We speak to local businesses all day everyday. And while COVID-19 has impacted them all in different ways, the one difficulty they have in common is finding new ways to make their resources go further. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of seventeen free tools to help you and your local business overcome the challenges posed by COVID-19.
Whether it’s maintaining a connection with customers remotely, working efficiently outside the office, or just staying sane, you’ll find resources for staying in the game and keeping yourself and your business sharp.
Need to show your products without opening your doors?
With foot traffic at an all time low and web traffic on the rise, finding ways to do business digitally has never been more important. That’s why Podium is offering a package of our basic messaging tools for free for the first time with Podium Starter. You can use the 750 free text messages in Starter to easily send product images, videos, and links. Through text, you can facilitate effective, interactive, and visually-reliant shopping experiences for your customers—even when you can’t open your doors.
Need help meeting remotely?
With mass cancellation of business events and travel, finding ways to effectively meet online has become crucial. That’s why GoToMeeting is offering free emergency remote work kits—including solutions for meetings and video conferencing, webinars and virtual events, IT support and management of remote employee devices and apps—for health care providers, educational institutions, municipalities, and non-profit organizations.
Need help with social media tools?
Buffer has designated $500,000 toward empowering local businesses. They are currenting gifting their essential product features, (which solve a variety of social media jobs), with their basic subscription free for three months. And if you need extra features, you can upgrade to any plan free for the next ninety days. You can also gift subscriptions to other businesses and get your subscription payments temporarily waived.
Need a hand effectively answering customer questions?
YEXT is offering their Yext Answers feature free for ninety days. Using this feature, you can transform your website into a powerful search engine and get insight into what questions people are asking and what answers your website is providing, or not providing, to those questions. Now more than ever, your customers likely have important questions. And with YEXT Answers, you can quickly find out whether your website is answering them with accurate, up-to-date information.
Need a way to get customers from your spike in online traffic?
Podium Starter also includes access to our live chat feature, webchat, for free. Using this customizable communication feature, you can deliver quality leads that convert at a rate of 8% on average. And the best part? Because webchat can switch seamlessly between computer and mobile interfaces, your customers can start and stop conversations at any time and not be tied to their desktops.
Need help making your website COVID-aware?
Smartsheet is offering free templates businesses can use to build their own coronavirus preparedness dashboard, with CDC documentation and related sheets/forms. Using the Coronavirus Preparedness template set, you can easily communicate guidance around COVID-19 to your customers, keep your employees up to date, and survey those who may pose a risk.
Need a hand managing your social media accounts?
Hootsuite is providing free access to their professional plan in efforts to help local businesses stay connected to customers and audiences. Businesses in affected industries (namely restaurants, hotels, event venues, performing arts, etc.) can use this professional version of Hootsuite’s social media management software free until July 1st, 2020. You’ll also have access to the Hootsuite Training Videos library to help you create effective content and manage crisis communications.
Need a way to protect your privacy while working remotely?
Okta is offering Okta Single Sign-On (SSO) and Okta Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) free for 5 apps for all your users. You can also add another layer of security with Okta Verify OTP, a lightweight, mobile authenticator for secure MFA. Leveraging the Okta Identity Cloud for remote work will help you to protect the information of your employees and company while doing business outside the office.
Need help collaborating with your team outside the office?
CloudApp is offering free access to their basic platform, along with free access to their pro package for educators. Using CloudApp’s instant video and image sharing platform, you can quickly capture and embed video, webcam, GIFs, screencasts, and marked up images throughout your business workflows to maintain quality and efficiency in your meetings, products, and projects. You can easily share your work with others, making collaboration effective, even when working remotely.
Need help getting a read on customers and employees?
Qualtrics has made their “pulse” resources available to everyone, featuring the remote work pulse. This survey program allows you to evaluate metrics like whether your business is prepared for a remote workforce and whether your employees have what they need to succeed in the transition. Other free products include the Customer Confidence Pulse, Supply Continuity Pulse, and Customer Care and Employee Engagement programs.
Need templates to communicate COVID material?
Lucidpress is offering free coronavirus templates and resources, with templates for “stay healthy” social media posts, pandemic response flyers, crisis communications, delivery and curbside pickup posters, and healthcare postcards. With these templates, you can easily keep your customers updated and protected.
Need to level up your digital marketing skills?
If you’re looking to take advantage of the extra time COVID-19 has provided to up your skills, Moz is the way to go. Moz is offering over a dozen on-demand courses to help you level up your digital marketing skills during the Coronavirus crisis. You can go to the MOZ Academy link, log in or sign up, and use the code “wegotthis” at checkout to get the courses for free.
Need to collect payments without contact?
Podium is offering a free, contactless way to collect payments as part of our Podium Starter package. Using Podium Payments, you can instantly connect with every customer in the most convenient and engaging way—2-way SMS text messages—to complete the transaction and get paid faster. As in minutes. Within five minutes of setting up Podium Starter, one of our customers sent and collected a $3,500 payment.
Need help applying for your SBA loan?
Lendio is offering free resources to quickly connect you to an SBA Paycheck Protection Program loan. Using their application tools, you can easily and conveniently apply for a loan and be matched with an SBA lender to support your business.
Need assistance keeping your records straight?
Bench Accounting is offering great resources to help you with everything from loans and finances to preparing for the second wave of funding. You can receive free accounting for a month and access Bench Accounting’s small business COVID-19 resource hub, a free library stocked with financial game plans for small businesses and more.
Need a way to stay fit at home?
We all need a way to pump up for a day on the computer or wind down after 5 successive zoom calls. To that end, Peloton is offering three months of free access to their Peloton App. You can stream any class, including yoga, meditation, strength, cycling, running, and more from the comfort of your own home.
Need something to keep you sane?
Calm is offering free access to their app for businesses, allowing your employees to build a happier, healthier, and more resilient workforce. Consistent use of this app can help you and your employees sleep better, reduce stress, build resilience, increase focus and creativity, and relax body and mind, leading to greater overall wellness and team cooperation as we weather the storm.
Challenges are plentiful, but so are resources. And now is a pivotal moment to learn what resources will not only empower your business to move forward in the face of current difficulties, but also give you the edge you will need in the future. As we rally during these hard times and take advantage of the help that is available, we will get through this together.
Podium Starter is Podium’s basic suite of messaging tools that is empowering local businesses across the country during this challenging time.To learn more, check out our Messaging for Everyone campaign and sign up to be among the first to see what Podium Starter can do for your business.