Where there’s a will there’s a way…
Over the past few weeks, difficult conversations have been had across the country and worldwide. Where life changes by the hour it seems, we have all had to adapt to a new way of working, living, parenting and maintaining relationships. The whole world has quite literally been turned on its head.
In particular, the business world has been propelled from “business as usual” to, well quite frankly, not.
But, what we have seen are emerging markets. Business owners who are worried about the future are now re-evaluating and turning their business ideas into reality. We have seen physiotherapists conducting video appointments, easing the demand on the NHS with a triage service to keep people away from GP surgeries and hospitals. We have seen teachers taking to Google Classrooms and Zoom to conduct their lessons online. We have seen fitness professionals offer online workouts and support groups everywhere. We have seen restaurants share video recipes of their most popular dishes and catering companies switch to home deliveries of fresh produce and home-cooked meals.
All of this shows that if the business as you know it can’t function as usual, with some thinking outside the box, it may be possible to find a way to continue. And we all have it in us. What we all have now is the time to take stock and allow that creativity to flow. Where down time is forced, we have more time to digest what is really important.
In just 3 short weeks we have evolved. As families, as businesses and as people. How great is that!?
We want to help you stay positive, so each of our teams has come up with some top tips to help get you and your business through these crazy times. Read on, stay safe and most of all, keep smiling.
Justine – Our MD and marketer suprema
In my many conversations with business owners, I have been asked time and again whether it is insensitive to keep marketing a business through this difficult period.
Whilst I can’t provide a definitive answer for all businesses, on the whole, I would say yes. After all, whether you are BtoB or BtoC you have a captive audience and you want to trade again in the future.
The main thing that should change is WHAT you say in your marketing messages and HOW you say it.
So whether you are trading (business as usual), have branched out into new areas or even if you have scaled back or paused all marketing, here are a few top tips to keep your brand ‘out there’, even if it is just about being top of mind for when the trading landscape changes
- Be authentic – support your community and check in on them
- Provide value – share useful knowledge and insights which may help your audience
- Don’t spam. It’s never welcome at the best of times, but now is a really bad time to do it
- Keywords are still important (you need to retain your organic rankings). So, if posting on your blog, website or social media – still include them if it is right context and sensitive to do so
- Keep it personal. Use video conferencing such as Zoom, Google Hangouts of Microsoft teams to stay in touch with your customers or social media audiences (as appropriate)
- Don’t neglect Google My Business. You can still keep this up to date even if your business is temporarily closed, and ensure that customers (and potential customers) know what is going on, what services you are currently providing (if any) and see that the business is still operational. Point of note, there are some restrictions on GMBs functionality currently but this does not seem to affect posts, offers, products or services.
No one knows how long this period of uncertainty is going to last and how quickly small businesses will be able to recover from its effects. But it will come back and we want to make sure that your business is ready for it.
If it helps to have a chat about your recovery plan, give me a call for some free advice – I would be happy to help.
Alex – Our Website Support Exec and keeper extraordinaire of our Helpdesk
In the current climate it’s important to be giving clear and precise messages to your customers and potential customers about how you are running your business. Things might be changing weekly or daily for you so by keeping your website up to date with new opening hours or having a page with your information and arrangements over the coming weeks, you’ll be making sure that they are aware of your latest news and developments. This all helps you stand out as a company to trust and rely on in difficult situations. If you need any help with getting these changes made get in touch with our helpdesk at email@example.com.
Sara – Our Operations Manager and Wellbeing champion
If you’re working from home, it’s really important that you are kind to yourself. Making sure you practice a few daily tasks will help your mental and physical health which in turn will mean you’re better able to cope with the changing and uncertain times. Here are my 5 top tips for keeping strong and healthy in mind and body:
- Keep to your usual working day routine – try to resist having a lie in on the days you’re working. If you keep to your usual routine, your body clock will respond better and you’re more likely to find it easier to adapt to the change
- Make time for mindfulness – 10 minutes is all it takes to shut out the world and recharge.
- Name 3 things that you are grateful for each day – being thankful for the small things really helps keep you in a positive frame of mind
- Take regular breaks – get up, move around, make a cup of tea or coffee, walk round the garden, these will all help to keep you focused
- Get out into the fresh air – it could be you start the day with a run or end the day with a gentle walk. Whichever you choose, this is so important to keep you alert and refreshed.
James – Our Creative Manager and WordPress expert
With everyone’s health being of great importance right now, it’s possible that you may neglect the health and security of your website. I know this might seem like a low priority at the moment, but unfortunately hackers will be more active than ever. For all of our clients with a support & maintenance plan, we’ve got you covered and there’s no need for you to do anything. For anyone else, you might want to read my top WordPress security tips below, to keep your website safe and secure during this time.
- Take a full backup of your website and keep it somewhere safe.
- Change your passwords regularly, perhaps every 3 months.
