Digital Marketing Tips for Lockdown
Covid-19 has probably turned your world upside down.
The only thing you can really do is prepare for when business is open again as usual. So we thought we’d share our knowledge to help you increase awareness of your business and traffic to your website.
We’ve tried to keep it short, concise and straight-forward – while also being as helpful as possible.
So here goes – nine simple, actionable points that will help make a difference to your business online…
1. Get Your Google MyBusiness in Order
If you haven’t verified and claimed your Google MyBusiness listing, stop reading this and go away and do so right now. (It’s the biggest free opportunity for your business to be seen in search engines for hyper-relevant local searches.)
If you have got access to your Google MyBusiness listing:
a) Mark your business as temporarily closed – rather than closing it completely (might look like you’ve gone out of business) or leaving it open (might look like you’re being a bit irresponsible). There’s more information here: Support.google.com/business/.
b) Add a quick Google MyBusiness post explaining the specifics regarding your current situation. (You can also add a link to follow-up information on your site if that’s available.)
c) Take an hour or so to do a mini-Google MyBusiness audit. Make sure your category is right – on the accommodation front, for example, ‘boutique hotel’, ‘bed & breakfast’, ‘holiday home’ and ‘Tour Operator’ are all available; that the address EXACTLY matches how it’s written on your website; and that ALL other relevant information is present and correct – from opening hours to images and a (unique) business description.
2. Onsite SEO
Now is also a good time to have a look at another core SEO element: your title tags. You don’t need to be an SEO expert to make a small difference here.
Start with your homepage. The rule of thumb here is: begin with the name of your business and then, in 50-60 characters, append it to 1. the type of business you are (a B&B, say) and 2. your location.
If there’s space within that character count, think about adding a qualifying adjective. So it’d end up something like, as an example: ‘Paul’s Place: A Stylish Boutique B&B in Competa’.
(How you edit this information depends on your site – and the combination of CMS and plugins that controls it. If you’re not sure how to do so, please just drop us a line and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.)
As a related SEO bonus: have a look at your homepage copy. It’s a really good idea to try to include the key information that you’ve added to your title tag.
Once you’ve finished your homepage carry on with every other page of your site, describing what the specific page is about.
3. Keep Active on Social
From Instagram and Facebook to Pinterest and YouTube or anywhere else you might’ve been active before, it’s more important than ever right now to keep your social accounts ticking over.
(There are a couple of excellent reasons as to why: you don’t want your followers to forget about you, or worse still think you’ve shut up shop and gone out of business(!); also, a lot of big businesses are spending less right now on paid social advertising at a time when more people are spending more time than ever on social. Which equals an opportunity to get into people’s feeds.)
Try to strike the right balance between the below points:
a) Share your world. Many (most, probably) of your social media followers will be former customers. Reminding them of special spots or moments that they’ll have enjoyed in and around your business will help to trigger happy memories that they may want to relive.
b) Let the human faces behind your business come through. More than ever right now, people want to support small, owner-run businesses. Gently remind your followers that you’re not some faceless corporation – and that a booking at your business helps keep it, and the people behind it, afloat to enjoy for years to come.
c) Be sympathetic. A lot of people are struggling financially right now. So be careful that you don’t make b) and c) (above) seem just a little too perfect – or post too regularly – at a difficult time.
Two important general tips when it comes to social media: don’t spread yourself too thinly – better to excel at one or two platforms than be struggling for engagement across several. And secondly, nurture your social media audience, treat them well, no one wants to be be sold to all the time – give more than take.
4. Send Out an Email Newsletter (or two)
In a continuation of the central ‘don’t stop talking to your customers’ thread running throughout these top-line tips, we’d recommend that you prepare at least two email newsletters.
One of these should be for right now – if you haven’t done so already, to let your mailing list of past customers know that you’re still here, and to gently remind them that you should be their first port of call when this is all over.
Mailchimp.com is a simple email marketing aid for small businesses.
5. Website Performance
Healthy site = happy Google, happy users and better results.
We all want our businesses to be found when customers put into Google something that’s related to the service or goods we offer.
There are many factors that make a website rank poorly in Google. A website needs to be updated and monitored. As part of your digital marketing housework you could check your sites health according to search engines. Use these free tools:
It’s best practice to use more than one site performance tool to gain a more accurate view of the health of your site. Put your website’s URL into each of the above to get a sense of how it performs.
There’s a lot of information given by these tools, and if you do get poor results then hand the results over to a professional developer to work through.
One easy win that most people can do themselves is to reduce the page weight of a page – and the main way of doing that is to reduce the size/weight of your images.
