Practical tips on how to use these hard times wisely to try to keep things moving for your business and to prepare for what’s ahead.
Apr 7, 2020 · 7 min read
So, like most of the world, you’ve probably had to (or chosen to) shut up shop as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19).
It’s a horrible situation for everyone right now. But, what can you do to help make it a little less awful? Not just for yourself, but for your clients and maybe your team too?
In times like these where we all really need to find the positives of life. For once, time — that asset we never had enough of before is there for us. Use that time wisely to try to keep things moving for your business and to prepare for what’s ahead.
Keeping in touch with your clients is also a great thing to do right now. People are bored of being home alone and a little email or social post from you could really brighten someone’s day — far more than when life is normal and everyone has so much to do. Right now, we are all learning to value the little things in life and a little normality can really help.
There are loads of things you can do online to help keep your business going. Take a pad and pen — it’s time to think creatively about what can be done. Firstly, think about what communication channels are open to you right now.
Your website — what can you do to let customers know what your current situation is and how you can make improvements to make it more user-friendly?
Social media — how is it looking? What content can you post now, or create for the future?
Emails — why not plan some campaigns now and keep in touch with your clients during the downtime and beyond?
A short notice updating people on the current situation on your homepage should be a given, whether you are completely closed, retail only or have online ordering available. While you’re there, take a good look at your site. Could you host an online store (if you don’t already have one), where people can buy hair or beauty supplies from you? (You’ll need to check your contract with any brands you are planning to sell online, to ensure that you aren’t breaking any rules of your retail agreement). While home delivery is still available, make the most of the opportunity to reduce your stock levels and keep a little money coming in.
Can you promote gift voucher sales now, ready for when you reopen? (It would also be nice to extend the validity of any current gift vouchers). Have you changed your opening hours on Google and Bing etc. to reflect the current situation?
Now you have some time on your hands, it’s the perfect opportunity to review your website to make sure your content is up to date and you’re happy with how it looks. If you’re not sure on how to edit it, jump online and teach yourself — you’ll find tutorials for most things to do with working on websites and you have the time to make the changes to all those little things that niggled at you. Try and look at your website through the eyes of a first-time visitor. Is all your key information easy to find? Are there too many clicks to get to where you want to go? Is there sufficient detail in the explanation of the treatments you offer? Is your search engine optimization at it’s best (have you labeled all your images and used lots of H2 and H3 tags in the content)? Build yourself a to-do list and spend a little time each day finessing your site — after all, for many of your customers, it’s the first thing they see of your business, so a great first impression counts.
Maybe you’ve never done much on your social media before now. Maybe you have, but it’s all been a bit haphazard. Now is the time to look closely at your socials. If you don’t use them, start now! If you do have them, how can you make them better? Do you use a chatbot? Why not get one? (We have a great free salon chat bot available that is super-easy to install).
If you’re new to using social media, we would caution you to try to not get carried away. Pick one or two channels and do them well. Use automated scheduling to create a whole library of posts for future use. Set it and forget it! Just don’t overextend yourself, because when the time comes for businesses to get up and running again, you’ll be overwhelmed if you feel you need to keep everything going yourself.
Think about creating some seasonal campaigns now. Come Fall or Christmas, you know your customers will be wanting some particular services or treatments. What campaigns or offers could you create and schedule now, for use then, when you’ll be too busy to think about them?
If you’re already using social media, have a think about what situations your clients may be in right now that you can maybe help them with. If you have staff who are not working but are able to (be aware, those on furlough may not legally be able to actively work in the business), you can have them get involved by making some short videos for your social media content. Here are some ideas:
How to remove gel polish
A DIY spa manicure
The best manual facial moves
How to deep cleanse your skin
How to have an at-home spa day with storecupboard ingredients
How to trim a fringe at home
How to shave your husband’s hair
A DIY root-touch up masterclass
Updo’s that are easy for beginners
…. For the record, we’d avoid the DIY Hollywood wax tutorial… 😂
Get your camera and get filming! Are there services you can offer to accompany your videos? Could you make up customized care packages for some of those treatments, like a DIY manicure kit, with a little of everything they would need? Or a custom mix-at-home hair dye kit? The social media world is desperate for fresh content now and how-to’s, and online tutorials are seeing huge amounts of traffic — what better time to collect new customers while keeping your current customers engaged and entertained?
It may feel like there isn’t much to say, but keeping in touch with customers during the downtime can pay dividends later.
If you’ve got an online shop going or some neat tutorials on your social media, why not send a newsletter to let people know? You can also consider focusing on different topics, such as how things are in your community, raise awareness of any help that is available for people locally or just share some love and good news to help lift people’s spirits.
It doesn’t have to be much and it shouldn’t be all hard-sell, but primarily an opportunity to show some kindness and keep in contact. It can mean a lot to people who are on their own or feeling scared to simply know that people are there and that they are preparing for life after coronavirus.
While you are working on newsletters, you could also use the downtime to clean your mailing list and create marketing campaigns that are ready and waiting in the wings for when life returns to (something approaching) normal.
Now, more than ever, your team needs you. You can’t be there in person, perhaps you can’t even give them the assurance that their job will be safe once this is over. But what you can do is check in with them regularly, be there for them, listen to their fears and empathize with their situation. Maybe have a weekly team chat set up, so you can all hang out online and check-in with the rest of the team. Seeing a smile from a familiar face can make all the difference to people’s spirits right now and you can lead your team in sharing that moment and feeling united together.
This is undoubtedly a time the world has never known before. It’s hard for many to find the motivation to do anything right now — which is only natural. Our routines have been thrown out of the window and replaced with uncertainty and fear. But you may find that giving yourself a routine of working on this stuff gives you a sense of purpose and a glint of optimism that we will get through this. Because luckily, the majority of us will.
Co-Founder/Customer Happiness Manager at RetentionForce
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