A digital guide to tackling Corona Virus

corona virus small business ni

OK, so it’s getting real. Schools closed in Ireland. Major events cancelled across the UK. Staff advised to stay at home and a general sense of uncertainty across all markets and industries. Here’s how businesses can combat COVID-19 with an effective digital strategy.

Businesses will suffer

The virus is already effecting businesses across the UK & Ireland. COVID-19 has been the “icing on the cake” for companies like Flye Be. Claiming they simply couldn’t cope with the impact of the disease.

Yesterday, the UK FTSE 100 closed with it’s worst plunge since 1987.

So, how can digital help?

Well, let’s face it – the show must go on. Businesses need to continue generating revenue. And they must reduce overheads during uncertain times. Here’s just a few of the problems facing businesses and how digital can provide some help…

Reduced footfall.

Retail outlets are already seeing a massive reduction in footfall into their stores. 1 way to combat this might be to work on your e-commerce solution. More people will be staying at home. And more people will be making purchases online. You should offer at least some way for your customers to make purchase or pay deposits on line.

Cashflow problems.

During uncertain times, customers and clients may withhold payments for a little longer. You can make it easier for them to pay by offering online payments. You can send email reminders and simply ways to pay online by creating a page like mywebiste.com/pay.

You could also start selling products and services online.

Cutting costs

Reduce your marketing and advertising spend by taking any budget from magazines, newspapers, billboards, radio, &TV and moving it to digital. Your budget will go further and you can target your audience better.

Staffing problems.

Many staff can be “self incubating” and working from home. Unfortunately these uncertain times may even call for a reduction in staff and a slimming down of your workforce.

Keep your sales & marketing alive (regardless of staff) by outsourcing this to a professional team at a fraction of the cost. The outsource team can carry out social media campaigns, website updates, SEO and more. This will help bolster sales during difficult times.

You may need to recruit quickly when the worst is over. There’s no faster or better way to do this than with a good digital strategy.

Offers & deals

Restaurants, shops, travel companies, hotels. (pretty much every sector really) will see a reduction in sales. You can combat this by offering promotions and deals to help get sales back on track. A digital team can help you with newsletters, social media campaigns and more.

Keeping stakeholders informed

You’ve got staff, investors, customers and stakeholders. All of which will want to know your plans for Corona Virus. Keeping your stakeholders informed will do you well in the long run.

A digital partner can help you with press releases, social media campaigns, website articles and more – to keep your stakeholders well informed. This will also build trust.


You should at least have a digital partner.

A digital partner (That manages your website, social media & digital content) will allow you to react quickly to anything that happens. You can shift company focus, launch new products, get more sales online, get paid faster, recruit quickly, keep customers informed and market your business in the most cost effective way.

Fix your business’ digital strategy permanently with one thing.

one thing to improve digital small business

If we told you need to do just 1 thing to drive your business on line would you believe us?

Business owners often fret over social media, their website and their digital strategy. “What should we be doing?”…”What should we avoid?”… “Should we do a newsletter?” “What about GDPR?”… “Is Bing really any good? “…”I think it’s all a fad” (Yes, that’s a real comment from a client.)

Digital (by which we mean, your business website, Google, social media, newsletters, e-commerce, business apps, booking systems, industry websites) can be a mind field for business owners. Business owners are engineers, medical professionals, builders, make up artists, retailers, legal professionals, estate agents, mechanics… They are not Digital Marketeers or Web Developers!

So, if we take 2 businesses. Same industry, same business model, similar client base…

Business A) – Business A is absolutely “killing it” on-line. Their website pops, converts customers and accepts payments. They’ve good a good social media following from their customer base. And they keep them well informed with interesting, informative content about products, services and industry news.

Business A is always top of the list in Google & Bing and they create newsletters and videos. Their brand looks really sharp on line.

Business B) – Business B’s website looks like a school project from 2005. Their brand is messy and inconsistent. They have little or no social media presence. They can’t be found on Google, they’ve never heard of Bing and they have no way of accepting a payment on line from anyone.

What’s the difference?

So what has Business A done that’s allowed them to create this on line presence. What knowledge do they have that Business B does not? How do they keep on top of everything and do it so well? They’ve done the 1 thing we’re about to tell you. The secret to a successful on line strategy that any business owner can implement today…

Wait, are you ready for it? Are you sitting down? The 1 thing to do to fix all of your digital woes and generate some real business on line is…

3 secrets in digital that your competitors aren’t looking at. (Yet!)

3 digital secrets 2019

Anything to get one up your competitors, win new business, learn grow and innovate at the same time… Surely that can’t be bad. Here’s 3 things in the wacky world of the web and digital marketing that your competitors are missing out on…

1. Bing

Yes Bing, Microsoft’s search engine. Everyone wants to be number 1 in Google, but no one really thinks about it’s little sister: Bing. Bing currently accounts for around 12.5% of searches. And Bing is now the main search provider for Amazon’s echo devices.

digital search engines like google and bing - optimise your business for Bing search in belfast and northern ireland

Also, Bing & Yahoo are the same thing! So anything you do on Bing will also work on Yahoo. Putting the same thought into Bing as you would Google could allow you to capture customers and leads that your competitors are overlooking.

What can you do today? – Create a Bing business listing. (similar to the way you would in Google. And carry out some test searches in Bing to see how you fair out. Ask your web team to help you appear more prominently in Bing. )

2. Instagram

Instagram is fast becoming the world’s #1 social media platform. Many experts believe it will surpass Twitter (currently #2) in the near future and replace Facebook (currently #1) in the years to come. As internet users become more and more visual, the ultimate app for photos and video is where you can really get one up on the competition.

digital and social media marketing - how to make Instagram work for your business belfast

“But Instagram’s not really for me or my business” – I hear you say. Well, good luck with that outlook. So your “customers are older” perhaps? Well- the new ones will be on Instagram. “None of my competitors are on Instagram” – Hello! Then you should really be on there! Clean up where they’ve overlooked!

