If a global pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that even industries previously considered solid and secure could be brought to their knees almost overnight. For many businesses, diversification was the key to survival as we had to adjust quickly to circumstances we’d never experienced before or could have foreseen.
You may not have realised at the time, but the framework of your websites offers a solid and highly flexible foundation to extend its capabilities very quickly.
Below are 4 simple ways your website can quickly be extended to retain existing customers and attract new ones during uncertain times.
4 Simple ways to extend your website
1. Add an online shop.
Migrating from a physical store to an online shop was one of the first things a lot of businesses did when we were sent into lockdown back in March 2020. Online ordering and food deliveries kept many restaurants and cafes alive.
If your business doesn’t sell products, you could consider selling affiliate products that compliment your services. Chances are your website already contains the keywords associated with these products so it’s only a matter of making a few tweaks to branch into online sales.
I know an alternative health practitioner who, during lockdown, started offering Zoom consultations to her clients. She then set up a simple online shop and started selling the health supplements she prescribed to clients (she had previously sent them to another online store to purchase them). The extra income this generated kept her business afloat during 2020. Now she benefits from customers reordering in the future and attracting new customers through search engine optimisation.
2. Sell your expertise
Could you sell your expertise online in the form of classes, workshops, courses, e-books and other digital products?
When gyms were forced to close, astute personal trainers quickly adapted and started offering online fitness classes to a captive (and paying) audience. Through word of mouth, personal trainers established relationships with new clients that they can now potentially covert to face-to-face training sessions – or continue training them online.
3. Work with complementary businesses
COVID saw the normality of our day-to-day lives change within a few short months. This meant many new and exciting opportunities arose in the marketplace for some industries.
Working with other businesses that complement yours can ensure that your business benefits from these opportunities and makes the most from the change in people’s circumstances.
For example, when people were forced to work from home, opportunities opened up for the IT industry to set up computer equipment and, similarly, for office equipment businesses to supply the furniture.
To capitalise on this, an IT company could join forces with an office furniture supplier to cross-promote the other’s services. For example, the IT company and furniture company could write helpful tips on setting up the perfect home office, adding this to their corresponding websites (optimised for search engine ranking, of course) and promoting each other’s services.
They take advantage of a change in their customer’s behaviour and use the services they provide to cross-promote and capture a large segment of the marketplace.
4. Conduct business virtually
Just as the personal training industry switched to Zoom fitness classes, other industries can migrate their expertise to an online environment too.
During lockdown, online chat, Skype, Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp, etc, became our go-to means of communication with colleagues, family and friends. But, these don’t have to be restricted to people we know but can be extended to reach out to and communicate with new customers.
Additionally, online forums can be set up to communicate with large groups of people seeking your advice and expertise.
For example, a psychologist may attach an online forum or blog to their website with tips that assist parents struggling with the challenges of home schooling during lockdown Relationships are formed and trust built. The psychologist can then offer a virtual appointment via Zoom for those needing specialist and one-on-one advice.
A dietician may set up a similar forum or blog and transition customers over to a subscription service where they receive weekly meal plans or dietary advice. Similarly, personalised Zoom consultations could be offered for an additional fee.
2021 and Beyond
While the tips above highlight the online resources available to assist businesses during tough times like during a global pandemic, they can and should be considered by business owners even when times are good.
Exciting opportunities to grow and expand your business exist all the time. Ways to interact with existing customers and to attract new ones can easily and cost-effectively be integrated into your website anytime.
In 2021, I believe a lot of businesses will assess how they can better protect themselves from those unforeseen circumstances that are beyond our control. Hopefully, the tips above offer you some inspiration.
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If you have questions or need assistance diversifying your business during COVID and beyond, please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime.