As lockdown begins to lift, anxieties are high for many businesspeople in Manchester and beyond.
People whose livelihoods have suffered remain concerned for what the future holds, even as they’re keen to reopen.
It can’t be business as usual – everyone is rapidly learning new ways to adjust, from enforcing social distancing on their premises, to finding new ways to reach out to customers that do not yet feel confident leaving isolation for the first time.
Reaching these customers online is often the easiest option, with plenty of unlikely industries evolving their services for online trading – for instance, Stockport-based Hot Lotus Studio have offered their yoga and pilates classes online throughout lockdown.
As lockdown lifts, there are plenty of other ways that Manchester businesses can use the internet to adapt, evolve and flourish.
If you’re already equipped to sell online, either through your website or another platform, that’s great, and investing the time into listing your stock will help to boost sales in the coming months.
If your existing site isn’t yet equipped for ecommerce, , it might not be practical to set this up at the moment, as it can involve paying more for web design at a time when you’re probably looking to cut expenditure as much as possible.
In that case, there are platforms that will help you get started selling online as soon as possible. Shopify is popular with many businesses, and those with a specialist niche can often find sites specifically dedicated to their trade – Reverb is popular for selling music equipment, whilst arts and crafts enterprises often find success on Etsy.
While it can take time to build a follower base, social media can be as good as free advertising. It is also particularly valuable for those who pride themselves on being a local business. Using social platforms to engage with the community by sharing local items of interest such as events and fundraisers will really highlight this to consumers – aboutmanchester is your friend here!
Bear in mind that when it comes to creating content to connect with your customers on social media, tone is crucial. Be careful and respectful with the content you post and keep an eye on changing conversations online – it’s very easy to land yourself in hot water by posting something unintentionally offensive.
If you’ve never heard of search engine optimisation (SEO), it might sound like a very technical – and very off-putting – term.
But SEO is simply the process of ensuring that your business is that the top of search engines, so that customers can find you when needed.
There are plenty of effective SEO methods that will help if you’re an absolute beginner – social media profiles will help (see above), whilst relevant website content that targets common customer search queries will also boost traffic (e.g. ‘where can I buy sportswear in Manchester?).
And if you have no idea where to begin? Bring in the experts! Leeds SEO agency Maratopia specialise in helping businesses across the country build their search engine profiles and grow traffic.
These are our tips for Manchester businesses succeeding online post-lockdown.