There is no doubt that the economic and social effects of the Coronavirus have brought our way of life to a halt. The virus has shuttered people in their homes with more cases being discovered. The temporary effects of this virus are already hurting businesses. Throughout the past few weeks, businesses have experienced less and less foot traffic to their stores, and higher education institutions have closed their doors. No industry is immune to this crisis. Different verticals offering different products and services need to approach this challenge uniquely based on the circumstances they are found in. How can you ensure that your users are getting the experience you want them to have when face to face interaction is limited? Digital solutions are the answer!
Below are examples of our various client’s industries that are negatively impacted by this health crisis.
The COVID-19 crisis is having a large impact on Higher Education institutions. When a student enrolls in an institution, that institution becomes that student’s home, and primary focus. With so many students, faculty and staff, it is near impossible to create a safe and healthy learning environment. Many schools are moving in-person classes to an online platform. When students do not have a physical campus, they rely entirely on their institution’s digital solutions for guidance and resources. When face to face classes cannot occur, online portals and video conferencing become the classroom. Making this switch is not easy but ensuring your website is optimized for every student user’s online learning experience is priority one.
Making resources available to students during this time is crucial. There is going to be an influx of questions and or resources that need to be accessed digitally. To prevent misinformation, user frustration, and to maintain the mission of your organization, these resources and or announcements need to be visible, and easily accessible virtually. Higher education institutions must pay close attention to their website’s user journey and map, to ensure that there are no bottlenecks or broken links. To avoid more confusion, make sure your entire website is fully optimized for desktop for mobile users.
To prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, many businesses are encouraging their employees to work from home. When a company shifts to a work from a home model, some day to day tasks shift. For an unforeseen time, client meetings and in-person demos will move to digital meeting platforms. This means that businesses, depending on the industry, could slow down enormously. Businesses that rely on in-person events or meetings need to adapt to remain competitive in this global emergency.
Some businesses may only get the chance to make an impression through digital solutions. Making sure resource pages are accessible and optimized is a good way to start. If your business relies on in-person tours, exhibits or demos, make sure that the experience is demonstrated on your website with images and/or videos of your products or services available for virtual users. If your business offers consulting services or other in-person services, one digital solution would be to offer online courses for a one-time purchase or subscription model on your website.
Businesses that sell products in brick and mortar stores have to rely almost exclusively on their online stores amidst the outbreak of the Coronavirus. Local and federal governments have already put restrictions on business hours and store traffic to slow the spreading. Customers should be able to access your updated and fully optimized mobile site.
Fully optimizing your online store is the best place to start your digital solutions process. You need every user no matter the device to have a clear path to checkout. Returning users should be able to save their information for faster, more convenient checkouts. Update store items and information constantly. Allow users the best digital experience online with your brand so they remain loyal once the effects of the outbreak are less severe. Information on trends, buying habits, and customer journeys are all important metrics to have. Tracking users also allows you to continue to market to them. Try boosting your email campaigns to continue to reach customers through your branding.
With the risk of contracting the disease and spreading it throughout the public, most institutions have canceled nonessential patient appointments and meetings. Without physical patient traffic, the institution must communicate with its patients and the public digitally. Healthcare providers must provide the public with information and updates on the health crisis.
Users will be accessing this site daily for the latest information on the virus, and information regarding the healthcare institutions. People take their health seriously, so these companies can expect an influx of traffic. Making your physicians available for online consultations, or providing video resources can help calm patient nerves during this unknowing time. Give patients and users something they are having trouble finding currently, peace of mind and resources from the experts in the healthcare field.
Here are some tips for improving your site to accommodate the business model changes.
- Identify your audience’s needs that can be made available online.
- Create content and resources for your products and/or services.
- Develop a strategic plan with your web agency or marketing team
- Is our site mobile friendly and easy to use?
- Is our site ranking on the first page on search engines?
- Can our hosting server handle the increased traffic?
- Does our site’s CMS have e-commerce capabilities?
- Is our site optimized for lead generation?
Here are some ways how to adjust your business while working remotely:
- If you offered paid in-person consulting, you can offer that same service as a product on your site that a client purchases and you can run all meetings via Zoom or Google Meet . For more tips on working from home, check out this article from Hubspot
- If you offered in-person classes, you can still offer your classes but everyone can join online from home via Zoom, Google Meet, etc.
- Keep customers engaged with your brand through email and social media campaigns
- Set up virtual tours of your products and or services on your website for users that cannot visit or tour in person
- Have a message for your clients and customers? Record a personal video to connect with them on a personal level and share through social media, email, and website.
- Take advantage of free software applications
- Keep an eye on your competition
As human beings, there is little in life that is out of our control. We as a species thrive when we can control our environment. But when our environment is suddenly out of our control, and our access to physical resources fades, we find ourselves relying on the digital solutions; something we can control. You might not be able to control when your store can be open, or when students can come back to the classroom, but you can control your online presence and protect your online brand.