In March 2020, South Africa changed as we know it. COVID-19 cases started spreading around the world rapidly and then landed on our doorstep. Unfortunately, we could not hold the virus out. And, due to the nature of the virus, it started spreading as soon as it fell onto our South African soil.
After the President’s call for the entire nation to go on lockdown from Thursday the 26th of March for 21 days, businesses have had to make major adaptations to mitigate risk, keep their employees safe and continue to support their customers.
Apart from health concerns, the COVID-19 virus will leave a lot of long-term economic consequences for South Africa. You need to ensure that your business comes out of this strong.
We’ve provided some advice to help you through these testing times.
Tips for small and medium business during SA lockdown
1. Add a link to the government’s main COVID-19 page on your website
The South African Government issued the following notice:
Every website with a domain name that ends in .za – from government portals to private blogs – must now link to the government’s official COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal on your front page.
Make sure you get this link on your website as it’s mandatory. Contact IEDM for more information.
You can read more about this on Business Insider’s article.
2. Adapt your products and services to the current situation
Most South Africans are bound to their homes. They’re only allowed to leave if they’re an essential worker, to buy necessities or to get urgent medical care. This can pose great challenges for you if your business relies on face-to-face or in-store interactions.
It’s important to think outside the box and adapt your services. A few examples are:
- Offer layby options to your customers. This way, you can still generate income and then provide your products and services once the lockdown is over.
- Offer online resources, such as webinars, educational videos and podcasts, either as a paid-for service or a way to promote your services and build brand awareness.
3. Don’t be scared to talk about COVID-19
It’s time to get social. People are engaging with brands more than usual, especially because they have more time now that they’re stuck at home.
According to eMarketer, people are very receptive to seeing brands talk about and include the COVID-19 topic in their content and advertising. There have been millions of daily mentions of the virus on social media. This is what people are concerned about at the moment – this is the content they want to read about, share and interact with online.
4. Think about adapting instead of pausing your advertising budgets
Businesses around the country are reducing their advertising budget. For some businesses, this may be the right option. For others, adjusting campaign budgets may be a better idea.
Keeping up with brand awareness, promoted content tailored to the current situation and adjusting your current advertising spend will ensure that you do not lose touch with your prospective customers.
Just remember, this is a great time to build leads for when things have calmed down. Your competitors may slow down on their advertising, but now’s your time to show your audience you’re still on top of things.
5. Communicate clearly with your customers
We’re all facing this crisis together. Now, more than ever, your customers need you to be transparent. Keep them up to date with any changes happening within your business.
6. Don’t share any false information
There’s a lot of false information making its rounds at the moment, especially information about the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, people are sharing information with fellow South Africans that’s only relevant to other countries or sending voice notes on WhatsApp that have not been validated. Besides losing trust with your clients, it is now a criminal offence to spread fake news about the COVID-19 virus.
According to regulations published under the Disaster Management Act 2002 in the Government Gazette, under section 11(5), it’s “an offence to publish a statement through any medium with the intention to deceive about COVID-19, anyone’s COVID-19 infection status or government measure to address the pandemic. The penalty is a fine or imprisonment for six months, or both.” (Source)
Not sure where to go from here?
It’s crucial for you to meet your audience where they are – and at the moment, they’re online! Many businesses can adapt to form a stronger online presence and even find ways to provide online services. A great example of this is our client, Van’s Auctioneers. IEDM has built a platform specially designed for them so that they can hold online auctions instead of physical auctions, enabling people to attend auctions during lockdown.
If you’re selling products, an online shop is a fantastic way to get people to buy your products in the comfort of their own homes.
Training and other services can also be done online with the help of website developers and digital marketers. IEDM can help you. Start by sharing your challenges with us and we’ll provide the best solutions for your business.
Please contact IEDM Digital Marketing for any assistance. And, stay safe and healthy!