What You Can Do Now and Plan for the Future
The importance of a great digital marketing presence is more important now than ever. With businesses of all sizes relying on customers to be found well online and being able to provide information and a great experience throughout the sales cycle is critical to sustain being in business.
Let us take a closer look into the various channels that consumers use to find or interact with their brands and local businesses, and why they are important.
Simply having a website is just not enough these days. People expect they can find information they need in a professional manner with current best practices in place. Its important to re-evaluate how your doing business now and what changes you need to make, especially during these times. A website is the same as walking into your business location so making sure your website is providing the right information is critical to helping your current and future customers do business with you.
A few questions to consider:
- Do I need to adjust my current website to have the ability to order online?
- Do I need an e-commerce website?
- Do I need to adjust my online presence to have shipping my products available?
- For service-based businesses, do I need to incorporate virtual appointment booking functionality?
- What technology or software should be incorporated?
- Is my current website speed good enough?
- Is my website completely mobile friendly?
- How are people using my website, how do I want them to use my website?
These questions are just a few questions to consider when evaluating your current and future website presence. Once you create a list of your must haves for your target audience and customers, its easier to map out the changes that need to be incorporated.
During a downturn, implement messaging on how your business has changed. Make it easy for your website visitors to understand how they can do business with you.
Create a website for your customers not for your company. It is extremely easy to get sidetracked into what you may think the customer needs or how you believe they will use your website. Many companies get stuck on industry lingo and are sometimes blind to creating a web presence for a “user first” approach. Try to work with someone who is well versed in in digital marketing, such as a digital marketing consultant to guide you through all best practices.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Now more than ever, SEO is especially important. Planning for now and the future is imperative to your overall online footprint. As many people know, Search Engine Optimization is the process that helps web-pages rank higher in the unpaid, natural results on search engines. For those of you that are not familiar with SEO, search engines have over 200 ranking factors and quality guidelines. These factors are always changing and adjusting over time, therefore consider hiring a professional to implement these best practices. Especially during a downturn, now is a great time to get started on an SEO program as a well executed SEO program takes time to achieve results.
The value of SEO and receiving great rankings is incredibly valuable. There is a big difference appearing well in the unpaid (natural, organic etc.) portion of the search engine results pages as to the paid portion known as Google Ads. Longevity of appearing in those positions, higher click through rate from paid results, there are so many benefits to list but ultimately customers can find you for your products and services.
Here are some great questions to ask before moving forward with an SEO program:
- What products and services are most important to my business to promote?
- How are my customers finding me?
- What are the least important products and services to my business?
- Do you have a specific niche?
- Do I want to market outside my city, province, or country?
- Who do you view as your main competitors?
There are many questions to also review with your SEO Consultant as far as overall strategy and specifics into your business.
Google My Business
Google My Business is a critical aspect to being found well for any sized local business, whether you have one location or several locations. Small and medium businesses finally have the ability compete with large companies.
This platform is also critical during COVID-19 and any kind of downturn. It allows you to provide valuable information to your customers, whether you are open, closed, limited hours or critical business, offering curb side pick up or delivery the options are endless to communicate vital information that customers need.
Another under utilized part of GMB platform is using posts within the platform.
I recommend providing as much information to your customers for current and future sales. This can have a great effect on your brand. If business owners are not helping their customers with the questions they have, they will move onto the competition.
This is a great time to engage in your audience on social media channels, start a conversation and amplify your messages and communications to a larger audience.
During a downturn or a pandemic, users need information also regarding re-opening messaging, cleanliness within the store locations or practices for service-based companies that they will be implementing to protect staff and customers.
Its not just about posting about sales related posts, but educational information. Add value.
Facebook has released a Facebook Ads COVID-19 credit to existing Facebook ads users. There is some criteria behind it all and you can check it out here.
As many marketers talk about content, content is king online and offline. And it is. There are various ways to communicate all types of communications on how your business has changed in greater detail with dedicated web pages on your website for any announcements for company updates, sales, business model updates. Also, if your business model has changed, rewriting the web-pages, and re-organizing your content is essential.
Blog posts are a great way to update your audience and amplify that content across social media channels.
Be very thoughtful about your content and how can your content maximize the overall presence.
These are just a few examples in my opinion of how to leverage the web, position your business for long term benefit and things you can do right now for the future.