If, from the tools above you’ve found you have a very heavy page weight then look at your images and size them down. There’s no reason an image should be bigger than 1500 x 800 pixels – this should be the absolute maximum, the majority of your images should be much smaller. Ideally each image should be the exact size of the space (container) allotted to it.
A free and easy to use image sizing tool is: Birme.net.
6. Create Content
When we say content we mean written word (like blogs or onsite copy), images or videos. Ask yourself three questions when creating content – if you answer no to any of these, don’t waste your time:
- It is useful to the reader?
- Is it answering a reader’s need?
- Is it better than anything else that’s already online?
Create content that’s ‘one step removed’ from your business’s core offering – i.e. If you’re a B&B/Tour guide/Estate agent write guides about what to do in the area. If you already have blog posts on your site, revisit them and improve them.
- Push a sales agenda
- Write rambling, essay-type articles – do use headers and short paragraphs (informative and easily digestible)
- Duplicate any content from other websites (Google will just ignore your page if it’s copied from another source)
The more you update your website, social media channels and partner sites the more often Google will visit your site and rank it, your community will engage and your reach to new customers will improve.
7. Making Your Website Work Harder
Assuming that points 1 to 6 are being put into practice let’s take the next step.
Find out how much traffic you have, how people enter your site and what’s working for you.
This free tool – Search.google.com/search-console/ gives you important insight into your traffic, top performing pages, top sites that link to you, how people enter your site, among other things. This information will help you improve the pages that aren’t performing well (see point 6) and get more out of those that are driving traffic.
To get even further results you can use Analytics.google.com/. The tracking code for Google Analytics would usually be added when your website was built; if not, it’s a very quick job for your developer to implement.
8. Monitor Developments & Move Fast
This point probably goes without saying. As soon as people can move around and shop/book again, they will be doing so. Which means you need to be ready to act very quickly.
Keep an eye on search trends: – https://trends.google.com/trends/ (this is also a useful tool when planning your annual marketing output).
Look ahead to a point in the future when you think lockdown/travel restrictions are going to be lifted. Then prepare a marketing plan for all of your marketing channels.
Start scheduling while you’re in hibernation (see point 9 below). A couple of key areas:
a) Newsletter: offering your mailing list a really strong reason (like a post-COVID special) to book direct at that point.
b) Social. If you haven’t already, you might want to consider putting a little bit of budget aside to pay to reach your fans – and even other people like them – when the restrictions are lifted and people start to get out and shop again.
c) Partner sites: make sure your rates/availability and any offers you might have are ready to quickly roll out. The speed with which you do so could make all the difference.
While there’s downtime, why not plan your social media output in advance? If you don’t use scheduling tools to help you, check out these free options: – (Later.com, Hootsuite.com, Followerwonk.com and for newsletters Mailchimp.com.)
While we’re talking a little bit about social media, there are some important points to take onboard.
Firstly, treat each social platform differently: you can use the same image across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, but the messaging/format should be different on each platform to follow best practice – and generate the most engagement.
For example: Facebook tests have shown engagement increases in posts with 40-80 characters and one hashtag. As soon as you increase the character count or hashtags, reach drops off.
Instagram, on the other hand, is showing a definite move towards much longer explanations to images/videos. Optimal hashtags are from 0-15 depending on your industry.
We see businesses using hashtags incorrectly all the time.
A very quick guide to hashtagging:
Less is more – don’t hashtags for the sake of it (you’re more likely to put people off than attract new followers)
Monitor trending hashtags and use them
Create a brand/campaign hashtag that people can engage with
Ensure the hashtags are specifically related to the image/video
Don’t use the same hashtags for all posts.
Scheduling Helps with Analysis
Always test and analyse your social output from hashtags, time of posting, number of posts, type of post and length of post. Just because something worked for you last year, doesn’t mean it will still work now. Amend your social output to reflect changes in audience and algorithm. Social media platforms are updating their algorithms as much as Google is.
So, to wrap up: you may have none or some of the above in place but if you apply these tips well (especially around the health of your site and content) your site’s rankings and therefore traffic will improve in the next 3-8mths. Onwards and upwards – improve, analyse, amend, grow.
A bit about us…
We’re Phillipa Sudron and Ben Cooper. Aside from Mi Velez-Malaga, we have a digital marketing agency based out of Velez-Malaga, that’s in its 10th year of trading.
With more than 25 years of digital marketing experience between us we’re lucky enough to work with businesses we really believe in. The majority of our clients are based in London with a few in New York.
If you have any questions regarding any of the above, we’re happy to help for free, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