Updated: May 21
To all of our customers, partners, and other small businesses:
Like many of you, I have been amazed and concerned in recent days as the news about COVID-19 and the associated societal impact continues to spread. I cannot recall any other situation like this in my lifetime. As I write this letter from Seattle, my family is planning for the extended closure of our local school system which began today.
Being based in the Pacific Northwest, our company prides itself on embodying the independent and self-reliant values of our region. As one of the early-emergence zones for COVID-19, Ripl is adapting by adjusting how we operate and work. Following the local health authorities’ guidance — and consistent with the policies of larger local companies like Microsoft — last week we moved to a voluntary “work from home” model until the end of the month. Like millions of other small businesses – like YOU – we are taking things day-by-day and we are doing what we can to help each other and our customers out.
Small businesses all over the world have already started to see COVID-19-related disruptions. In most places, business may slow further or become more uncertain before things stabilize and customers return to their usual buying patterns. At Ripl, we started talking among our team almost immediately about how we could help bring information and support to the businesses starting to feel these effects.
Ripl was originally founded with one simple purpose: To help small businesses succeed in social media marketing. I strongly believe that connecting with customers and building awareness through social media is the most efficient way for most small businesses to win the marketing game.
With that in mind, our whole team at Ripl wants to do everything we can right now to help. Here are the ways we are getting started.
First, we deeply and genuinely care about you.
If you or your business is starting to be impacted by the social and economic effects of COVID-19, we’re on your side. Our Ripl Facebook Group is an open resource for any of you who want to connect with other businesses like yours, seek support and encouragement, or share tips with others about how you are adapting.
Second, we’re here to help you make the best use of marketing and customer communications at this critical time.
We will provide you with resources, ideas, and best practices that will help you stay “top of mind” with your most valuable and loyal customers. Historically, businesses who have stayed closely connected to their customers and have continued to invest in customer relationships have survived (or thrived) during slow times. In the days and weeks ahead, we are going to pull together the best ideas and recommendations we can find for you. Look for these in our blog, social channels, and weekly newsletter. We are also actively discussing speeding up changes to our product which might help small businesses who need to boost their promotional efforts to help offset a slow stretch ahead. Look for more info on that via software and design template updates, along with associated announcements, as we roll them out.
Third, we want to share your stories of perseverance and community support.
This is an opportunity to draw inspiration and strength from one another. Do you have a story about how your business, or your community of customers, is rising to this challenge? Something personal and real that other small business owners like you would find inspiring? Help us to share these stories on our blog and social accounts. You can send these to us at “firstname.lastname@example.org”, or share them with us on social.
Here’s what we’re saying to remind our friends, family, co-workers and colleagues to support small businesses who need help to stay afloat:
Continue to spend your hard-earned money at the small businesses that make your town, and life, great. Buy locally and from small businesses whenever possible.
Most small businesses do not have the deep pockets and shareholders of big companies — so they rely on the phone calls, visits, orders, and foot-traffic of guests and customers every single day.
Think of the local businesses and service providers whom you love — and that you want to be a part of your life and your families’ lives for many years to come. Please continue to support them — especially now and in the days ahead.
You can continue to engage and support small businesses while practicing safe health practices. (Stay home if you’re sick, wash your hands, and follow your regional health guidelines.)
Post recommendations for those that you value on social media. Raise awareness about the valuable products and services they provide!
Let those businesses know by email, social or phone calls that you appreciate them and that you will continue to support them during these weeks and beyond. Your encouragement and online posts of support will really help.
Thank you for listening. Ripl stands with small businesses. Ripl stands with you, now more than ever.
CEO at Ripl, Inc.