NEW CORONAVIRUS RELIEF BILL

US Chamber of Commerce announces its Small Business Update to discuss the new coronavirus relief bill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On December 22, 2020, our team had the amazing opportunity to sit in on the US Chamber of Commerce (CO- by U.S. Chamber of Commerce) update on the new coronavirus relief bill and how it relates to businesses. Topics included: a second PPP distribution, updated tax information and loan forgiveness, and other items to help US businesses.

U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, Neil Bradley, and Content Director at CO— and host of their Blueprint series, Jeanette Mulvey, discussed how Congress is zeroing in on a new coronavirus relief deal that will include a new round of funds for small businesses across the country and what the new bill could mean for businesses.

This opportunity was brought to us locally by Peters Township Chamber of Commerce. If you are interested in updated business news and educational series like this seminar, we highly recommend that you connect with your local chambers and with networking organizations like Women’s Business Network, Inc.

 

Here are some of their top takeaways:

– Businesses can apply for PPP loans if they didn’t before
– A new ‘second draw’ PPP will offer businesses additional aid
– Eligible PPP expenses have changed
– Paycheck Protection Program loans are not taxable
– Changes to the employee retention tax credit (ERTC)
– EIDL grants will reopen
–  A new grant program for live venues

 

Rewatch the US Chamber of Commerce event and see more details on their website here.

COVID-19 Communication Guide

A guide to help communicate with your consumers during COVID-19 business changes

Communicating with your customers and clients when a new mandate is released is vital to the success of your business. Some businesses are affected to the fullest extent and others are not affected at all, and it is our job as business owners, marketers, and PR directors to make sure that the community knows what the new mandates are, if they have affected your business or not, how they will be affected by those changes, and who they can contact for more information if they need it. The better you communicate with the consumers, the better chance you have to succeed in this ever-changing business climate that is currently being driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below are some of the main general questions that consumers, clients and customers want to know about your business during COVID-19 and regarding new mandate changes. We have also listed some suggestions on how to answer them.

Remember that you might have different services or adjustments that may go to different audiences, so your messages and their mediums will need to be tailored to those specific people.

You will also likely send out your information in different rounds which include different levels of information. For example, your first round will be more broad as you digest the new mandate information and figure out how to adjust and your next rounds will include more details as you adjust your services based on the needs of your consumers during the new mandates.

General Consumer Questions:

ARE YOU CLOSING?
If NO → How does this affect your business?
→ Even if there are very little or no changes to your business, you should still communicate that there have been new mandates set forth by the state, and they do not affect your normal business operations and if anyone has any questions, how can they get a hold of you.

If YES:
→ Make it clear when you plan to close (date & time)
→ Make it clear when you plan to reopen (date & time)
*The mandate dates & times may not be specific enough to your business hours

Does your business generally charge a monthly fee?
If NO → Skip to the next question.
If YES:
→ Explain how you plan to move forward with the monthly fee?
→ WILL THEY STILL BE CHARGED?
→ Are you offering something different to make up for not having (some/all) your services available?

Are you adjusting your services?
→ These may be adjusting as you go, so be broad but let people know where they can go to keep updated on these adjusted services and then as they adjust – continue to communicate with your consumers.

Where can they go to get more information?
→ This can be your website, social media, client logins, emails, texts, etc.

Who can they contact for questions? (One point person.)
→ You may have one or more people taking questions while you are open, closed, or have adjusted services. Just make sure to be clear on who the public should contact.

Make sure to have help checking all of your public-facing information. It takes at least 2 sets of eyes (and brains) to make sure you get all of your bases covered!

Where to change this information: (UPDATE OFTEN AND WHEN THERE ARE ANY CHANGES)

Website:
– Website (Pop-up: we don’t like them, but they are really effective in this situation)
– Website – HOME PAGE
– Website – COVID-19 Update Page (Create or keep updated if you have a page)

Social media:
– Social Media – Create COVID-19 UPDATE (FB & GMB)
– Social Media – PIN THE POST
– Social Media – Change your Banner image to reflect the changes
– Social Media – Create Highlights (IG)
– Social Media – Change Profile and Info pages
– Social Media – Change Hours if needed
– Social Media – Change COVID Services if needed (FB)

Google Listing:
– Google Listing – Create COVID-19 Posts (1 per week with updates)
– Google Listing – Change Hours
– Google Listing – Change Services

DIRECT COMMUNICATION LINES TO YOUR CLIENTS & CUSTOMERS:
– Direct communication lines like Emails, Text Messages, and Business Apps are great ways to get your information out immediately but sometimes are forgotten in the hustle of distributing new information.
– Remember to use these more direct messages cautiously and consistently, but do not overwhelm your clientele by respecting their information and time.

COVID-19 has brought not only challenges to businesses and communities but also opportunities for increased communication with your business’s consumers, clients and customers. Whether the operations of your business have been altered because of the pandemic or they have stayed the same, it is important to provide information frequently. From your website to social media to your Google Listing, it is vital for your business to communicate consistently across multiple channels. In a time of uncertainty, make sure your business gives inquiring minds what they want to know.


