Whether you’re self-employed or working for an organization, there’s no doubt times are tough and getting tougher. Many of us are worried about how to make ends meet. But can we look at the current state of affairs — and other times when business is slow — as an opportunity? Rather than worrying, how can we make the best use of the available time?
Sowing the seeds of marketing now can pay off in the long run. Here are some suggestions for what you can do now so that when the world gets back on its feet, you’ll be ahead of the game:
1. First and foremost, look after your health.
We all know by now about social distancing and washing our hands. Do whatever you need to do to boost your immune system so that if you do come into contact with COVID-19, your body will be prepared to fight off the virus. If you do get sick, take the time needed to recover. Then you’ll be healthy to get back to work.
2. Do a review of your website’s content.
Now is a good time to re-visit the content of your entire website. Read through every word on every page with a critical eye.
- Is all the information up-to-date? Perhaps the number of years you’ve been in business is no longer accurate. Maybe you (or other staff members) have changed titles or designations?
- Are there products or services that you’re no longer offering? Or new ones that you’ve forgotten to mention?
- Is there a typo or two you never noticed? e.g., perhaps you used the word “than” when you meant to use “then.”
- Are photos of you (or staff members) woefully out of date?
- Maybe you’ve moved to a different location and/or have different contact information.
- Most importantly, is your message still relevant? Pretend that you’re a potential customer/client, visiting the site for the first time. Is the copy (text) grabbing your attention and making you want to keep reading? If not, it’s time for an overhaul in that department.
- What about the design? Is it looking dated compared to modern websites?
- Is the site mobile friendly (responsive)? In today’s age of smartphones and tablets, this is paramount.
- Is your site secure? i.e., is there a little lock symbol in the address bar? If not, that’s another thing to address.
After a thorough review, you may want to speak with a copywriter and/or web designer to help address some of the issues that you can’t handle yourself.
3. If you’re using WordPress, make sure all associated files are up-to-date.
In order to keep things running smoothly and securely, it’s imperative that the version of WordPress itself is the most recent. It’s also important that all plugins and theme files are as current as possible. And, it’s a very good idea to ensure that you have recent and regular back-ups of all files.
If you’re not comfortable taking care of these items, speak with your web developer.
4. Write new blog posts.
If you don’t have a blog, now is a good time to think about starting one. If you already have a blog, now’s a good time to stockpile future posts.
If you struggle publishing on a regular basis — once a week; once a month; whatever you had planned on doing — write as many advance articles as you can. As long as they’re not overly time-sensitive, you can then save those to use as future posts. Save them as drafts. Then, down the line when you just don’t have time to write something, all you’ll have to do is call up one of those drafts and hit the “publish” button. Or you can simply set the publish date for sometime the future.
5. Try your hand at different forms of media.
Video is a fantastic way to gain your audience’s interest and trust. You don’t need fancy recording and editing equipment to churn out a simple 90-second video. You can do a friendly welcome message for your home page. And, if you’re really adventurous, you can do other videos to provide information on specific services or products you offer.
What about starting a podcast? If that’s something you’ve considered in the past, now’s the time to give it a try. Why not? You might discover a new passion and fun way of attracting new business.
6. Explore social media.
I know this isn’t for everyone, but there might be one or two platforms that do work for you. Maybe Facebook’s not your thing, but Twitter is. LinkedIn might not be for you, but perhaps Instagram is. Spend an hour or two checking out the various channels and see if any appeal to you and would be something you could see yourself using to promote your business. If used properly, one (or more) avenue(s) of social media can be quite beneficial. Even if only to announce your latest blog posts.
7. Get new business cards (or redesign your old ones).
Yes, people do still hand out physical cards. There’s something about holding a firm piece of paper that most people like. Cards are so easy to give to someone you meet. They act as a reminder to that person to check out your website or give you a call or email.
8. Start that project you’ve been putting off.
Remember that brilliant idea you had a few months? The one you keep saying you’ll get to when you have the time? Well, now you have the time.
Whether it’s setting up a workshop or creating a resource library on your website or anything else, why not get the ball rolling now? It’s quite likely other people, who you may want to collaborate with, now have the time as well.
9. Learn new professional skills.
The more education you have, the more services you can offer your clients and the better you can do your job. This may simply involve reading that industry-related book you bought, but have yet to crack open. Or perhaps there are online courses you can take. The possibilities are endless.
I know what you’re thinking… social distancing. But that just means it’s not so easy to meet with people in person. You can still contact people that you may want to work with by email, phone, or video chat. Even if some of the efforts don’t materialize into long-term business connections, the communication alone is good for the soul at this time.
11. Clean up your (home) office and your computer.
You probably have some filing and organizing that has needed to be done for ages. Do it now.
Give your computer a good virtual cleaning. Get rid of old, unnecessary files. Clean up your email. Rearrange folders. All of these actions will help make your time more productive.
These are just some ways that you can make good use of your time right now. The more you do, the more benefits you’ll see down the line, when you are back to work at full steam. You just might end up with more business then and you’ll look back and be grateful you had the foresight now.