Deborah Fielden is Senior Copywriter and Content Marketing Manager at Bluehoop Digital in Ilkley. The company provide a range of services including web design, search engine optimisation, Pay Per Click and social media. Here she writes on how small businesses can adapt to the challenges of coronavirus

THE Coronavirus pandemic is already proving incredibly challenging for many small businesses in our area who are faced with having to cope with restrictions and customer unease. So what can be done to adapt to such a dramatic change in circumstance and ensure you stay in touch with your customers?

Online strategies and tools offer lots of important ways to stay connected with your customers. Here’s how making the most of your website, social media and technology can help your business:

• Twitter: if you don’t have a Twitter account for your business now is the time! Follow as many other local businesses and organisations as you can. Twitter offers an important way to see how other businesses are coping, whilst discovering new and inspiring ways to reach your customers. Don’t forget to include local hashtags when you Tweet: #ilkley #burleyinwharfedale #addingham etc to make sure the right people see your message.

• Website: look upon your website as an important weapon in your marketing arsenal! If you’re able to update it yourself, use it to publicise any changes you make to your services, such as offering home deliveries, changing your opening times or working practices, for example. Also, don’t forget to keep your customers informed by telling them how you’re dealing with Coronavirus; such as moving tables further apart in a coffee shop, replacing crockery with takeaway cups, or providing hand sanitiser for customers to use.

• eCommerce: an eCommerce web shop offers a way to keep your business going without a bricks and mortar shop.

• New services: over the last week we’ve seen increasing numbers of local shops and cafes change the way they do business by offering local delivery services. Think about whether this is something that would work for your business and if you decide to go for it, use social media, your website and email marketing to let your customers know.

• Email: get in touch with your customers or clients by email to remind them that you’re still out there.

• Live streaming: many yoga studios, therapists and business coaches are live streaming classes to give their clients an opportunity to work out and stay in contact whilst they’re isolated at home or social distancing. This is easy to set up and there are a number of different ways to do this, including Skype or Houseparty, for example.

There’s no doubt that Coronavirus presents a significant challenge to many businesses but there are ways to adapt. Ilkley-based Bluehoop Digital are offering free advice on moving your business online, or improving your online presence. Get in touch with Gareth Lisle or Ian White on 01943 968262 or email