People are shopping online more than ever, and shipping providers around the world are still operating. If you can safely package and ship products — or deliver services virtually — your business can survive, and even thrive!
To help businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, Google is giving away $340 million in free Google Ads credits to small businesses that have used their platform since the beginning of 2019. You can redeem the credits any time through the end of 2020 and use them for all types of ads — search, display, YouTube, and Google Shopping.
To help even more, shops in the U.S. can now list their products on Google Shopping for free!
What your business should do
To take full advantage of your ads, connect creatively with customers dealing with COVID-19 fallout. What problems are they facing that you can solve?
- People are stuck in the house. Does your product combat boredom, or keep them mentally or physically engaged?
- Many are looking after their kids all day, every day. Do you offer educational activities or entertainment?
- Some have lost jobs. Can you help them make money online or provide training to help them prepare for the future?
- Others are working from home for the first time. Can you make this transition easier?
- Most have more stress, more uncertainty, and less patience. How can you be a support for them?
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list! Step back and really think about what your customers are experiencing, you can come up with ways to help them get through this time. (Hint: start by thinking about the challenges you are experiencing!) Three strategies to consider:
1. Develop new products, services, or customer care methods
You may need to find ways to keep customers engaged remotely or replace products that have lost demand with items that are more relevant. Or you may want to make your customer relations more personal and high-touch — more phone calls, live chats, webinars, and social media interactions.
The key is to continue reaching out and engaging with customers and leads. Meet their needs, whether by upgraded customer service, new products, new services, or all of the above.
2. Leverage WooCommerce extensions to maximize Google’s free ad credits
Google’s gift of $340 million in ad credits can go a long way towards staying in front of customers. Despite the need for physical distance, you don’t have to be socially distant! You do want to be there for customers and communicate that you’re ready to partner with them to get through the crisis, but you don’t want to create the impression that you’re trying to exploit the crisis for profit.
First, you’ll need to check if you’re eligible for the ads credits.
Here are the terms from Google:
Small and medium sized businesses globally, who have spent with a Google Ads account in ten out of twelve months of 2019, and in January and/or February of this year. Eligible customers are those who advertised directly with us or through a partner, and adhere to our advertising policies.
Your free ad credits can help! Create a special landing page with coronavirus-related products and offers and use Google Ads to send people to that page. Or use search ads to boost those products to the top of search results when someone’s looking for them.
WooCommerce also offers several extensions to help you use Google Ads and Google Shopping more effectively without investing too much time:
1. Google Ads for WooCommerce helps you efficiently market your products on Google, Google Shopping, YouTube, the Display Network, and Gmail. Run ad campaigns without having to manage all the technical details or manually input product information. The extension syncs your marketing with your inventory and automatically updates your ads as you make changes.
2. Google Product Feed helps specifically with Google Shopping by syncing your WooCommerce inventory with your Google Shopping account. You’ve likely seen Google Shopping ads when you search online — they’re the product images with prices that sometimes appear above text search results. They tend to get more clicks than purely text-based ads, but usually cost less per click. This extension allows you to create a real-time feed to supply product information to Google Merchant Center, a prerequisite for setting up Product Ads.
Google Shopping takes a bit more work to set up and manage, but has the potential to be very powerful for your business. If you want to learn more about it, read how to reach more customers using Google Shopping.
3. Change your offers
Updating your offers is one of the best moves your business can make during the coronavirus pandemic. This is the perfect time for special markdowns, limited time deals, free shipping, free gifts, and other creative, money-saving offers. Add new products to existing ones and create special ‘stay at home’ bundles. Partner with other businesses and work together to reach a broader customer base. A board-game seller could partner with an online dessert company to create a family game night package.
The motivation here isn’t just to stay in business — though that’s certainly a priority — but to show people that you’re with them. You understand the hardships they’re facing, because you’re facing them too, and your business wants to help. The reality is, when your customers succeed, your business succeeds. So make it easier for them to do so, and they’ll remember you long after the current crisis ends.
Stay motivated, stay strong, and get creative. With the help of WooCommerce, your local community, and the free ad credits from Google, your business can weather this storm and come out stronger on the other side.