Over the past few months, a lot has changed for both businesses and consumers because of Covid-19. As stay-at-home policies were announced across the country, brick-and-mortar businesses had to decide how to move forward. Restaurants had to change course and emphasize orders for delivery and curbside pickup. Many businesses needed to learn how to switch gears to survive this strange new world.
Although many states and cities are going through various re-opening phases, consumers continue to rely heavily on online shopping and delivery apps for essential needs. Even before the pandemic, the global online shopping market was a multi-trillion dollar industry; our new lifestyle is only increasing that share. People are showing that they prefer the ease and convenience of shopping with just a click of a button. It’s great to be able to buy anything without even needing to get out of bed.
The need to have a strong online presence was clear before; the pandemic is only forcing businesses without one to get it together. What exactly does that mean for a business and its internet presence? Is it enough to just throw together a basic website and call it a day? Well, not quite.
Is Your Business Ready?
This whole pandemic situation is particularly unusual, but it has always been important for businesses to prepare for the unknown, at least to a degree. If customers are somehow unable to see you in person, how are they going to find you to do business? Having a reliable and responsive website is like an insurance policy for your business. If you wait for an emergency situation to get your online act together, it will be too late. Instead, take the time to future-proof with one or more of these suggestions.
Refine Your Brand Identity
Even when physical storefronts are unable to open, the internet welcomes customers 24/7. Just as you would style a physical storefront to entice customers, you should also take time to perfect your internet branding. Are you using the same, unoriginal website template as everyone else out there? Are your colors and fonts consistent, and are your style choices user-friendly? Is your social media cohesive with your website? Keeping your branding clean and consistent will give your customers confidence that you are still ready for business in any situation.
Invest in a Custom Website
If you don’t already have a website set up, you need one. In 2020, every business needs to be online, even if it’s just a single, well-designed landing page that lets the world know you exist. Furthermore, you want to make sure your website is user-friendly. This means organizing your content so that everything is easy to read, optimizing your page for quick loading, being set-up for mobile devices like smartphones, and other important things.
Perform a Website Audit
There are a lot of website builders out there that make it seem easy for everyone to create their own website, without hiring a designer. However, there is a lot more to building a great website than just making it look good. First and foremost, your website has to be user-friendly. And depending on what your business is, there will be other necessary considerations to ensure your website is adequately serving your customers.
If you are the DIY-sort who has already built your own website, hiring a designer to perform a website audit can be a fantastic option. You can think of this like a house inspection. Your inspector will point out any problems that need to be fixed, and you can decide on your own how to fix them.
Plan a Strategy
A big reason why small business owners struggle with their online presence is they don’t know how to plan ahead. And without professional help, it can be difficult to do! We often see business owners upload pictures on Instagram when they feel like and make last-minute Facebook posts. Many also have a bunch of half-written blog posts that never get published. Everything about their online existence is either spontaneous or an after-thought, and that doesn’t drive business.
Creating an online strategy should take as much time and care as a restaurant coming up with a new seasonal menu or a retail store readying for a holiday sale. These things require planning and preparation. There are a lot of businesses out there with different goals and needs. You may need more planning for social media, branding, content, or a mix of all three. Taking time to plan ahead, like making a content calendar or scheduling all your social posts, will save you time and headache in the long-run, as well as ensuring the consistency of your online presence.
Finding the Right Team
Just as sidewalks improve community infrastructure, so having an online presence improves your business. Sidewalk Marketing is here to support your marketing needs from branding to website design to content marketing. To fit varying budgets and demands, we offer services that range from gentle advice to hands-on, full-service brand creation. Are you ready to future-proof your website? Tell us more about your business today! We’ll get your web presence up and running in no time.