The COVID-19 pandemic compromised the safety of our employees and customers; the lack of funding meant that a few organisations had to close up shop for good, and changes in consumer behaviour meant that pivoting your business became costly and risky for some. So, 2020 was enough to send any business owner running for the hills; and, unfortunately, every issue company owners faced last year is not going to disappearing any time soon.
To combat these issues the best we can, here are a few ways you can plan for a more prosperous and forward-moving business this year.
Update your website
This post here gives you some insight into what changes you could make to your website post-COVID-19. It’s all about making sure your users are informed and receive a sense of authority from your site.
Every website should be adding a COVID-19 statement to the homepage, header, or footer of their website, regardless of if they have been affected by the pandemic. If you’re an e-commerce site or have a physical store location, now is the time to spend some time building up your online inventory, updating images and creating tantalising product descriptions.
Level up your social media
Social media profiles can sometimes fall by the wayside when you’re a busy independent business owner and updating them may feel like a chore. However, putting aside some time to ensure that your social accounts are up to date, eye-catching and have a decent amount of content scheduled, will be vital in the coming months.
Optimise your profiles, so that they can appear on search results and attempt to drive traffic to your site at every possible opportunity.
Reviews and testimonials
Building up a positive online presence is much easier when your business is receiving regular reviews and testimonials. Ask your clients and customers to rate their experience online, either on Google or another business site, like Yelp.
You must respond to every comment in a friendly and professional manner, regardless of whether the review is positive, or negative. Add a testimonials page to your website to encourage users to build trust with you and, ultimately, convert.
It’s not just about beating your competition. Small and medium-sized enterprises always benefit from collaboration, so forming strong alliances with others in your industry is be a great way to move your business to the next level.
Now, we will forgive you for thinking that collaborations are merely a social media giveaway or an online competition; they are so much more than that. Top tip: giveaways do not work, so do not waste your time.
Contact some of the other organisations within your niche and get together to hold an online event or collaborative sale. It pays off to get into the mind of your ideal audiences and target demographic, understand what they need, and the rest will follow. For example, if you are a local wine retailer, think about collaborating with a local cheesemaker, or a butcher. You could go from being a company that sells wine, to a company that provides the experience of a fabulous night in.
Integrate Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the reporting tool to end all reporting tools for business owners. It is simple, easy to use and gives you statistics that you did not even know were possible to track.
To install Google Analytics within your website, create yourself a Google account, input all of your business information, then add the code to your HTML. If you are not super tech-savvy, have no fear, we can get this all set up for you, track your data and even put together comprehensive reports with detailed actions points of what these numbers mean and how to improve.
Google Analytics gives you the ability to track how many people visit your website, how long they are there for, what they do there and if they convert.
Not to mention tracking who came from where, your e-commerce transaction rate, and which visitors viewed products, added to their basket, but did not check out. I could sit here all day singing the praises of Google Analytics and why it is so incredibly vital to the running of your online business activities, however, it may just be easier for you to get on with installing it.
Keep your ear to the ground
Our final tip is to make sure you stay on top of the industry news within your sector. Your business needs to keep an eye on the big players in your area, paying attention to who your current customers are and why they are buying from you.
Consumer trends have taken unprecedented turns in the past 12 months, with hand sanitiser manufacturers and toilet roll producers rubbing their hands… not just to keep them clean. Small businesses who jumped on the home delivery and click-and-collect bandwagons first have maximised their profits in this respect. Keep your business practises flexible enough to pivot when necessary and you could end up beating competition to the punch in 2021.
The past year has not been a walk in the park for independent businesses. Even if you have seen an increase in revenue, hopped on an emerging trend, or seen a rise in customer satisfaction, the chances are that you may still have found it difficult to adjust.