COVID-19 health crisis has affected the health of many around the world, and staying healthy should come first and foremost. However, the COVID-19 crisis has had far-reaching implications on the economy too, which has affected the well-being of people in other ways. Small business owners are barely surviving under these new terms. Normal life as we know it has changed, as we are restricted to what we can do, where we can go and who we can see – and as unfortunate as it may be for business owners, businesses need to acknowledge and adjust to this in the interim. There’s no telling when the effects of COVID-19 will end, and because of that, it’s time we start adjusting to the “new normal” – at least for the immediate future.
Online Marketing & Corporate Responsibility
Personally, I’m a big believer in corporate social responsibility in general, but in times like these, it really matters. Just like people help other people during times of need, so businesses should have a responsibility to help others how they can – however big or small. Of course, not all businesses have financial means – and in times like this when money is tight, there are other ways to help.
What should businesses be doing to help everyone (and themselves) in this time of crisis? Here are a few ideas:
3 Ways Business Owners Can Help Themselves & Others During COVID-19
Update Google My Business
Google My Business is typically used to find service area and brick-and-mortar businesses close to a searcher’s location. As people scramble to search for local restaurants and stores online, updating the status of your business on Google My Business is the right thing to do. For instance, if your store is closed indefinitely, it’s important to mark that in your GMB listing. Google even includes this in the dashboard of your Google My Business listing, which brings you to this page about COVID-19 & Google My Business.
For example, here in Boston, bars and restaurants are have banned people from dining in – however, some restaurants are still offering takeout. Online searchers will never know that unless it’s posted somewhere online.
Here are some things to update on Google My Business during COVID-19
- Indicate if you’re closed
- Update to modified hours
- Update your description if your services have temporarily changed
How to Modify Hours or Mark Closed on Google My Business:
In your Google My Business dashboard, go to “special hours”, and add the upcoming dates you plan to alter your business hours or remain closed. The “special hours” feature is often used for Holidays and other days in which your business schedule deviates from regular hours, and will override your regular hours of operation. Special hours in Google My Business should look like this:
Other Local Directories
It’s important to note that it shouldn’t stop with Google My Business. Consider other what local directories your online audience may use, and update those as well. These may include:
- Angie’s List
Content & Blogging
Another way businesses can help others is by offering your expertise to help others. Publishing (and promoting) a blog post can do just that. Many people looking for answers online to questions people are typing into Google to help them get through this time – businesses can do their part by providing advice on subject areas they are expert in. In addition to Google, Facebook, Instagram or other social media can help increase your audience. Think about how many people are stuck at home, browsing Facebook and Instagram. There’s a better chance of reaching these people, and your content will help them through these tough times.
Going back to the restaurants, I’ve seen a few Boston-based food bloggers and influencers create a resource on their blog that lists restaurants sorted by neighborhood that are still doing takeout orders. Not only is this a helpful resource for those who are looking for food (especially with grocery store shortages), but also for restaurant owners that are struggling in these times.
Virtualize Your Services
COVID-19 has made it difficult to meet face-to-face, which has certainly affected many businesses. That being said, it may be time for businesses to start exploring other alternatives to providing services – including video conference meetings.
Video conferencing meetings enable two people in a different location to communicate using an online virtual platform. It’s a method that people in many industries may not typically be used to, but could apply to their business.
Many customers may need your services now more than ever, and in these times, a video conference enables businesses and organizations to deliver those services. Consider promoting that you are using video conferencing to your customers and clients – you may even want to create a landing page that details how you use video conferencing temporarily, and what your customers can expect.
How I Plan To Help:
First, I hope the information in the post was helpful for small businesses not knowing what to do. This should provide some idea on how they should operate to keep their businesses afloat online under these new and unfortunate circumstances.
In addition to these tips for business owners, I am happy to offer my services to businesses and organizations that are actively helping others get through COVID-19 through content and SEO. If there are any COVID resources I can help improve in Google searches, please let me know.