Throughout the onset and continuation of the COVID-19 virus, almost every single business has been affected in some way. Among those hardest hit are the small businesses out there who rely on local and community support to remain open. Having been forced to close temporarily or at least severely ramp up capacity restrictions, small businesses are losing revenue, which is likely causing them to fall behind on loan payments and other financial costs that come with being a small business owner.
These businesses must find a way to mitigate these unprecedented circumstances by finding new ways to generate revenue and engage their customer base until such point as they can re-open safely and begin recouping any losses.
Thankfully there are many small business ideas available that can help businesses navigate communicating with clients and customers throughout the pandemic. From automating social media posts to maintaining engagement through email newsletters, here are the top three small business ideas to help retain customers and boost engagement throughout COVID-19.
Engage Followers with Social Media Automation
Everyone and their dog is on at least one social media site, so a small business would be crazy if they didn’t take advantage of popular sites like Facebook and Twitter to promote themselves and engage with potential customers.
Regular posting ensures that your small business stays top of mind with your followers and automation can help you schedule posts days, weeks, and even months in advance so no one at your business needs to remember to post on any given day. Add photos and links to both scheduled Facebook and Twitter posts and even take advantage of RSS feeds.
With an automated social media scheduling tool, small businesses can supplement their organic postings and engagements with followers with a steady stream of automated posts that will run in the background without any manual intervention required.
Businesses are even able to make their automated Twitter posts seem more organic by enabling a feature that will post a scheduled post randomly at any time within a specified time window.
Keep Subscribers in the Loop with Email Newsletters
While social media is certainly one of the best small business ideas for those who wish to remind connected with customers and the public in a way that’s exclusively online, another valuable online option for maintaining that connection with subscribers is through email newsletters.
Email newsletters are a way for small businesses to keep their subscribed customers up to date on any new products and services being offered or even any new business practices or measures that are being put in place due to restrictions imposed by COVID-19. Especially in the case of COVID-19 restrictions, it is important to keep your customers in the loop so they know what they can expect should they visit your physical location. The worst thing would be to deter visitors from your small business because they didn’t realize a mask is mandatory for entry.
These newsletters can be created and scheduled to be sent whenever a small business needs them to be and a particularly helpful benefit to using an automation to build and send these emails is the ability to add some customization and personalization to them without a lot of extra work.
With built-in merge tag and decision logic tools, small businesses can easily make sure their email newsletters contain stored information about each subscriber without businesses having to send each email newsletter out individually. The automation platform can replace merge tags added into the content of the email with each subscriber’s name and any other information to draw the subscriber in and increase engagement.
As well, an automation platform givers small businesses the ability to save even more time while still sending targeted and personalized content by utilizing conditional filters in each section of the email so that the section will only be included in a contact’s email if they meet the specified condition (e.g. they’ve indicated a preference between multiple product types).
Automating email newsletters is one of those small business ideas that can really boost engagement with customers due to the extensive ability to customize and tailor emails to subscribers on an individual basis. This is especially important when you are trying to maintain a connection with them throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. As long as your subscribers hear from you consistently and you provide them with interesting and relevant content, they will be more likely to keep giving you their business.
Attract and Connect with Subscribers with Shortcodes and Keywords
To round out the top three small business ideas to help with client engagement during COVID-19, might we suggest leveraging text message technology to connect with your customers?
Text messaging has become an effective marketing and engagement tool for small businesses in that it provides almost an immediate connection with the consumer in a way that not even email is able to deliver. Most text messages are read within minutes of being received so it is a quick and easy way to provide information to your customers and subscribers.
Shortcodes and keywords are just another layer on top of the text message simplicity. Shortcodes are short, five or six-digit phone numbers that can be used to send automated text messages based on specific keywords it receives.
Small businesses can easily take advantage of this technology to set up simple campaigns that will provide customers with information about their products or services, hours of operation, and any COVID-19 measures that have been put in place.
For example, you can set up campaigns for three keywords: “PRODUCTS,” “HOURS,” and “COVID19” and whenever someone texts one of these into the shortcode they will be provided with the latest information regarding these topics automatically. The only manual part about this process is the initial campaign setup – once it is in place, businesses can sit back and focus on other business matters.
Need a Platform to Implement These Small Business Ideas?
If your small business is looking for an automation platform that can assist you with implementing one or more of these engagement ideas, look no further than SimplyCast! SimplyCast provides an all-in-one engagement automation solution and has retooled itself to help businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the ability for small businesses to create signup forms and connect them to automated communication flows as needed, the platform can solve almost an unlimited number of use cases.
Click the button below to request a demo of the SimplyCast platform and see how it can help your small business continue to engage customers throughout COVID-19.