If you’ve had to shut your business down or are facing decreased sales due to the corona virus pandemic, you may be able to take your business online more easily than you think. In fact, several industries are adopting an online or virtual platform in order to not only survive the corona pandemic, they’re able to open up increased revenue streams and reach a wider audience. To give you some inspiration, our digital marketing team is sharing some examples of how traditionally client-facing, brick-and-mortar businesses are finding success online.
Your car dealership may have an online presence with a website that includes images of your inventory and a list of basic information, such as mileage, year, and a few features, but your business primarily depends on customers coming to your dealership, seeing the car in person, and of course, taking it on a test drive. With your potential customers receiving economic stimulus deposits as well as tax returns, having to shut down now means you’re missing out on what could be one of the busiest times of the year.
Fortunately, this gives you a great opportunity to transition to online car sales. Once thought of as impossible, online car dealer Carvana is changing how people purchase their vehicles and with massive yearly growth, are showing that it’s not only possible, but lucrative.
While you may not be able to build an eight-story vehicle vending machine, there are ways you can switch to an online service:
- 360° imaging and virtual tours to provide a more interactive experience;
- Online financing so customers can get approved right from their home;
- Finalizing paperwork online
- Vehicle delivery service so your customer doesn’t have to leave the house
- Risk-free return policy instead of traditional test driving
These are similar to what Carvana offers, but you have the added benefit of offering local convenience and more personalized service. Using a content management system like a WordPress website, allows you to easily update your inventory and add visual aids, while a strong digital marketing presence will get the word out about your new innovations. With these tools, you can steer your dealership through the pandemic and stand out among local competitors even once the danger has passed.
The real estate market has slowed considerably as people are sheltering in place, but there are some opportunities to maintain and grow your agency. After all, from a buyer or seller’s perspective, what better time to pack up a house and move than when kids are already out of school, you’ve got time to pack, and you may be receiving a stimulus check from the IRS that can aid with expenses. So how can you leverage this?
Open houses and personal tours used to be an essential part of a Realtor’s marketing strategy, but you probably know that today’s buyers do much of the work from their couches. Over 90 percent of homeowners began their search online, which isn’t terribly surprising, especially with aggregate sites like Zillow and Trulia. However, home buyers aren’t just browsing online – 20 percent of offers made on homes in 2018 were made sight unseen. While this was more common in highly competitive markets such as Austin, Portland, D.C., and around Silicon Valley, it’s becoming a more accepted practice nationally as people move to new cities or purchase investment property.
So, how can you sell houses or assist clients through home buying during a pandemic? It all starts with your website, first making sure that every home has highly detailed home descriptions and visual aids including:
- Virtual tours
- Drone footage
- High-quality images (the more, the better!)
You can also drum up added traffic to your website through social media marketing, posting photos and videos and highlighting sought-after amenities during a lock down, including outdoor spaces, natural lighting, and lots of room to spread out. This is a great opportunity to leverage pay-per-click advertising on social media, like Facebook Ads, making sure your homes are being seen by your target audience! Also, make sure interested buyers know you can offer “virtual walkthroughs” where you FaceTime with shoppers, providing a thorough walk-through just like they were with you, including close-ups of features and concerns and answering questions in real time.
Physicians and Healthcare
As a medical practitioner, you’re certainly not having to close your doors during a pandemic, but it does mean you want to prevent excess foot traffic in and out of your office to avoid spreading illness, or, if you provide elective medical services, you may be seeing a downturn in business. Providing virtual appointments and increasing telehealth services can be used to not only decrease foot traffic in and out of your office, but can also increase your business while improving efficiency and visibility.
As a general practitioner, pediatrician, or family doctor, providing virtual appointments allows your patients to reach you for issues like medication follow-ups, get home care suggestions for stomach viruses and ear infections, and call in prescriptions for mild illnesses. Additionally, health apps can help your clients record their information and schedule reminders for medicine and with remote monitoring, patients can use or wear devices that measure, record, and transmit health data like blood pressure, glucose, heart rate, and lung function. This means you can keep up with your patients without them having to come to the office.
Virtual appointments and telehealth is extremely beneficial in areas related to mental health services. We are seeing a rise in video call-based therapy sessions and even text-based therapy through instant messaging which can be especially beneficial during the current situation.
While there are certainly medical situations that require in-person care, offering virtual appointments and telehealth services saves you time and can reduce some of your costs, allowing you to provide a better experience to your patients.
Law Firms and Attorneys
Even though it may seem like it, the world hasn’t stopped, and that means there’s still a need for criminal defense attorneys, will and estate planning, and employment advocates, which means if you have a law firm, now is the time to take it virtual. Fortunately, there’s a growing trend toward virtual law firms, so there are ample resources in place to make your transition simple and efficient, while allowing you to still provide the counsel and services your clients need.
By offering consultations via Zoom or a similar video conferencing platform, you can stay in touch with your clients and partners in your firm. Investing in law firm management software such as Clio, MyCase, or PracticePanther allows you to make a rapid transition to a virtual firm with their cloud-based technology that lets you manage cases, automate documents and communication and integrate document management, payment, and timekeeping platforms. Using Voice Over Internet Protocol and an app like Elevate, you can turn any computer into a business desktop phone, complete with call routing and call transfer capabilities, so if your law firm relies on a receptionist for scheduling and call management, they can maintain operations on that end, too.
Make the Shift to Online Operations and Watch Your Business Thrive
These are just a few industries that are traditionally brick-and-mortar that are able to go fully online in a snap while still providing excellent service to their clients, patients, or customers. To know what you need to take your business online, check out our guide to online business tools for remote work, or reach out to our digital consultants today!