Covid-19 Adaptation Plan for Local Businesses

Move Online If You Haven’t Yet

Note: This guide is meant to inspire local businesses and get their creative juices flowing.

If stay at home orders are administered in your area read this guide. Even if stay at home orders are not in place, many people are choosing to stay home for their safety. Either way, most people will be home and will be browsing the internet in boredom. They might even be looking to buy.

Your business may not survive if it doesn’t move online or at least add online services in addition to your physical services. It’s critical that you adapt to the current situation.

Moving online completely or partially would be a smart action to take in the long run. This would be favorable for your business if other types of emergencies in the future were to break out:

  • Natural disasters
  • Epidemics
  • Civil unrest

Service Providers

Some types of businesses that offer physical services can’t really sell them online. But here’s what they can do!

If you offer physical services such as lawn care, HVAC, cleaning, plumbing, etc., why not temporarily offer walking your customers through repairs via a video call? Some smaller, easier repairs can be done this way. You can make a little money and the customer who is stuck at home gets some work done around the house.

Many customers may just want to be educated so they can manage their home while a stay at home order is in place. For example, they may want to know:

  • How do I clean my duct work properly?
  • How often should I be mowing my lawn?
  • How do I clean a clogged drain?
  • What’s the best way to get grease off of kitchen cabinets?

You can call it something like “virtual coaching” or “virtual training”.

Of course, it would be smart to add this option to your home page and make it very obvious.

Examples

MUST READ: Doable Examples of Online / Remote Services Offered by Local Businesses
Phil Rozek created an awesome article showing real-life examples that many businesses can copy.

Alternate Methods of Contact

Here are some ideas on how you can contact and help your customers without having physical contact with them.

Face-to-Face Meetings

Instead of meeting in-person, you can meet virtually and still see each other’s faces.

Virtual Shopping

Offer to walk them around your shop and ship them items they choose.

Instant Messaging

Share Recorded Videos

Phone calls

Traditional phone calls are super easy and work well.

Emails

Old school email is still effective.

Start Selling Online

  • Offer no-contact services
  • Offer shipping
  • Offer to-go
  • Offer delivery
  • Offer virtual consultations
  • Offer virtual training sessions
  • Offer virtual shopping in your store

Google My Business

On Google My Business listings, Google is temporarily doing the following:

  • There is a new Google Post type for COVID-19 updates. This Post type gets top spot in desktop and mobile and expires after 14 days.
  • Businesses can update their GMB Title (Business Name) to add pertinent information, such as “Curbside Pickup” or “Takeout Available” to their business name due to COVID-19.
  • Review functionality has been temporarily disabled. There will be no new reviews or replies at this time. You can still write a review on many listings and submit them, however they will not be posted publicly. When you add your review a message pops up thanking you for your review and states, “Your contribution may be delayed at this time.” For business owners the ability to respond to reviews is unavailable at this time as well.

References:
https://whitespark.ca/blog/keeping-gmb-accurate-during-covid19-pandemic/
https://localu.org/2020/03/23/google-my-business-changes-due-to-covid-19/

Retaining Customers

Pricing

Not all businesses can afford this but here are some ideas.

If clients contact you to cancel offer them:

  • Discounted prices for a temporary amount of time
  • Deferred payments
  • Offer a month free

These may not sound like a good idea but if a client cancels, they may not come back even after Covid-19 has calmed down. Keeping them on as a customer now could help them stay a customer for a longer period of time. For example, offering a free month and then having them stay a customer for another several months or so is not a bad deal.

Welfare Checks

Why not check on your customers to see how they are fairing? Ask if they have toilet paper, water, food, etc. If you have the capacity, tell them you will drop off what they need. Even a roll of toilet paper or a can of tuna would touch their hearts if they were truly in need.

This will go a long way. They will remember that you were there for them during a rough time and they will not forget that. Even if they don’t stay a customer, they will definitely refer you business over the coming years.

Plus, you’re a decent human being anyway and you care!

About Dani Owens

Dani Owens, the owner of Pigzilla, has been in the digital marketing field since 2011. Her resources have been mentioned and shared by local SEO experts such as Eric Ward, Darren Shaw, Phil Rozek, Marie Haynes, David Mihm and Local U. From small, independent Mom-and-Pop shops, to enterprises with thousands of locations, Dani Owens has years of experience strategizing and implementing reliable local SEO tactics that lead to increased organic traffic and conversions.