How to Best Support Your Clients During COVID-19 (While Keeping Your Agency Running)
COVID-19 has effectively changed the world as we know it. Whether you own a smaller creative web design business, work at a huge agency, or are an established freelancer, I’m sure you’ve been wondering how you (and your clients) can come out on the other side of this relatively unscathed. While there’s no book, ebook, or video course on how to handle COVID-19 for you or your client’s own business, one thing is certain: now, more than ever, it’s important to support your clients in any way you can.
In this article, I’ll dive into how you can support your clients during this hard time, which in turn will help your own business stay afloat.
Here are five ways to support your clients at this time:
- Communicate changes and updates using your website
- Offer tips and advice on social
- Consider adding new services to support your clients
- Become an expert in building online stores
- Level up your own skills
Let’s dive in.
Communicate Changes and Updates Using Your Website
One of the easiest ways to support your clients that’s well within your wheelhouse is communicating changes and updates on your website! Many businesses have already started doing this, and as a web design agency of any size, you should too.
Here are some examples of what you could communicate to your current and potential clients:
- Discounts or financing options you’re offering due to COVID-19
- New services you’ve added to help clients (such as moving their brick and mortar store online!)
- How you and your team plan to work to navigate COVID-19 while delivering what you’ve already promised the client
You may have reservations about doing this. It may be that 99% of other businesses have already put similar messages out and it’s starting to feel overwhelming, or maybe that type of communication doesn’t match your website’s brand. Whatever the case is, it’s still important that you communicate with your clients on your site how you’re handling the situation so they have some peace of mind. Trust me, it’s better to over-communicate rather than under-communicate, especially if you have a significant number of clients.
Offer Tips and Advice on Social
Another way businesses have started supporting their clients is sharing tips and advice on social. Some popular ones I’ve seen are infographics about how to properly social distance with friends and family, posting uplifting Instagram stories, and long threads on Twitter and Facebook about how to adapt during this time.
You can cater this specifically to your market of clients. If you work with a lot of local restaurants, share tips with them on how to best market their curbside pickup on social media (and make sure it’s reflected on their Google My Business page). If you work with retail shops that rely heavily on organic traffic to find new clients, share tips on how to maximize keywords to work towards ranking on Google. Or if you work with clients that rely on ad spend to reach new customers, suggest that they up their ad budget if they’re able to during this time to make sure they’re still getting exposure and protecting their business.
Whatever tips and advice you decide to share online, make sure it’s information that is most helpful to them. This may even lead to something bigger, such as adding new services to your business.
Consider Adding New Services to Support Your Clients
One of the best ways to support your clients and your own business is to add new services. Many of your clients may be finding themselves in a tough spot of not having an online presence previously or trouble selling products online to maintain their business. Now’s the time to implement easy, nearly-free services for your clients to build trust, show you have their back, and support their business in this difficult time.
Here are some of the services you can consider adding to your business:
- Content marketing
- Mobile apps
- Social media content
Content marketing is a great service to add, especially if you have a client that can profit from having a blog to drive more traffic to their site organically. Consider crafting a content strategy for them for free and offer content as a new service at a lower rate to help their business during this time. Depending on your client’s situation, this may be a super valuable service that they did not think of previously.
More likely than not, you’re designing and building a site for a client and optimizing as you go, so adding SEO as a service may not even be additional work on your part! Now, more than ever, it’s important that both a site and its content are optimized for SEO so they have a better chance of ranking on Google, driving traffic to their site, and converting. Consider adding SEO as a service and charging less than what you would normally. It’s important to remember that this is a service that can benefit your client’s business and also benefits you because you’re sharpening your skills and can add this as an official service at full-cost after everything is back to normal.
According to socialmediatoday.com, people are spending 20% more time in apps during COVID-19.
Many people are spending more time on their phones, whether that’s making a phone call, browsing the web, or just scrolling through their social media feed. If you’re already a coding pro, developing mobile apps is the perfect service to add to your business, due to demand. Restaurants are needing mobile apps to continue doing pickup or curbside orders, grocery stores are needing mobile apps to split some of the traffic going to their site, causing it to run slow, and there are a dozen other scenarios where a client might need a mobile application. This might just be the perfect solution to your client’s problems.
Social Media Content
Mobile app usage isn’t the only thing that’s increased due to COVID. According to Tech Crunch, apps like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp have all increased in usage since the pandemic began. Even before, social media content is not something business owners want to focus on so it might be time to put these skills to the test! Try mapping out a social media strategy for a client for free and then offer social media content as a service for the next three months at a discounted price.
The best part is creating social media content doesn’t take too long, as long as you have a great social scheduling tool like these:
- Buffer: A great option if you’re managing a handful of accounts and are on a budget
- Onlypult: An amazing social scheduling tool that does everything on Instagram for you
- Sprout: A solid tool if you have a client that wants to see social reports and data to prove results
Choose a social scheduling tool that can help your workflow process and benefit your clients the most!
Hosting is a service that every client with a site needs. The best thing about this service is that it takes minimal work on your end and more often than not, you’re already paying your web hosting provider for hosting to take their site live. If you have struggling clients, reach out to your hosting provider or other vendors to see if they’re doing any payment relief efforts to help. That way, their site stays online as they manage their business, all while building their relationship with you.
Become an Expert in Building Online Stores
Right now, there are lots of businesses in the world that need an online store to sell their products and you can help by building eCommerce sites. The great news is there are lots of options available for you to build eCommerce stores, like WooCommerce.
WooCommerce is a free plugin that pairs perfectly with WordPress so you can build an online store from your client’s existing site, or build one from scratch for a minimal cost! Click here to learn more about how to move your client’s brick and mortar shop with WordPress and WooCommerce. By building your client’s an online store, you’ll be helping their business while keeping yours running!
Level up Your Own Skills
Last, but certainly not least, it may be a good time to level up your own skills. Especially if you’re a little light on client work, you can use this time to learn something new or advance your skillset (something that probably gets pushed to the backlog when business is busy).
You can then consider testing your new skills with your clients (see the section above about adding new services!), or know that you’ll have a brand new way to support your clients in the future. This may not pay off immediately, but has the potential to have long-term benefits, for both your business and your clients.
Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling:
- Download Adobe Creative Cloud apps for a free trial for 7 days
- Take a course from Code Academy
- Learn how to build your own WordPress maintenance plans for recurring revenue
- Take HubSpot’s free social media marketing course
- Start the Ahrefs academy
- Watch a video series to learn about SEO
- Learn about the strategy of content marketing
The best way you can support your clients is knowing what will help, support, and uplift them during this time. Know of more ways to support your clients? Comment below!