Interested in Downloading the Covid-19 Communication Guide pdf? Fill out the form below!


Marketing Through a Crisis

Where to Update Your Business Information

Marketing Tips under 10 min (Tips under 10)

Marketing through a Crisis – Where to update your business information


As we gear up for reopening our businesses to the new “normal” and then eventually to our “normal-normal” — we took notes on how quickly the information changed from March to today. Some businesses had to shut down completely, others have adjusted their businesses slightly to continue, and others have completely reinvented their business to offer a whole new suite of services. These services may have been ones that were never thought of before as possibilities or we didn’t have the time to make them happen! Now we are forced to move outside of our normal comfort zones to be creative in new business solutions.

Now we balance working from home to working in a virtual environment with others (which can include both coworkers and clients/customers), to also keeping kids at home if you have them, all while still trying to run your business. 

Keeping up with the changes of COVID-19 information, current, new and adjusted services you offer, and making sure that all of your customers know exactly what is going on with your business can be a daunting task.

Although you want to keep your information as updated as you can every place you market your business, this is nearly impossible at the rate of which information is changing. 

Here are 3 starting places to keep your business information updated:

1. Your social media.

Your social media can act as a landing page for your business and right now there has been an up to 40% increase of social media activity. Keeping your social media updated is really important to your current and potentially new customers. Google My Business Hour Changes

Facebook has created an updated setting under Edit Page Info, near your hours called Temporary Service Changes. Here you can change your services to No Changes, Temporarily Closed or Open with Service Changes.

Another important update is not only your posts, but your banner image in Facebook. Banner image changes rank well in Facebook, but they are also the first thing that people see when they come to your page. This is the case whether they are recommended by someone in a group, or they did a search for some help with a particular issue. This is your Facebook landing page, and it needs to be as updated as possible.

The reason for social media updates is not only for your customers to know, but also for Facebook and other social media to understand that you have adjusted what your business is offering, so that they can continue to rank you the correct way. Facebook and other social media like updates and it can show that your business is actively changing and growing to help your customers. Facebook wants to show updated information and the information that your customers want to see – so it is a win-win!

Facebook Banner Example

2. Google My Business.

Google My Business Listing

Your Google My Business listing can be an amazing tool for SEO, or search engine

optimization. Google has some power there… but it has also given businesses a platform to update their information.

As soon as you enter your Google My Business dashboard, the first block that is looking at you is “Stay connected during COVID-19” and it asks you to make sure your hours are updated and that you create a COVID-19 update post.COVID-19 Updates of Google My Business

After making sure that all of your information is correct (not just your hours), you can click on the posts tab and it will take you to a page with different post options. Although it is always good to post on your GMB listing at least once a week, it is important to post under the COVID-19 updates. Why? Just being active on your listing is a good idea, but when Google releases updated information grabs like this, there is a good chance that this particular information will be ranked better than others.

3. Your Website.

Although this seems like a no brainer, it is easy to get caught up in all the places you are used to updating your information like your social media. This is also likely a place that you have to reach out to your web designer to change for you – generally making it a little bit harder than updating yourself.

We have seen many different ways to keep your website updated but Singing River Healthplex in Mississippi, is doing a great job of updating more than their homepage. Singing River's Website

  • They have a pop-up on their homepage.
  • They have highlighted their online classes and added to their homepage.
  • Under Class Schedule, they have links to Facebook, YouTube, their Online Classes.
  • On many of their pages, they relate back to their Facebook page for the most up to date information letting people know where they can find the most updated information. 

You should really consider updating every place you are marketing your business, but these 3 places will at least be a good start as you work through your list. 

To conclude. We are all in this together and are adjusting the best we can to our own circumstances, but always remember to be genuine and kind because there are a lot of things out of our control. Remember to always welcome questions from your customers. This is a very confusing time for them as well as you. Greet questions with a positive attitude and be ready to be helpful. People really do want to support small businesses during this time and are also worried about you and your business! 

#marketingthatfitsnaturally

Follow us on Facebook for the most up to date information. 

If you or a business you know needs help marketing on a limited budget until we get through this crazy time or needs a reopening plan that is flexible to the constant changes, please feel free to reach out.

Questions?

Keeping the ‘Person’ in Personalized Business Online

When doing business online, it can be hard to take off the salesperson hat and put on the networking hat. People don’t always want to be bombarded with what you can offer them. The worst thing that can happen is that your audience ignores or hides your posts online because they are always about business. It can get old having it always thrown in your face every time you hop online.

You might be thinking, “but isn’t the goal to make money?”

Let’s discuss long term relationships versus short term/quick transaction relationships online and how to handle them properly and personally.

Be Someone That Is Seen

Ever hear of the term “keyboard warrior”? It is usually used in a demeaning manner when people are
being rude online but aren’t like that in person. When it comes to business, you can be a keyboard
warrior too and not even know it. It doesn’t have to be the mean kind though. Don’t just sit at home or
the office and only connect with people through your keyboard. Meet with people in public and TALK to
them with your voice. Be the person that isn’t just seen online but offline, too.