What can you do today? – Create a business account on Instagram. And start posting! Start of with some office or factory pics. Then perhaps a photo op with a new client. Now add some of those photos from your last award ceremony. Now an info graphic of how your business works. Now take a few photos of your new product line. Now you’re getting it!! And tag your location and add some industry relevant hashtags. You’ll be winning new business from Instagram in no time.

Bonus points – Boost your post to your target audience and showcase your work to thousands of potential clients. Also consider adding and Instagram gallery to your website.

3. Video

Yes, yes, everyone suggests video. And everyone agrees it’s great. But very few of you actually do anything about it. There’s 2 parts to using digital video successfully for your business. a) The video itself (the content, the production) and b) The promotion of sed video. (There’s no point in a great video if no-one sees it!)

digital professional video production with drones, dslrs, professional lenses, professional editing software - and awesome promotional tools - this WILL WIN NEW BUSINESS.

The production – You MUST create a video that people actually want to watch. Not just showcasing your business or products or services. The video must have some good music, a voice over perhaps. Some b-roll and cinematic shots. It should be shot with good lighting and sound. And preferably have a script. i.e. A start, a middle and an end!

“Don’t get us wrong, it doesn’t have to be an winning masterpiece. And there’s nothing wrong with shooting on your phone. (The digital camera and sound tech on a good iPhone in 2019 is pretty awesome in-fact.) But please, think about lighting and sound. “

The promotion – This is the fun part. Once you’ve got a decent video, now post it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. Blow the cobwebs off your wallet and spend a little to showcase your video to everyone that counts. With a cpl pf hundred quid you can showcase your video to 10’s of thousands. Try and get teh same coverage on TV and see what your bill looks like!

What can you do today? – Hire a team to make a corporate video for you. A short 3 minute video about you and your business. Ask them to add it your website and promote on social media to your target audience. Have a good “call o action” at the end of your video.


Want to stick it to your competitors? And really ramp up on digital? Talk to us at Beacon13 about your business. We’ve got great rates on business websites, seo, social media and year round support for our business customers.

Https – What is it? And why is it important.

https-important-beacon13

Google wants it. Firefox complains when it’s not there. So what’s the main advantages of https? Why do i need it? And where do I get it?…

What the hell is it?

HTTPS is a secure version of HyperText Transfer Protocol or HTTP for short. The ‘S’ stands for Secure.

It is a method for ensuring secure communication between a user’s browser and a web server. It is often recognised as showing a green address bar or padlock in the browser window to indicate a secure connection.

In short, it makes your website and transactions on it secure and encrypted.

Why do i need it? 

Chrome, Safari and Firefox are making it very clear to users if your website is secure or not. Having https setup correctly will display a little padlock symbol against your domain name. This, if nothing else – suggests you care about your users and potential customers enough to make their transactions and information secure.

Why would anyone give information over a non secure website? This is 2019. In fact they may just leave the site.

I don’t have an e-commerce store, do I still need it?

Again, Yes is the short answer. It’s not critical but it not only makes transactions safe and secure. It will…

  • Speed up your website
  • Improve your Google positioning
  • Look better to your customers and potential customers.

Google is still putting pressure on websites to improve their security. The search engine giants issued a ‘final warning’ in October 2018, which shows that strengthening the SEO impact of HTTPS is being taken very seriously,and so you should think about making the security switch sooner rather than later.

How much does it cost?

Costs vary depending on your hosting configuration but generally it will cost around £100 per year. And a web team might charge a small fee for configuring it for you.

How can I get it setup?

Your first port of call should be your web team or designer. If you’ve setup the website yourself, then try your domain host. Often setting up https can be a tricky process and then there’s a little work involved in re-submitting your website to search engines when the job’s done.

If you need any help please don’t hesitate to contact us at: www.beacon13.com

A social media strategy with the Loughs Agency.

Loughs agency digital strategy

The Loughs Agency (based in Derry~Londonderry, on the banks of the river Foyle) is a body that supports and governs marine wildlife and leisure activities in and around Lough Foyle and Carlingford Lough.

In 2018 Beacon13 was commissioned to design, deliver and support a new social media strategy for the agency. The agency would be addressing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn & YouTube. 

As with any strategy or plan we had to establish a baseline. (You must know where you’re at before you can plan where you’re going!). We completed a full report on followers, views, subscribers and friends on social media. 

We then set out to establish the state of each profile and roles on the platform. As with many companies & organisations, we often find a number of accounts on each platform. Sometimes used for departments or brands but often unnecessary.  

We went about consolidating various accounts to give the agency one clear voice on social media. All relevant parties were given access and roles as required.

The agency had a re-branding exercise in conjunction with the new social media strategy. So all profiles needed new logos, background images and associated graphics. 

Once we had all of the above in place we worked with the agency to establish how much time and resources they had to commit to social media. We established their short term and long term goals.

Matching up these two things allowed us to create a strategy for posts, comments, replies, video uploads and post content over time. We also created a schedule and plan for sed activities. 

The Loughs Agency is now well underway with their new strategy and meeting real tangible targets as well as reporting effectively to their board on progress.

We’d like to thank the Loughs Agency for their commitment to Beacon13 and we look forward to supporting them in the future.