FREE Business Tips During Temporary Closure
The Vacation Channel works with many small businesses, nonprofits, tourist attractions, and restaurants that have been thrown off course by unplanned closures due to COVID-19. Rather than panic about what may happen next, we would like to encourage businesses to see this as an opportunity. Here is a list of things you can do to improve business while you’re closed.
Research Your Audience
Many businesses are too busy serving customers to engage in audience research, but creating a customer profile and getting to know your target demographic can be useful in future marketing. If you are in the tourism industry, you have access to research conducted by your local CVB or DMO, and the Virginia Tourism Corporation has a wealth of research broken down by region. Here’s the 2019 report for Coastal Virginia, where you can see useful visitor demographics, visitor behavior, and travel patterns.
If you’re on Facebook or Instagram, take a look at your Insights to learn about your audience. Do your fans come mostly from your city or from outside your area? What ages are they? Are they mostly male or female? You may be surprised to learn who’s following you.
Check out your Google Analytics
You can see when people are coming to your website, where they’re coming from (referral traffic) and what other things your audience is interested in. Again, this can help you better target them in digital advertising.
Social Media Tips
The first thing your brand should do on social media is “Pin” a post to the top of your Facebook profile with important information: limited hours, closed locations, etc.
When scheduling content, don’t plan too far in advance–the news cycle is moving quickly, and you want to make sure your content is timely and sensitive to the most recent current events.
Here is a list of content ideas to get you started:
- Post employee profiles – makes people care, get to know your business and the people behind it
- Showcase your space – details and employees working, give them something to look forward to visiting
- Share pics of the “good times” to come
- Behind-the-scenes exclusives
- Provide moments of “peace”
- Show how you’re helping the community
- Virtual Tours
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is the practice of creating content on your website that is relevant to what people are searching for. When your site is rich with the right content, you will appear at the top of Google’s search results. One of the best ways to do this is to start blogging! If your website has a blog feature, turn it on and start using it! A series of short blogs (500-1000 words each) will help to make your website more visible on the web.
You should also optimize your Google My Business listing. Claim your business, upload a photo or two to your listing, add your hours of operation, and you’re set. You can also add your new blog posts there! Google knows that users find these listings useful, so get an edge on the competition by upgrading your Google My Business listing.
Another powerful SEO tool is Google Reviews. This is a great time to reach out to past customers and invite them to leave a glowing review of their experience with your business or organization. Your patrons are likely looking for ways to support you now more than ever, and Google favors highly-reviewed businesses in their organic search results.
The Virginia Tourism Corporation also has a database of listings for attractions. Being featured there (and on other websites relevant to your industry) are called inbound links, and they can greatly help your SEO.
What other information do you have access to?
Point of Sale
Does your POS system collect zip codes from credit card transactions? Does it provide an analysis of dates and times? What can your guest book or membership database tell you about your patrons?
If you’re a restaurant or retail space, your inventory has stories to tell, and those stories could save you a lot of money. Are you using par sheets for inventory? If not, this is a great time to start! Start logging your inventory orders and compare them to what you’re selling.
All these measures are FREE and easy for you to implement now. When business returns to normal, give us a call and The Vacation Channel can pick up where you left off.