that have been proven just as effective during the COVID-19 quarantine as before this virus spread.
In this article, I will be focusing on Social Media first because those changes are the easiest, probably cheapest to implement and the ones you can see take effect today right away.
Here are some changes you must start on today if you want your small business to survive and thrive
What Is Social Media For A Business Owner During A Pandemic?
After moving back to my hometown I started networking almost daily until a few years back; you see, I wanted to expose myself to the business culture and the circle of local business owners and entrepreneurs. So I networked. Its fun but networking is limited and you also always depend on others liking you enough to where they’d support you or talk to their connections about what you offer.
I have always known that online and inbound marketing is always better, it’s scalable while networking is not; after all, there is only so much time I can dedicate to networking if I also need to get working with my current clients. Inbound Marketing a beauty and COVID-19 quarantine has proven yet again that leveraging the internet-based tools and social networking sites is always the best practice all around. Inbound marketing builds on itself like building relationships, if you follow good practices relationships get stronger and better. Your business reputation improves, your traffic increases and the brand loyalty from your current customers and new prospective buyers also increase so even if they don’t buy from you they still do share your craft. I can be selling and making money while I sleep. Social Media is a 24–7 Networking tool that if you optimize taking advantage of all the not so obvious opportunities you are given in a profile for your advantage you can be generating leads, booking appointments, selling products, and getting more followers even while you are asleep or watching some post-COVID-19 apocalyptic movie safe at home during this 2020 quarantine.
How Meraki Solar Company Is Growing During The Pandemic
Meraki is considered the fastest-growing solar company in the United States since Tesla bought back SolarCity. Up until the purchase of SolarCity and the quarantine, these two companies followed the same business model which heavily relied on door to door marketing. But Meraki Solar Solutions has been improving the industry and helping many business owners and homeowners for a long while now and more so now during the quarantine when many are going unemployed and worried about their mortgage and utility bills. They have even partnered with various companies and individuals to increase their reach. This is a business tactic I called — having Brand Evangelist Soldiers. Honest Maids partnered with Meraki to help educate their homeowner client base about solar-generated electricity. Doing so helps Meraki but also gives companies like Honest Maids which is solely a cleaning company with another non-intrusive reason to send their email subscribers with more content that isn’t just about cleaning.
One of those ways they are increasing sales is not by spending more on advertisements to increase their exposure and play the numbers game… No! What they are doing is making their products cheaper by buying bulk, warehousing, partnering with other installers and banks to not just reduce the price of the equipment but pair it with almost ZERO interest rates, cashback bonuses given to buyers upon installation, 1:1 help during tax seasons to make sure homeowners take advantage of the Government incentives which bring most middle-class families a whole tax bracket lower or more due to the tax breaks!! which means more Tax money back at the end of the year. Meraki is also not tied to doing presentations online, they are now servicing the entire country by leveraging technology in their favor from Zoom meetings to Solar Exposure calculators for the home analysis.
DID YOU KNOW?! But if we were to put the pandemic scare aside for a second, right now is the absolute best time to buy a solar panel or buy a new home or refinance our existing residence!
If you’re curious, send Cesar an email inquiring about how Meraki can help you save money and leverage the situation for your advantage. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (I am not associated with Meraki Solar Solutions)
Promoting On Social Media (Duh! But How?)
You’ve probably have been doing this because the quarantine has given you no choice. This is the easiest and most obvious thing to do! I know. Your store is closed, employees have been laid off and you’re trying to at least get some curve side pickups or home delivery meanwhile- the only thing you have thought about has been promoting on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, maybe even LinkedIn. But, there is a lot more to do than just joining a ton of local Facebook groups so you can then promote as much as possible through them. For example, I run a Facebook group called Small Business Mastermind where business owners share questions and get freebies and 1:1 help from me and other experts. Through this group, I have been helping many small business owners with optimizing their Facebook pages, their Instagram pages and other social platforms they didn’t even know existed but are perfect for their particular product or industry. So instead of just posting shamelessly everywhere, my suggestion to you is to go join my group first! lol Then go to your Facebook business page and follow all of Facebook’s suggestions for how you can improve your page. Easy. But then, go back to your page and make as many changes as you possibly see. In the screenshot below I point out a few things that are ignored 99% of the time yet they are critical.
- Notice that the Honest Maids AZ profile pic is nice and clean, not cluttered and with the logo visible there and in the banner itself.
- During COVID-19, your Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Whatsapp, or Instagram profiles are your networking tools… Stay current. Honest Maids, which is an essential company during the quarantine uses the spaces nicely by promoting services while staying current and helpful with the use of the banner addressing the virus disinfecting services.
- The About Us section to the right has a beautiful banner image with a phrase that begins to show the branding and personality of the company. Whether you open it or not, you already got a feel for who they are as a team. Notice the headline under the picture? “Phoenix Airbnb and Home Cleaning Experts” That is an amazing use of the space because even though their banner doesn’t say so, their profile name doesn’t say so… they are still letting you know of another particular service they offer which also seems to be the core of their expertise. Again, if you don’t open the About Us section on the Facebook profile, you still get a good idea as a customer of what this company does. You don’t have to scroll down any further.
- The Book Now button… Depending on your product or service and whether you need to educate your clients before they are comfortable enough buying or booking — you may need to adjust the button to “Message” or “Call” but if you do a good job educating beforehand as they stroll through your digital store, you can have a direct link to your website or Book Now.