Use Technology But Also Go Old School

It’s perfectly fine to use technology to your advantage, but it’s important to step out from behind the
screen and conduct business too. Try using technology to only set up a time to meet in person. If they
can’t meet in person, start with scheduling a phone conversation. Think of it as dating your potential
client. Maybe a phone call is what they are comfortable with first. That’s okay, just chat on the phone
and then try to set up a face to face meeting. Once you are face to face, open up a bit more about your
business, but let them be heard first.

How to Be Personal During All Business

As a salesperson, it can be tough to not sell your business. The best thing you can do is to listen to your
potential client. Make a conscious note in your mind to listen to what they are saying. Keep your lips
sealed until they are ready to hear your solution. Nod your head to let them know you hear them. Be
engaged with your body language. You may want to jump in during their time of talking to say
something, but it’s best to wait for them to get everything out.

If you have a solution to provide at the end of their discussion, do it. Sometimes a quick response isn’t
always the right answer. Let the person know you understand what they are saying, and you’d like to
think more about ideas/solutions that are best for them. This gives you another window of opportunity
to communicate, but this time with your sales hat on!

Take Off the Sales Hat Every Now and Then

After you offer the sale, there are still opportunities to stay personal without selling. Email them articles
and blogs that are relevant to your conversation or something that reminds you of them. Tag them in
content on social media that they can relate to. Sometimes it might have nothing to do with your
business or making the sale, but that’s ok. The relationship you build is much more important!

Once you gain that in-person experience with someone, don’t lose it to move on to your next business
transaction. Sometimes clients become friends that you want to go have a coffee with and not conduct
business. It is wonderful for you to get to know your clients personally and vice versa.

Practice Makes Perfect

Make the time to connect with your clients and potential clients on a personal level. Some people aim
for three minutes a day and however many people they can reach in that time is great! We prefer 15
minutes a week during a scheduled in-office day so you have the time to concentrate on it. If you don’t
have the time that day but see something your client would like, save it and send it later. You’ll make a
habit out of these tactics and you’ll start making more meaningful relationships both for business and in
your personal life.

Want More Social Media Networking Tips?

Our goal is to help you feel more confident in your marketing efforts. Contact us if you have any
questions, we’re more than happy to help and would love to get to know you better!

 

15 Tips for Giving and Getting Social Media Business Referrals

Small-dollar to high-dollar decisions can be made with a simple mention of a business or product online. Whether you tag a friend who owns a business that you know offers whatever is being asked, or give a recommendation for a product or service that you use, the value in sharing is gold for both the person you are tagging and you! Below are 15 tips for giving and getting the most out of social media business referrals.

10 Tips for Giving Business Referrals

1. Make it as easy as possible for the person to contact the business you are referring. Use the @ symbol and tag the person or business page you are referring.

2. Help your referral look professional. If you’ve used the business before, say something positive about them with the tag.

3. Remember that most engagement on social media is on mobile devices. Short, sweet and to the point referrals are best. Don’t forget a phone number that they can click on if you have it!

4. Add a brief business experience if possible. If you use their product, tell them about your experience. Have you used their business for 10 years? Say that!

5. Be as quick as possible to respond. The higher up the list, the better chance they have to be seen and researched.

6. When in doubt, refer in the manner they asked. Facebook -> Facebook Business Page link. LinkedIn -> LinkedIn Profile (Personal or Business). Text -> Phone number and a website link. Email -> Email address and all of the contact information you can offer for their own preference.

7. Not sure, but you want to put a name out there? “@username can you help them out?”

8. Get to know the others in your group. This will help both of you want to refer business to each other in the future.

9. Keep your contact information relevant. If you are in a networking/business group, make sure you have an easy list of contact information so that you can easily share a referral.

10. It is ok to recommend yourself. If the request makes sense, introduce yourself and open the door for conversation.

5 Tips for When You Are Referred

1. Make sure you publicly thank the recommendation you received and introduce yourself. A simple, “Thanks, {@person who tagged you}. Hi, {@person asking for referral}. I’d be happy to help you out! I’ll PM you to chat!

2. Make sure others know your preferred method of contact. This method should showcase your business so when someone clicks on it, they can see what they want right away.

3. Make sure all of your online brands are up to date and easy to navigate. There’s nothing worse than sharing a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated in a year.

4. Find ways to reward your loyal referrers and return the favor. It takes two to tango! If you can’t offer a reward, a simple private message thanking them is perfect and personal. You never know what opening up that communication door will bring!

5. Make sure you have up-to-date and good reviews. Over 90% of purchasing decisions are based on reviews.

Want More Social Media Networking Tips?

Our goal is to help you feel more confident in your marketing efforts. We want to refer YOU! Contact us to talk about a marketing strategy built for your business and not a cookie-cutter plan built for your industry or business size.