7 Ways to Jumpstart Your Online Business While Working from Home

By Cari Thompson

Estimated read time: 7 minutes, 1 second

In a lot of ways, it feels like the world has been put on hold. But that doesn’t have to be true for your online business.

Sure, you probably had to take a day to get make your house work-friendly, and figure out a way to keep the kiddos out of your “office.” But now you and your team are working remotely like champs and are ready to rock the socks off self-quarantine.

So, now what?

It’s not quite time to go back to business as usual. But you do want to make sure your customers know you’re still open for business. So, here are some simple ways to get back in the game and boost online sales and engage customers.

1. Run a Promotion

Nothing makes customers happier than a great deal. So, lift everyone’s spirits with a special promotion to thank them for supporting your business.

If you use FastSpring as your eCommerce partner, setting up a special coupon or discount is super simple. Everything you need is in the Coupons area of the Dashboard—you decide what type of discount or coupon you want to create and who has access to savings.

There are two main ways to provide customer discounts: built-in product discounts and coupons. With both promotion types, you can:

  • Reduce the price of one or more products
  • Schedule automatic beginning and ending dates
  • Include an optional, customer-facing discount explanation
  • Apply the discount to one or more recurring charges in a subscription

The main difference between the two promotions is that built-in product discounts are available to ALL customers, while coupons apply to only those who are given a coupon code.

So, if you want to run an exclusive offer to just your top-tier customers, a coupon is probably the better option. But a built-in product discount is a great way to appeal to a larger audience.

2. Update Your Currencies

While there are a lot of travel restrictions between countries right now, those restrictions don’t exist for digital products. If you’ve been selling your products exclusively within the United States, this may be a good time to expand your reach and increase your customer base. In which case, you’ll probably need to add some currencies to your storefront.

For US businesses, your default currency is USD. But as a FastSpring partner, you can enable automatic currency conversion for your foreign customers. That means FastSpring automatically converts the price from the default currency (usually USD) to the currency used by the visitor.

For example, if GBP is enabled, but the price is set in USD, a visitor from the UK will see a price in GBP that has been converted USD on the fly.

The best part is that this process takes place without any extra effort from you. All you have to do is choose which currencies you want to enable, and the software does the rest.

3. Expand Your Global Footprint

Speaking of adding currencies to your storefront, now is the time to start thinking globally. If anything, this pandemic has taught us how small our world really is, and we need to start looking beyond our existing markets.

While adding updating your currencies is a great first step, you may also want to consider creating specific landing pages for different global regions. This will require some research, but understanding each the demographics and psychographics for each region will lead to much more success.

Depending on the size of your company, you may want to hire internationally to get additional insights into your new markets.

4. Get Social

Let’s be serious, people are starving for social interaction right now. So, while you can’t do it next to the water cooler or between cubicles, take your need for social interaction to social media.

Your online conversations don’t have to necessarily be brand- or product-related. You can use this time to just chat with customers and see how they’re doing and try to lighten the mood. While these types of conversations may not lead directly to sales, they will improve your relationships with customers.

You can also use your social activity to build your email list. Try pitching your email newsletter on your business’ Facebook page, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts. You know your social media followers already like you, but they may not be receiving your email newsletters (which you may want to start sending if you don’t already).

When sending out emails, try to keep things fresh. Right now, people are getting a lot of emails from businesses with the subject line “What we’re doing through COVID-19.” While I’m sure customers care how you’re helping to flatten the curve, they’ve probably heard enough about it by now. So, try something different.

One of my favorite emails I received during all of this came from an apparel company. Their subject line was, “Free Shipping from now until … Well we don’t know.” And they renamed their t-shirts “The Quarantees.” This type of creativity is what is going to endear current and new customers to your business.

Jimmy Fallon’s DIY Tonight Show is another great example of how to frame your messaging during this weird time. The shows he hosts of his house aren’t for ratings; he makes them to give us a sense of normalcy. And we all love it when his daughter interrupts his jokes or when he and Lin-Manuel Miranda can’t make their virtual duet work. Those moments are real, humanistic, and relatable. It’s what people want right now.

5. Start Some Remarketing Campaigns

Now is a great time to send out targeted emails and ads to reach customers at different stages of the customer journey.

With FastSpring, you can create customized calls to action in your remarketing messages that can include direct links to products the customer selected previously.

You can also set up automatic abandon-cart emails that are sent out 30 minutes after the customer abandons their cart. Those abandoned carts then update your email list to include webhook data with the customer’s email address and categorizes them within your email list as “abandoned,” so you’re already set up for a remarketing campaign.

If you already use a third-party remarketing service, like AdRoll, Constant Contact, MailChimp, or UpSellIt, you can take advantage of FastSpring’s easy-to-use integrations without skipping a beat.

6. Pay it Forward

The other day, I got an alert on my phone from Peloton. It’s said:

“We’re giving back to those in need during these challenging times. For any class taken from March 21-22, we’ll donate $1 to Food Bank For New York City, up to $500,000.”

You better believe I jumped on the Peloton app and took a couple of classes that weekend.

Again, Jimmy Fallon is also finding ways to give back with his DIY shows. Each night he, or his guest, chooses a charity to highlight and encourages their viewers to donate.

If you’re in a position to continue to make money during this difficult time, find a way to help those who aren’t as lucky. Your customers will also appreciate the opportunity to give back through you and your business.

7. Take Some Time for Yourself

As a small business owner, it can be hard to turn off your work brain, especially when you work and live in the same place. So, every day, make sure you’re taking some time for yourself.

Your “me time” may be:

  • Calling or Facetiming a friend
  • Working out
  • Listening to a podcast or a TED talk totally unrelated to your business
  • Jumping on Netflix for a little bit
  • Tuning into a webinar to learn something new
  • Playing a musical instrument that’s collecting dust, or taking music lessons on YouTube

If you don’t take some time to recharge, you’re going to burn out in a hurry. And considering that we’re not sure how long this social distancing thing is going to last, we might as well act like we’re in it for the long haul.

While self-quarantine doesn’t sound great, it may end up being a good thing. This could be a time to start new, good habits, be more productive, and look at your business in a new way. Who knows, you may just like the whole isolation thing. Just remember, do something every day that makes you happy.

Cari Thompson

Cari Thompson is a copywriter, online marketer, and blogger. She studied marketing and advertising and—drum roll, please—music at Brigham Young University. Cari started in traditional advertising as a media buyer then transitioned into the online world through buzz marketing, blogging, and copywriting.

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