Timothy A. Zercher

Many small businesses are on edge, with potential shutdowns looming again. If you’ve managed to survive this unprecedented pandemic thus far, another shutdown can be daunting, and quite frankly, terrifying, to a small business owner. Let’s look at some of the necessary things your business should be doing to survive, and even some things your business can do to actually thrive and grow during these uncertain times.

Survive: Check your “Google My Business” settings.

Make sure your profile is up to date and accurate, add any information related to what’s different with your business during lockdown, such as hour changes, how to purchase, where to pick up, etc. We suggest adding photos to show how your business is complying with current mandates to reassure your customers. Consider adding a special “lockdown offer” — something humorous or a great deal that will sway customers in your favor (more on that later).

Thrive: Set up online or app ordering.

Maybe you already have this in place, but during a lockdown, ease of ordering and pickup is crucial to not only surviving but thriving. Bonus points for creating an app that your customers can download, see your offerings, and order from directly. Consider adding a rewards system with online ordering to encourage this over phone orders! 

Survive: Use a coupon app such as Groupon.

Sometimes, to drive orders or services, you’ll need to offer a great deal. Look into utilizing a coupon app (alternatively, local coupon books/services) to offer your customers a fantastic deal. Make sure it’s still profitable for your business, and try to give current customers an incentive to buy again, while encouraging new customers. 

Thrive: Create a lockdown offer.

If you’re a restaurant owner, for example, create a new takeout meal that’s made up of customer favorites that they can take home and enjoy family style. For clothing shops, create an outfit from cozy favorites for lounging around the house. Whatever your business, you can take advantage of the situation and create something fun for your customers, and hopefully it will take off. Encourage sharing of this special deal on social media for wider exposure.

Survive: Speaking of social media…

When customers can’t come in person, you’ll want to remain connected to your customer base. Social media is critical in this day and age in normal times, and even more so during a lockdown. Make sure to post regularly to keep your business in front of your customer base and consider shifting your normal marketing and advertising directly into social media advertising as it is much more effective during lockdowns for most businesses.

Thrive: Take advantage of inexpensive advertising.

Take those specials you’ve created and advertise them! Hypertargeting ads and social media advertisements is an inexpensive and highly effective way to reach your ideal audience.  

We’ve made this a huge focus of Z3 Digital during the pandemic because we’ve seen the economic and audience-building success of these types of ads. If you have any questions about hypertargeting ads (they’re a little too complicated to go into here), feel free to reach out to me personally!

Survive: (And outlast)

Finally, remember to stay focused on serving your customers best and outlasting your competitors. Often the largest gains in businesses are made during the hardest times in the economy, but those gains are often only realized after the economic storm passes so you need to make sure your business is still standing be the end of all of this.  

Timothy A. Zercher is the CEO of Z3 Digital. The Z3 Digital team manages over 30 companies’ online marketing, websites and advertising efforts all over the U.S. and is based in southern Colorado.