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How Small Businesses Can Survive COVID-19

If you own or manage a small business today, you most likely are concerned about the health and welfare of your employees, customers, and your business itself. The whole world seems to be fighting this dreaded pandemic, and the future for all of us is cloudy at best. So what can a small business do to survive COVID-19 so it is ready to continue operations when the worst of this has passed.

As a small business owner myself, these thoughts have been on my mind and have dominated discussions during my last few management meetings. Our industry (real estate) is likely going to shut down completely within the next few weeks, and we’re wondering how to ensure that we can spring back into form as soon as it is safe to do so.

Digital Marketing Task List

As a company that thrives on digital marketing, we have a great opportunity to work from home and still get a lot done. For companies that are new to digital marketing (or even those that have yet to embrace DM), many of the tasks that my company is pursuing would make a great “down-time” to-do list too. Here is just some of what we are doing:

Digital Marketing Evaluation

One thing a good marker is always doing is evaluation. We study our current and past campaigns to see what worked best and what should be terminated. For companies that are new to DM, read a book on how to transition from traditional marketing to digital marketing.

Another great evaluation task to perform is the study of your industry to find digital marketing leaders across the globe. For example, in the real estate industry, I look to see what successful companies are doing in the larger markets around the US on social media. I can visit their Facebook pages for the purpose of finding different ad styles that are generating great social buzz.

Choose a few areas that you want to improve, setting up tasks that you would normally forsake because of time constraints. This pandemic is taking away the opportunity for many of us to “do what we do,” so now is a good time to focus on things we can do to improve.

Social Media

The easiest way to reduce the cost of social media is to establish a large group of followers. You are able to reach followers far easier (and cheaper) than you can people who have no connection to your organization.

One smart technique is to have ALL of your employees grow their follower list on Facebook and the other social media platforms on which you plan to market your business. Make sure they don’t just randomly grow their list, have them focus on people who live in your market area. If your organization is global, have them grow their list with well-connected followers. If your business is local (like mine), have them select people who are well connected in your local area.

Facebook allows individuals to have 5000 followers so that is your goal. Can you imagine your reach on Facebook if all of your employees have 5000 quality followers each? You could then invite these followers to like your company page on Facebook and your ability to market your product or service would grow exponentially without you having to invest a large amount of money.

Company Website

The company website should be a great source of business for your organization. Do you have a templated site that is merely a “business card online?” If so, take this down time to re-engineer your company website.

Our real estate website (Joe Manausa Real Estate) is a great site, and we’ve generated tens of millions of dollars of revenue from the site. But it always could be better!

Currently, we are using a tool from hrefs.com to audit our site for errors and for optimization. We have found 169 images that are too large and are slowing page load times (a big no-no for search engine optimization). We have downloaded each image, reduced them in size, optimized them to be as small as possible, and now are in the process of replacing the larger images with the newly optimized ones.

Additionally, we’re looking at generating additional new content for our site so that it will improve organically generated traffic (organic means free!). We are putting together a list of frequently asked questions that we hear all the time and will turn these into stand-alone videos that we’ll promote both on our site and on video sites such as Youtube. Video is a very affordable way to reach your consumers, but you have to have quality content that they will want to watch and hear.

Lemons Into Lemonade

Times are tough and scary right now. It would be easy to put our heads in the sand and complain “woe is me.” But what if we use this mandatory downtime to strengthen our digital marketing foundation?

I believe that this will eventually pass, and we’ll be back to business as usual. There will be new problems, new issues, and perhaps a time of great personal sadness that many of us will have to endure. But I’m going to take some good with the bad. I’m going to sharpen the proverbial ax so that when the new normal is established, I will have a stronger digital footprint that will help me compete and thrive in the future. I hope you will too.


Written by Joe Manausa.
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Joe Manausa
Joe Manausa is the CEO of Joe Manausa Real Estate, a growing real estate brokerage listed among the Forbes Inc. 5000, and author of The Business of Getting Business. After observing industry giants move to a digital-first marketing approach, Joe made the transition within his own company, resulting in over $10 million of revenue from the business’s website. Joe Manausa is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow him on LinkedIn.