COVID-19 and Growing Your Business Online in the Midst of a Pandemic

Written by: Tyler Willis

Front and center right now – both in the world and in your market – is Coronavirus. This pandemic has already had an enormous impact on the world and that looks to only continue

Not only has this greatly affected our personal lives but it has (and will continue to) affect our businesses and organizations as well.

Although our primary goal is that of health and safety during this time, as business leaders, owners and employees, we are also responsible for helping our organizations weather the storm of this disease during the next few months.

Goals and projections may need to be reevaluated and take a different form, however, I think that there may even be opportunities for smart companies looking to be proactive during this time.

Here are a few opportunities:

1. Earn your customer’s trust

I’m sure, by now, you’ve received communication from many large companies that you’re a personal (or business) customer of stating how they’re handling COVID-19 and any potential impact to their services.

This is a great way to establish trust with your customers by delivering clear, concise and complete communication. If COVID-19 has no effect on your business, first of all, congratulations – you’re one of the few.

Secondly, creating a touchpoint with your customers is never a bad thing so send out a message or post something on your site stating that you are still able to be reached normally.

Don’t be the last one to post something about COVID-19. Open up the communication lines with your customers ASAP.

2. Increase the size of your online audience

People are going to be home A LOT during the next few months – working or spending time away from work. That means that there are going to be many more people online during the day either performing searches or just trying to fill time.

If you don’t currently have a plan in place for growing your business online then now is the time.

That might look like establishing a strategy for leveraging social media, search engine optimization, paid advertising, creating videos, or a myriad of other things.

Yes, people will continue to digest online content long after COVID-19 has gone away, but there are a lot of people digesting it now so don’t wait any longer.

3. Establish solid content creation habits

… and go ahead and establish a content creation strategy already!

A “content creation strategy” is just fancy talk for establishing a schedule of creating blog posts or some other form of content. I’ll dive into this more in a later email, but that could look like any of the following:

  • Blog posts
  • News posts
  • Case studies, testimonials
  • Industry news, feedback and critiques

… among many other things.

There are a number of tools out there to give you tips on what types of content to create and what topics to cover, but my focus here is on you developing a good habit of content creation.

Do what you can – whether it’s one post per month or one per day. Get started now – especially if you yourself have a little extra time on your hands during the pandemic.

4. Collect and leverage a customer email list

You wouldn’t want to go through all of the trouble of creating content unless you have a plan to leverage your audience that is consuming the content.

One way, and perhaps the most important way, to do this is by making sure that your website is highlighting and pointing toward what you want your customer’s to do (e.g. buy a product, sign up to learn more and become a lead).

Another way would be for you to capture email addresses of individuals who decide to give them to you because of their interest in the content you’re creating or because of a promise of other returned value (e.g. “sign up to get this free case study”).

With these email addresses, you can then publish a highly-targeted newsletter – similar to the content creation above but more targeted to just your email list. Once you’ve received the email, you can be assured that the potential customer is one step closer to being your actual customer.

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Important COVID-19 Announcement

At Mullin/Ashley, we’re very concerned about the well-being of our customers, employees, business partners and communities currently battling to control the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) threat.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced that effective Monday, March 23, 2020, all non-essential businesses in the state must close their offices.  A follow-up pronouncement on March 30 instituted further “stay-at-home” orders for Maryland residents.

We are complying with these mandates.  In fact, in anticipation of the Governor’s announcements, we had already taken steps to reduce our social footprint by setting up all Mullin/Ashley employees to work from home, with no interruption in the delivery of services.

In addition, travel activities by our staff have been severely curtailed since early March.

By taking these steps, we’re committed to continuing to provide our customers with the services they need, even as we work to reduce our social footprint.

We continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis and will take additional steps to minimize the risks from the COVID-19 virus, as needed.  Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work collectively to control the Coronavirus threat.

— The Mullin/Ashley Team