COVID-19 is causing quite a bit of panic, especially after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address last night declaring a national disaster and enforcing school closures from the 18th of March until the 14th of April 2020.
As a parent, I already know the steps I need to take to ensure the safety of my family to prevent them retracting the virus, as well as what medication to give them should they get the virus and as the Managing Director of Ideation Digital, our team has been equipped with the necessary sanitation items, should they report to the office, or visit clients and will mostly work remotely during this time.
However, my biggest thought at this time is, we will survive COVID-19, but what will the economical impact be- especially for a country, that has over the past few years, struggled to economically grow?
If you are sharing the same fears, I would like to share some practical advice on how to keep your business sustainable during this uncertain time:
1. Embrace digitization:
a. As a digital marketing agency, we run 99% of our operations via online systems. A huge amount can be achieved through emails, instant messaging applications and video calls using applications like Google Hangouts, Skype, Star Leaf and many more. For sales people, this cuts out the unnecessary down-time experienced from driving between location to location and for many other people within an organisation, cuts out unproductive chit-chat or the common “coffee-station gossip centre”.
b. There are amazing digital task management applications, CRM systems, digital diaries and even a shared internal company network so everyone can see what is happening within the business, action tasks assigned to them and even manage customer relationships and sales. Give me a shout if you need some examples.
2. Make sure your website can handle digital sales:
a. For a product sales business, the ultimate would be an online store. However, I know that not everyone has an online store. In that regard, make sure your products are displayed in a user friendly manner with as much information as possible, to encourage people to communicate with you digitally and possibly even purchase digitally.
b. For a service orientated business, ensure that your web enquiry forms are working accurately. Gear your website even further with online client take-on forms and a digital sign-on process.
c. Don’t disregard mobile optimisation of your website. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, make sure you get it mobile friendly as soon as possible. Over 90% of searches are done via a mobile device world-wide and South Africa has the highest mobile subscription ratio of over 92 million registered accounts, with a population of 56 million people.
3. Strategically market yourself digitally:
a. We have already seen a 28% increase in online traffic since the first case of Coronavirus was reported on March 5, 2020 and professionally predict that this number will only increase in the upcoming weeks. Use this to your advantage! Run adverts via the Google Display Network, which is a hugely cost-effective way to market, considering most clicks cost under 50c per click. You can purposefully target websites that generate huge amount of traffic like news sites, online stores and any other website that are reporting on the coronavirus.
b. Talk to your community and clients via social media: ensure your clients understand the measures you have taken to protect them, when they interact with you and what to expect from your business when interacting with you. Use this time to run surveys on aspects of your business, to improve your over-all product/service/solutions offering.
c. Keep your eyeballs on social media channels to pick up on any trending topics that you can generate content about. Share the content on your social media channels and use the opportunity to “real-time news jack” or even possibly go viral.
In any crisis, there is always opportunity. The 4th Industrial Revolution has been upon us for quite some time now, and we all know that with the rise of technology and availability of internet, digitization is inevitable. Setting yourself and your business up, now, for a digital future, not only makes your business more sustainable- long-term, but also drastically increases productivity with a hugely decreased cost. See this as an opportunity – not a death sentence.
Feel free to give me, or anyone of our other team members a shout, should you need some more answers or ideas. We are happy to help.
Tamzin Janse van Vuuren
(M): 072 440 1632