Lockdown life, it’s a rollercoaster. Everything we do lives online but for others - and many of our clients - business is having to adapt at a rapid pace.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to be able to provide an online offer, or dip your toe in the lockdown economy. Here are 5 quick and easy ways you could get involved.
Note, whilst most of these are “free” to use, some may require you to pay hosting or membership fees.
No online shop? No problem. It’s quick and easy to create an order form. List out all of the information you’d need to provide your service, keep it simple, and use an online form builder. We’ve listed two easy to use options. Share your form on your social channels, on your website, with your existing community. Forms are an easy initial step into capturing some online sales.
A landing page is a single page of content. They’re used a lot in advertising and campaigns but offer a good way of creating a quick webpage. With a landing page, there’s no need to build a website, or radically adapt your existing site. Write up what you want to say, pull together any imagery required (e.g. product photos), and use a landing page tool to create your lockdown sales portal. Share in all the usual places.
If you already get a lot of traffic to your existing site, look to add a landing page there first.
Video calls for events or training
We’re probably going to be working from home for a bit longer, and who knows how quickly we’ll all want to mingle again when we’re free. Online events are a great way to keep your training or event schedule running. If your existing site lists events keep using it for promotion and just switch the location to online. If you’ve never delivered an online event try using the video conferencing tools which allow you to both video call, chat and present your screen. Once you’ve created some content to be delivered in this way you can run it a couple of times to widen its reach.
For now, we’ve been told to avoid cash wherever possible so taking payments online for any service you’re delivering is best. If you have an offline business with a card terminal most now offer ‘virtual terminal’ or ‘card not present’ transactions - you take details over the phone and type them into the card reader. Alternatively, lots of online payment providers offer low-cost transaction options with ‘out-of-the-box’ checkout flows, no coding required! We’ve listed the most popular below, simply sign up with the company that best suits your requirements.
If you want to set up recurring payments try GoCardless for online Direct Debits. It’s really easy to set up and send your first bill.
Donations, discounts and pay it forward
If you can afford it, there’s a clear benefit, and if it won’t harm your business in the long term, consider providing something free of charge during lockdown. It’s one way of keeping your business in the mind of your customers, but also adds to the new, altruistic lockdown economy where we all support one another.
If you can’t offer something for free, lots of great businesses are also offering discounts, key worker offers, gift vouchers for use in the future, pay it forward schemes or buy one give one away offers too. These are simple to set up and manage with a spreadsheet for starters, if you don’t have tools to handle such a scheme in the short term.
Things to remember
Lockdown rules - only set up new online sales channels if you can provide a service without breaking lockdown or social distancing rules.
Safety - ensure you can continue to operate safely, protecting yourself, your team, your customers and the wider community.
Legal - The usual laws still apply, e.g. GDPR. You have a legal duty to protect customer data, you must give your customers a way of opting out or unsubscribing to any form of contact you set up.
Fulfilment - if you’re new to selling online, you need to be able to fulfil anything you offer. Are you set up for delivery, consider those costs, is click and collect more suitable, how fast can you turn around orders, do you have packaging that will travel, is your Internet connection fast enough for video calls, do you need to rehearse your event or trainning?
If you have any questions - or just want to chat to someone new in lockdown! - feel free to get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org