As we follow the COVID-19 roadmap out of lockdown, businesses will be scrambling around reassessing contingency plans. On top of that, you’ll be eagerly anticipating getting your customers back and hopefully attracting new ones! Whilst you focus on the physicality of your business when preparing (making sure it’s COVID-secure), it’s time to look at how your online presence can help your business post-lockdown.
How local SEO can help your business post-lockdown
What on earth is local SEO you ask? You’re probably too busy managing a venue, writing up chalkboards and drafting leaflets to know. Yet, you’re missing out on easy opportunities, increased local rankings on Google, making an amazing first impression and enticing people in online.
Most of the population are on mobile, that means your customers. And when they search for nearby businesses, it’s all about getting your business at the front for local dominance. That’s where local SEO can help!
Your online profile on Google also acts as your digital shop window and ‘chalkboard’ to show off your updates, promotions and specials – whether it’s a blog post, offer or event. So, let’s start with that, your GMB listing (Google My Business listing), as there’s so much you can do!
For instance, did you know about the new ‘chat’ feature on the Google My Business local panel?
Google is testing out the word ‘chat’ over their previous ‘message’ in efforts to be more inviting to searchers it seems. Here, you can be more accessible to potential customers and searchers. Which has us thinking, how can our local presence help us overall get back to business coming out of a lockdown?
Dust off the cobwebs from your Google My Business listing
An easy place to start is reviewing your Google My Business (GMB) to see what you’re not taking advantage of. Here’s a few things that GMB can do for you:
- Show trusted reviews instantly with a star rating and comments
- Integrate with Google Maps to put your business in front of local searchers, this especially works well for mobile users
- Allow searchers to view their last visit to track their interactivity with local businesses
- Give a brief outline of key information, like the business type, opening hours, contact info and appointment link
- Show a gallery of photos associated with your business
- Use video to tell a story of your business to add to your GMB listing
- Your GMB offers Google Virtual Tours so you can share a 360 interactive experience
- Allow searchers to suggest edits to help your business profile
- You can showcase your products with visuals and prices
- There is a Q&A section that you can display with relevant questions and answers from the owner or staff
- You can write a concise bio for your business, its location, USP and offering
- Now, you can also do posts on Google – think of this as a digital chalkboard to your digital window shoppers, you can post updates here before they’ve even ‘stepped foot into your shop’ to entice and show authority
- There’s a section for your social media profiles so people can jump to your other platforms
All up to scratch? Now you can plan in time to improve your GMB profile. Just remember for the ‘chat’ feature, that if you’re going to allow this, you need to respond within 24 hours, otherwise you may have your messages turned off.
Now your GMB profile is updated, you need to focus on being active and engaging, especially when more people are doing their browsing online and from mobiles. The tweaks you do to your local GMB panel could be what pushes your potential customer over the line to visiting your site and converting.
Build up your local SEO
It’s no doubt that so many businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic and in-and-out-of lockdowns. That’s why it’s even more important to build your local connections, not only for your community and networking, but for your SEO. Yes, that’s right, connecting with your local florist, baker – you name it – can even help your digital marketing.
Google wants to see you make your mark in the local community, and one of the best ways to do this is through local links and mentions. The more local presence you have, in terms of having your brand name and website link on other sites, the more you’ll get noticed by Google and be upping your local ranking chances. And what’s great about the local SEO strategy is that it’s not about getting links from sites with AMAZING domain authority or global recognition (that’s more for your overall SEO and PR strategies), it’s simply about getting on local sites.
So, if you can build rapport with your local businesses, even those on your street, you can potentially build local links through a variety of ways. Whether it’s a little chat about how you could help each other’s local SEO or if there’s a nearby event you’re all taking part in or sponsoring, you can get those links in. Maybe you can sponsor a future, local music event – there’s a link and band mention opportunity right there! Or, you could have some insight to share on another local business’s blog, and they can refer back to you.
Use PR to elevate your brand again
With people excited to get out and about more and the COVID-19 roadmap allowing non-essential shops, salons, hairdressers, and outdoor hospitality venues to reopen from 12 April, now’s a great time for some PR.
Maybe you’ve been working on a brand new product, sandwich, drink or hair dye collection – whatever it is – with a dedicated digital PR team behind you, you can get creative campaigns out into the world to excite and entice.
Keep your business social
You’ve probably already been maintaining your social media presence, especially when we’re all staying home more. But, have you been using it strategically? It’s time to get serious about social media for your business. More eyes are on social media, so that means more potential customers and more opportunities to get your brand seen. A business on social media shouldn’t just be about selling either; a good ratio of selling to non-selling content is about 20:80.
Whatever your brand or tone of voice, you should be adding value to your audiences and to social media in order to gain more followers and sales. It’s also a fantastic platform for your PR and content marketing campaigns, as well as a way to keep your customers up to date on all that’s going on.
For a chat about digital marketing strategies and what would suit your business, contact our friendly and experienced team today!
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