In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, many small businesses are struggling to figure out what to do next. While you may see a surge in sales of certain products, many of your products and services may simply not be moving as people spend more time at home and practice social distancing.
The good news is, you can make it through this difficult period - and your customers can help. Try some of these strategies to ask your customers to support you, and other small businesses, as you navigate the difficult world around you.
1. Put together a therapist-led Facebook group
Right now, many of your customers are experiencing unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety. Many of them are fearful about what will happen as the virus makes its way nearer to them. Others are concerned about potential job loss - or are already facing cuts to their hours or layoffs. Still others are struggling to juggle having their children at home all day alongside the demands of working from home.
You can't take that stress away-but you can give them an opportunity to talk it out, find solutions, and develop coping strategies that will make it easier for your customers to make it through this time.
Put together a therapist-led Facebook group that will give your customers the chance to talk about the problems they're having. Ask regular questions about what they're struggling about and provide actionable solutions. You don't want your group to be all about promoting your business and the products you sell, but it's a great place to share knowledge that could prove helpful to your customers, whether that's an anxiety-reducing therapy or a product that can help keep them and their families healthier.
2. Invite customers to buy gift vouchers
Mother's Day is coming up. Plus many of your customers may also have birthdays or anniversaries during the coronavirus pandemic. Many people need gifts, but won't be able to get out to purchase them.
Enter gift vouchers.
Not only are gift vouchers a great gift for anyone on your customers' gift-giving lists, they're an ideal reminder that the coronavirus panic won't last forever. Eventually, life will start to go back to normal. People will be able to get out of their homes and engage in the activities they've always loved again.
While it may take time for things to go back to the way they were before, a gift voucher is an excellent reminder that this, too, will pass - and it could just give customers something to look forward to.
3. Provide the opportunity for customers to order online
Online ordering has seen an enormous increase across many businesses. Customers who are unable to safely get out of their homes to take care of their normal shopping can still place orders from behind the safety of a computer screen.
What can you offer online? If you haven't set up your online business already, now is an excellent time to start providing those options to your customers. A massage therapist might sell personally-blended oils that will help relax your customers or increase the bond between spouses. If you normally host therapy sessions in your office, you might consider offering online therapy sessions until the pandemic subsides. Natural therapists of any type can offer online classes that can help benefit your community as a whole.
Those online services might not match the income your business brought in prior to the pandemic, but they can certainly increase your overall income and give you a source of sales during this difficult period. You might just open up some new sales avenues that transform the way you handle your business in the future!
4. Ask customers to write reviews about your business
Many of your customers are at home without much to break up the monotony of their days. They might not be in a position to purchase your goods and services, especially if they're facing financial uncertainty during the pandemic.
They do, however, have time.
Ask your customers to write reviews about your business on Facebook and Google. Your loyal customers, in particular, understand the value of your business to the community as a whole, and many of them are looking for ways to help improve your business. They'll be eager for something they can do to support you - so invite them to leave reviews detailing what it is that they like about your business and how you've helped them in the past.
These reviews could be the perfect way to bring in new customers who need the services you can still offer during the pandemic as well as spreading the word about your business in a way that will benefit your business when things start to go back to normal.
5. Provide opportunities for tips
You might not have accepted tips for your business in the past or allowed your employees to do the same. Many retailers have a set payment structure based on the actual cost of those items, and they may not open doors for other suggestions. As you work to keep your business open during the coronavirus panic, however, consider offering tips - not just for yourself, but for any workers that you have operating during this stretch of time. This is especially useful if you offer online classes or videos, which your customers might be willing to financially support in whatever way they can.
Some customers will not choose to tip, even if the option is there. Others, however, are looking for ways to support your business during this time. Simply leaving them that opportunity will allow them to show their gratitude for your continuing services.
Many natural therapists are worried about how they will continue operating as coronavirus continues to spread. Most importantly, you must keep calm and not panic! With these strategies, you can help keep your sales up and provide some of the things your customers need even as businesses around you continue to shut down. Most importantly, remember that the growth of your business is simply on hold - and you can continue working to achieve your business goals both throughout the pandemic and when it ends.