- Linking your page to complimentary businesses is another way to network digitally and have the profile generate visits to your website. You can also send an introductory message to these businesses you have linked to your page and let them know that you are there for them if they need anything as a fellow business owner, neighbor, and possible future partner or vendor.
- Create a post that serves as an “announcement” on your profile pages that is current and relevant to what you are wanting out of visitors. In this case, for example, Honest Maids has made a Promise Announcement for 50% off their home cleaning services during the COVID-19 pandemic. As you can see its also consistent with the branding you saw above in their head banner.
- If you read the post — they have partnered with many other cleaning companies in other states trying to expand their reach of help to anyone who needs it. Honest Maids gets visitors from many states so this is helpful to their particular audience.
- Quarantine means different hours of availability so make sure to change the location, hours of operation, days, etc.
Visiting a website or a social profile is not different than walking and browsing through a store! The more your visitors stay in your page the more they trust and likelier to buy or recommend.
There is no difference between the brick and mortar store and a website!
Think about it, even when we are in a hurry or know exactly why we are going to the store for major retailers trick us into turning our heads, stopping and looking at a random product, often before we know it we’re browsing around for other things to buy while we are there. That is not by accident and it doesn’t just happen to you. When I or my team design websites, flyers, Facebook profiles, anything… our goal is to increase the browsing time. The reasons they may want to keep that flyer or bookmark your website or click-through as many pages as possible so they educate themselves on you and your products. That is your goal.
Most business owners think that it is their job to go and promote their website through Facebook groups, even message friends and family to let them know about what they do. But your job is not selling on behalf of your website and it’s not to promote it either! Your website should be the best damn hard-working sales employee you will ever have! (If it’s not, contact me and I will make sure it is!)
Your job is not to sell on behalf of your website! Its your website’s job to promote and sell for you!
Again, if that is not the case — you definitely need the help of an expert marketer to help you design a better more efficient website. Depending on the product or industry, the website design will vary to its optimal design. But in most cases, the small businesses I get to help; their websites are almost a second afterthought, they think its a waste of money and have built a website only because they think they need one but don’t know why they need one or the true power potential a well designed and managed website can have.
Optimizing Websites, Blogs, and Posts
A little more technical but I’ll try to keep it simple. When it comes to optimizing your blog posts for lead generation, calls-to-action (CTAs) are your best friends. Lead generation CTAs are designed to take visitors to landing pages, where they can then fill out forms in exchange for valuable resources. At Unthink, we tend to put our lead generation CTAs at the bottoms of our posts. However, we’ve also experimented with “slide-in” CTAs, which slide in from the right side of the screen as you’re scrolling through a post. Ultimately, the best way to improve the click-through rates of your CTAs is through (you guessed it!) A/B testing. However, there are a couple of other tips that can help as well.
A/B test blog CTA location, color, copy, and design.
True story: By A/B testing different CTA variations on your blog, you can increase click-through rates by 200% … or higher!
The key here is to pick one element at a time to test, e.g. location, color, copy, or design. Then, you need to run your test long enough to get statistically significant results. You can ensure your test is exposed to many people by paying for ads on Google of Facebook if you’re page or website doesn’t get enough traffic on its own yet due to lack of SEO.
Headlines That Will Grab Their Attention
Writing great headline is essential when it comes to getting visitors to read (and, ultimately, convert on) your company’s blog or social media page. According to Copyblogger, 80% of people read headline copy, but only 20% go on to read the rest of the actual post. What does that tell us? “Headline churn”
is a serious problem: Prospective leads and customers are reading blog post headlines and, instead of engaging further, are bouncing. Bouncing means people walking into your store and almost as soon as they step foot inside they turn back around and leave. Have you done that? Yup! That same feeling you had when you left that store after only catching a glimpse of what was inside is not good for business and is not good for SEO or sales online either.
Linking The Right Pages To Your Blog, Website Content and Social Media Posts
You guessed it! This short paragraph is about the importance of having relevant links on everything that you do. If you haven’t noticed I have been linking pages throughout this how-to. This has been helping my SEO as well as giving readers such as yourself additional resources for resources. Having a great headline paired with the best copy content in your blog or post only to ruin the possibility of generating a sale or booking an appointment because you linked your website home page instead of the specific page of the subject you were just sharing about is tragic. More tragic if you paid to advertise that post. Even more tragic if you consider how many people have seen this and clicked only to bounce after you wasted their time not sending them directly to the page they were expecting to see to continue on from that post or blog entry. Do I need to say more? If you must create a new page with good content for each topic or service or product you sell — DO IT. Its an investment on a post that will live forever and if it works you can easily just keep recycling it and keep that post or blog alive and current through paid ads or create other content that links back to that original page blog or post and thus intertwine the linking tree for your SEO as well expanding on the context that your readers or buyers are building and educating themselves on you without you having to always be networking to mentioning the word SALE or DISCOUNT or Spamming groups on Facebook or your friends and family inboxes.
Inbound Marketing and Social Media Networking during the COVID-19 Pandemic is the best way to grow your business. I hope that this resource has given you a clearer idea as to what you can do online today to get started on a scalable path that your business will thank you for later. My name is Humberto Valle, I am a blogger, Investor, International MBA Strategist, Marketing and Advertising consultant and host of Small Business Mastermind. Join me there, or send me a message on Clarity to chat.