Traditional brick-and-mortar stores across the country are feeling the impact of little to no foot traffic, temporarily closing their doors as people everywhere follow the CDC’s guidelines and recommendations on social distancing. During these unprecedented times, these small businesses should focus on expanding their online presence.
Unease over the virus will have an impact on online behaviors. According to data gathered from Microsoft Advertising, desktop search is on the rise because more people are working from home. Rik van der Kooi, Microsoft Advertising’s corporate vice president, commented that PC search is the device of choice, so if you’ve noticed an increase in desktop impressions and/or click shares over the past month, you are not alone.
Shift your focus to online sales, attract new customers and keep the revenue flowing!
Optimize Your Website
Because your existing and potential customers will be interacting with your website more often than before, it is important to ensure your website and dedicated landing pages are not only attractive but responsive as well. Simple navigation, high-quality imagery, and a seamless check-out process will keep users engaged throughout the purchasing journey.
Take this time to update your website, improve the server, create new landing pages, check inventory, get your products online using ecommerce tools such as Google Merchant Center, Shopify, WooCommerce, and more.
While many businesses have chosen to pause their marketing campaigns, now is the time to stand out, connect with your audience and penetrate new markets. And because many businesses have kept their PPC Marketing activities on hold, there is a possibility that you might benefit from a lower CPC on Google Ads and Facebook.
As strict social distancing measures remain in place, your audience will be looking for local services and supplies to limit their time outside of the home in public places. Many are looking for nearby destinations for stocking up on essential items, so making sure your local SEO is set in place is crucial for appearing in “near me” searches.
If you are focusing on SEO and PPC campaigns, make sure to keep up with what’s currently trending. As an example, the CDC has recommended wearing cloth face masks to slow down the spread of the virus so many people have been searching for masks. So if you’re a crafts store selling fabric or a clothing retailer looking to pivot your efforts and do good during the pandemic, it will benefit you to run an SEM campaign highlighting the products or services you can provide.
Boost Growth Using Google My Business
If you’re already on Google My Business, now is the time to update information on your profile to reflect any changes brought upon by coronavirus. This includes updating your hours of operation, closures, take-out menus, and other relevant information pertaining to your industry. Your Google My Business account should be a one-stop-shop for your customers, with curated Posts featuring news, events, offers, and products, and offering a place for your customers to place orders on food or pay for products or services. If you haven’t explored all that Google My Business has to offer, what are you waiting for?
Set Up Your Virtual Storefront
In late March, Facebook reported a dramatic increase in the usage of its apps, particularly in areas most affected by the virus, such as Italy. Data showed that users in Italy increased their time by up to 70 percent on Facebook apps, including Instagram. With more users spending time scrolling on social media, now is the time to revamp your Facebook Page and set up your Instagram Shopping virtual storefront. Instagram Shopping allows your business to feature products through organic posts and Stories. When the user taps a product tag on your post or story, they will be taken to a product page where they can view more information on the product, as well as purchase it.
As we recently mentioned, it is also in your best interest to be as responsive as possible on social media. Interacting with your customers is one of the easiest and best ways to build loyalty. These days, your customers expect that your business hours and operations might change, such as estimated shipping timeframes, and will be looking for updates from you. Some might look at your website for information, but many will first head to your social media profiles for updates.
Growing your online presence might seem like a daunting task these days, but with the right tools (and the right people ?), optimizing your small business for desktop and mobile search can make the difference between closing your doors or keeping revenue flowing.