The New Normal
Adapt Or Be Left Behind
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or are Jared Leto on a meditation retreat, chances are COVID-19 has affected you in some way. At the time of this writing, cases all around the world are skyrocketing, the stock market is shaky, industries are laying off workers, and businesses are struggling to find a way to navigate these troubled waters. When all is said and done, the economic landscape will likely look much different than it did pre-pandemic. Businesses that plan ahead and adapt have a chance to make it through it.
In this blog, we will show you…
- Workforce management tips, including our favorite tele-conferencing softwares
- How you can migrate your business online
- How to stay in touch with your most valuable customers
- Government assistance programs to keep you afloat
DISCLAIMER: this is a general guide that will not apply to all businesses/industries. We realize that every situation is different, but hopefully this will provide some useful information to help you get through this.
Managing A Remote Workforce
“Tele-conferencing” refers to using softwares to hold virtual meetings, similar to Face Timing someone. This is not a new phenomenon, but it has greatly accelerated as a necessity due to the pandemic. Whether you need to meet with employees, clients, three people, or fifty people, you can do it all using tele-conferencing. And, thanks to modern technology, it is fortunately easy to get started.
Our Top Picks
1) Google Hangouts
- Starter plan supports up to 100 participants at once
- Chat functionality
- Simple and easy to use
- Screensharing capability
- Must have a Gmail account to do text or video calls (phone calls OK)
- Limited functionality & integrations compared to other services
2) Google Hangouts Meet
Price: (starts at $6/month) – view pricing options
- Best bang for your buck. Google Hangouts Meet is available a G Suite subscription which comes with other collaboration and productivity applications
- Supports to 100 participants at once
- Simple and easy to use
- Screensharing capability
- Integrates with Google Calendar
- Only accessible using the Google Chrome browser on computers
- Dial-in phone calls limited to 8 hours
- Lacks some collaborative meeting tools offered by others, like surveys, polls, etc.
- Recording only available with the Enterprise Plan
Price: (starts at $14/month, 14-day free trial available) – view pricing options
- Starter plan supports up to 150 participants
- Unlimited meeting recording capabilities
- HQ audio signal
- No time limit on meetings
- Screensharing capability
- Plenty of integrations available (i.e. Salesforce)
- No free, basic plan available
- Stable internet connection required – even a small glitch will require you to completely restart the meeting
Task Management Softwares
Juggling a lot of projects can be difficult, especially when your employees are working from home. To keep everything running smoothly, we recommend using a task management software. These are tools that help you organize all of your projects, assign tasks to employees, collaborate on ideas, etc. We recently wrote a blog on this topic, explaining which is our favorite and why! Check it out below.
Migrating Your Business Online
E-Commerce - Now is the Time
As of 2018, nearly 2/3 (64%) of small businesses in America had a website. If yours does not, now is the time to get one! The next step is setting up your website for e-commerce – if it’s suited for your industry.
A few of products/services that can be sold online:
- Gift cards
- Consulting services
- Video series (ie by a fitness trainer)
- Subscription boxes
- and much more!
Dolo Digital has been building e-commerce websites for years. Contact us today for a free consultation to see if e-commerce is right for your business.
Staying in Touch With Your Customers
Email marketing remains one of the most powerful tools businesses have at their disposal. Whether you are trying to drive sales, providing updates, establishing yourself as an authority on a subject, or wishing a customer happy birthday, email marketing is well-equipped to help you succeed.
Don’t just take our word for it – look at the data.
- Proven effective
- 91% of marketers rated email as the “most important” marketing channel (DMA, 2019)
- You are 6 times more likely to get a click on an email than on a tweet (Campaign Monitor, 2019)
- Abandoned cart emails sent within 1 hour can convert 6.33% of shoppers (SaleCycle, 2019)
- 59% of surveyed consumers say marketing emails influence their purchase decision (SaleCycle, 2018)
- 40x more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook & Twitter combined (McKinsey, 2014)
- A receptive audience
Which Email Marketing Platform Should You Use?
Now that you’re ready to start utilizing email newsletters to stay in touch with your customers, which platform should you use? We’ve used a variety of them over the years, and each has their own strengths/weaknesses. Without going into too much detail, here are our favorite email platforms and why.
Sendinblue – Our favorite, accessible & customizable
MailChimp – Industry leader and easy to learn, use
Omnisend – Great for e-commerce
Growing Your Email Audience
There’s no better time than now to start growing your subscriber base! The sooner you do, the sooner you can reap its benefits. Remember though, this is not a “one-and-done” process – it is a marathon that requires consistent time/effort.
Here are a few places you can attract subscribers and tips to entice them to join:
- Email signup form
- Using WordPress? Here’s a quick guide to adding a MailChimp form to your website
- Gated content – Offer a compelling piece of content (ie whitepaper, video, etc) and make it only accessible when someone subscribes to your newsletter
- Pop ups – Although they’re typically unwelcome, pop ups can quickly grab someone’s attention. Butter them up to with a special offer that is only available to subscribers
- Facebook email signup tab
- Using MailChimp? Here’s a quick and easy way to add a signup tab to your Facebook page.
- Driving users to a landing page with an email signup form
- Instagram, for example, gives each profile one URL that they can link to, but you can expand this number by leading users to a landing page with additional links. This can include an email signup form! Need help? Contact Dolo Digital today!
- Social advertising
- Facebook lead gen ads
Government Assistance & Other Initiatives for Small Businesses
The CARES Act
Federal Income Tax Filing/Payment Extension
Small business owners fortunately do not have to fret about taxes for a few more months. The new deadline for filing your income tax return is July 15th, 2020. This new deadline is also true for tax payments of up to $10 million. For state and local tax information, we recommend contacting your state tax agency.
Facebook Small Business Grants Program
Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for businesses disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, in the US, this is only available for businesses in major metropolitan areas. Use the button below to see if your business qualifies.
Facebook’s advertising support is limited during this time. Fortunately, Dolo Digital has extensive experience in setting up and managing Facebook/Instagram advertising campaigns. For a free consultation, contact us today.
Amazon Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund
Amazon created a relief fund for small businesses located around their Seattle headquarters office. To see if you qualify, visit the link below.
Yelp Relief for Restaurants & Bars
Yelp is offering free advertising credits for restaurants and bars impacted by the pandemic. This is available for small, independently owned restaurant and nightlife businesses in the US, Canada, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.