COVID-19 threw everyone for a loop, including consultancies. Businesses built on relationships, networking and collaboration are suddenly being forced entirely online — either that, or they risk closing for good.
Moving your brick-and-mortar business into the virtual world may seem like a monumental task, and we won’t lie, it will be a lot of work. But it’s entirely achievable, even on a budget. And by taking the consultancy online, you may open yourself up to a new world of clients post-pandemic.
Here’s how to get started:
Coach your current clients through the transition.
Switching to virtual meetings when you’re used to personal, face-to-face conversations is hard on everyone. The advantage you have right now is that your clients know this pandemic is out of your control. Would they rather meet in person? Probably. But they understand that this is a strange time, so they may be more willing to give online consultancy services a try. You’ll need to help them adjust, though. Business development expert Terry Rice writes, “Be sure to stress the benefit of doing something as opposed to waiting for weeks, possibly months, for in-person meetings to occur.” He also suggests owning your shortcomings if there are problems during the pivot. Transparency is critical to maintaining clients’ trust.
When you’re ready to meet online, explain exactly how virtual meetings will work, and emphasize what you can still achieve together. Reassure clients that you will be available to answer questions throughout the process, because they’re probably going to need some hand-holding. When you are in meetings, focus on the actions you and they can take now, rather than dwelling on what’s been lost. You’ll set the tone for the transition, so the more upbeat and organized you are, the more likely people will be to come along.
See best online communications tools
Make sure your online business' website is user-friendly.
If you’re accustomed to meeting clients in person, you may have neglected your web presence. But now is the time to spruce up your site. Freshen up your copy with a new About Page and content that speaks to your prospective clients’ concerns during the pandemic. Sites that don’t acknowledge the current climate may seem out of touch, and you want to inspire confidence now more than ever.
Ask a friend or family member to use your site while you look over their shoulder. Don’t tell them where to go; just observe. You want to get a sense of how easily people can navigate and find relevant information. If they’re getting stuck somewhere, you know what needs to change.
There are lots of online resources for how to improve your SEO and the look of your site without spending thousands of dollars. Bounce House helps you set up a site and plan engaging social media posts quickly and for free, making it easier than ever to create an attractive web presence for your consultancy.
Whichever tools you choose, your goal is to convey professionalism and authority while still being approachable. People want guidance during this uncertain time, so that’s what your site should convey.
Become a thought leader.
Speaking of conveying authority, look for opportunities to share your unique insights online. That may include publishing short blog posts to LinkedIn or Medium, or guest posting on sites that are widely read in your industry. You might also start a podcast, create a course or write a short, free ebook or tips list that people can download when they sign up for your email newsletter. Publishing content is a great way to showcase your expertise and let people know about your business.
See 14 social media post types that you can utilize regularly
You don’t have to limit yourself to written content, either. If you’re not comfortable starting your own podcast, you can offer to speak as a guest on other people’s. Or, you might start a YouTube channel where you share weekly tips. Instagram Live sessions are also great ways to start conversations with your audience. Social media will be critical to building and maintaining your online client base, so find the platforms that work for you, then focus on growing your following there.
Get your consultancy up and running in no time on Bounce House, focus on your clients and business, we make the tools easy.