- Update your WordPress plugins and core code (be careful as this could break your site, so have a backup).
- Install a security plugin like WordFence or Sucuri.
- Remove unnecessary user accounts from WordPress.
- Install an SSL certificate to encrypt sensitive data.
- Never send passwords via email.
Aimi – Our Social Media Account Executive and adorer of penguins, dogs and all things fluffy, oh and obviously Spurs.
Since the shift to working from home, there are a few things I have struggled with; my mental health, physical health and staying active and alert. Going from playing netball 4 times a week and going to the gym regularly to not being able to do either has had a really big impact on me. I have had to find other ways to get everything off my chest. So here’s my advice:
- Make sure you do go for your one piece of exercise a day, do it for a solid hour, put some music or a podcast on and just zone out from the rest of the world.
- If you do sports try and continue doing them, I have been in my garden doing ball skills and shooting practice so I don’t feel like I am missing out.
- Make sure you take your breaks, I am prone to getting headaches from looking at a screen too much, I have even invested in a pair of blue light blocking glasses, they do really help!
- Stay in touch with your team and have the same bits of banter as always even if it’s over a group chat.
- The last thing I would say you must do is video call as much as you can with your friends. This really brings me up and makes me feel like everything is a bit more normal. I used to hate calling people but since everything has changed it appears I have too!
Jamie – Our SEO/PPC Team Manager and the one who loves to analyse
Depending on the industry you work within, you’re either likely to be extremely busy at the moment, or have time on your hands while we all wait for things to get back to a level of normality.
If you fall into the second camp, then now is the ideal time to be proactive and start planning your marketing campaigns for the future, as well as re-engaging with your current customer base.
Take stock of your previous marketing efforts, review your sales and website data to seek the answers to questions such as; What channels did you promote on? What did you achieve? What worked well? What didn’t go as well as planned?
Use these insights to decide where to focus your efforts moving forward, setting goals & milestones to measure your success.
In terms of re-engaging your customer base, there is nothing to stop you communicating with your audience – even if you are unable to offer your services or products due to the current situation. Now is a great time to create useful content and promote it everywhere your target audience can be found. Capture data where possible by using things like downloads, email signups, and remarketing pixels. Doing these things will raise awareness and keep your brand in mind, as well as building a pool of potential leads for when business starts to pick up again.
Also, advertising on the main online platforms like Google & Facebook is going to drop noticeably in cost over the coming weeks and months, as other people pause their ad spends due to uncertainty. Now is a great time for those with the available budget to capitalise on cheaper ad costs to promote your brand and offering.
Colette – Our Business Development Manager and fitness addict
Life as we know it has changed in the most dramatic way. Whilst life at Cariad Towers goes on (we are on the digital platform after all – we can work from anywhere!), the biggest impact has been on health and fitness. Where people have walked, or cycled their commute this has stopped. Where people have flocked to the gym before or after work, this has stopped. People are only allowed out once a day, and we have to use this time wisely. And those of us with young kids? Well this proves difficult. However, as Aimi, Sara and I proved for the month of March, this CAN be done. Click to the end of this blog to see what great efforts we have made for our Charity of the Year Age UK Hertfordshire…
When it comes to sales and marketing, there is no reason why this should stop. People are quite literally isolated. Many completely find themselves alone with only their screen and microphones for company. Quite recently I had the opportunity to “check in” with many of our clients to see if they needed any changes made to their websites or social media platforms. Where usually I would be faced with an automated switchboard or being put on hold to have a call transferred through to the office, this time I was straight through to the client. Straight through to their home, where, like me they would have a dog at their feet, a child needing attention and the weight of their business world on their shoulders. The message is TALK. Your customers, clients and target market are all suffering the same pain points of you. They will all welcome a change of conversation – but one tip – KEEP IT POSITIVE!!
20k Steps a Day for Age UK Hertfordshire
The whole of Team Cariad are so proud of Sara, Aimi and Colette for embarking on yet another crazy physical challenge for charity (For details of our charity of the year and why we chose them please click here). The super fit ladies found at the beginning of March that getting in a workout, run or walk before work, then a lunchtime amble followed by an evening stroll helped them get to their target. Then the goal posts changed. Mid-month, the government imposed a lock down, so it was time to get creative. Working from home meant that a walking commute was gone, walking meetings were a thing of the past, as were gym workouts straight from work. However, with the charity in mind, we were able to help people with their shopping (on foot), run errands and help with deliveries. Gone were the 3 square walks/runs a day, Sara, Aimi and Colette were on a mission to help where they could. Working from home proved to be an opportunity to turn our homes into gyms and creativity meant we could use things in our home to help our efforts. On the 1st April when our challenge was complete, we tallied over 2 million steps between us! How proud are we? If you want to contribute to these efforts, please text AUKH and the amount you’d like to donate (eg AUKH 10 to donate £10) to 70085. Our Hertfordshire elderly need you more now than ever!