Post on : April 22, 2020

Here are 6 tips to help you promote your business during COVID-19:
1. Set up an online store: You don’t need a sophisticated e-commerce site to sell your products online. It can be as simple as showcasing your products on your website, enews, or social media platforms; accepting payment via e-mail money transfer or PayPal; and offering curb-side pickup or delivering/shipping the product to your customer. Do what works for your business and your budget.

If you are looking to build an e-commerce site you have a number of options:

  • Contact a local e-commerce development company to assist you. Most are still operating on a WFH basis and would be happy to serve you.
  • Shopify is offering free 90-day trials, local pickup and delivery options, the ability to sell gift cards, and $200M in small business financing during the COVID-19 outbreak (learn more). For a step-by-step guide to creating a simple Shopify store where customers can buy online and pickup curbside, click here.
  • Make sure to let Downtown St. John’s know if you are operating in any capacity so we can help promote you! There’s a list of businesses updated daily right here on the Downtown St. John’s website Click Here

2. Build your digital presence:

  • If you don’t already have a social media presence, now is the time to set one up. Use the platform(s) that works best for your business; whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or a combination. Tune into the built in analytics that the social media platforms offer to help track what works for your followers.
  • If you already have a digital presence now is a good time to work on your social media strategy, website design, and online advertising, either to drive customers to your online store or to be ready to promote your business when you reopen your physical location.
  • Check out this Digital Starter Kit for Small Businesses
  • Update your Google Business account so customers are getting accurate information when they do a general search for you.

Social Media Tips:

  • Be sure to do regular posts on your social media platforms, even if it’s just a shout out to say ‘Hey, we can’t wait to see you again’. – it keeps your followers engaged. Get to know your customers and let them get to know you – this helps create customer loyalty.
  • Tag Downtown St. John’s so we can help promote you and be sure to use the hashtag #lovedowntown in your posts. You can find Downtown St. John’s on Facebook @downtownstjohnsnlon Twitter @DowntownStJohns and on Instagram at lovedowntownstjohns.

3. Offer delivery or curb-side pickup options:
For restaurants or businesses with ordering options, adding a delivery option can help boost your business during a time when many people are unable to leave their homes. There are a number of options available for help with delivering goods if this is a service you wish to offer: Skip the Dishes, Door Dash, etc. Some of these also offer online ordering options.
Contactless curb-side pickup allows customers to safely continue to support you, their favorite downtown business!

4. Run virtual classes or events:
Use your digital presence to host virtual events or create fun videos. Many businesses are getting innovative during these challenging times; from offering virtual yoga classes to online art parties. Hosting an online event is a great way to stay connected with your customers and to keep your business top of mind even though you might be closed to the public.

5. Communicate with your customers: Use social media and e-mail to communicate regularly with your customers about modified hours, how they can continue to support your business, and any special offers you’re running. It’s important to maintain a level of contact with your customers to keep them engaged. Be sure to e-mail details to Downtown St. John’s as well so we can help spread the word – 
6. Use your storefront: You might be closed, but your storefront is still visible to anyone going for a walk or shopping for essential products and services in Downtown St. John’s. Use your storefront to enhance your brand with eye-catching displays, and also to communicate about how customers can shop with you during the provincial shutdown.

For more resources to help you navigate the COVID-19 outbreak, click here.


#LoveDowntown Contest May 6 to July 12, 2019