MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR DIGITAL PRESENCE
With lockdown meaning that many businesses in Bath are currently closed, there has never been a better time for a digital audit of your business. We have put together a guide to help you ensure your online presence is up to scratch. If you would like to improve your digital marketing skills, Google Digital Garage offers a free Fundamentals of Digital Marketing course.
Now is a great opportunity to audit your website and ensure it is easy to find and navigate around. There are lots of things you can do to improve the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and user experience of your website:
- Check that all the information on your website is correct and up to date.
- Check that the structure of your website is logical. A great way to check whether your website is easy to navigate around is with the help of willing friends and family members. Ask them to find certain details on your website and offer advice to help you ensure your website structure is clear.
- Check that the copy on your website is concise, and that the same copy isn’t replicated in different places. This will help to improve your website’s rank on search engines.
- Check that all the links on your website are working. You can check for broken links on your website here.
- Make sure you have your most up-to-date photography on your website. Big, bright photographs are a great way of showcasing your business and ensuring it stands out. To help improve the accessibility of your website, as well as its SEO, make sure all of your photographs have Alternative Text, a Title, Caption and Description. You can also improve your website’s SEO by ensuring images aren’t too large and, therefore, slowing down your website’s load time. You can check the speed of the pages on your website here.
- A blog is a great way to produce more unique content, and in doing so, improve your website’s SEO. By publishing regular blog posts which offer expertise in your field and the city of Bath, you will help people to find your business when they search the internet for related terms. If you would like to find out more about blogging and how a blog can support your marketing efforts, tune into Cool Ventures’ Introduction to Blogging webinar on 11th March.
- If you want to learn more about Search Engine Optimisation, Google Digital Garage offers a free course on becoming searchable online.
Even if your business is currently closed, there is still a lot of value to be had from social media.
Now is a great time to audit your social channels to ensure they represent your brand to its very best, and help channel customers towards your website:
- Check that your profile picture is consistent across all social media channels. If you are using your logo, check that there is enough padding (blank space) around it, so it looks nice and tidy in situ.
- Try searching for your business name on each of the social media channels you use to ensure your account shows in the search results. If it doesn’t, make sure your business name is correct.
- Check that, where possible, your handle is consistent across all channels.
- Check that each of your social media channels includes a working link to your website.
- Check that each of your social media channels’ descriptions have a concise and up-to-date description of your business and the services that you offer.
- If you have social media channels that you no longer use, make sure they clearly signpost ways to find out more about your business, and channels that are offering regular updates.
Continuing your activity on social media, even if your business is still closed, is a great way to ensure you are at the front of people’s minds when you reopen. Just one or two posts a week are enough to show that you are still there and excited to welcome back customers when it is possible. You could tell your customers that you’re looking forward to reopening, share projects you are working on behind-the-scenes, and post memories of better times.
If you have some free time on your hands, you can gen up on social media trends and learn more about how to improve your social media activity by attending the following webinars:
- Maybe* are currently running free weekly webinars on creating a winning social media strategy for lockdown. This webinar helps all businesses understand how social media is being used to reach more customers and sell. The content is updated every week with the latest data from Maybe* and provides exclusive insight, expert opinion and up-to-date case studies to help you drive your business forward on social media.
- Cool Ventures are running the following free webinars:
- On 25th February, VisitEngland and Google Digital Garage are holding a webinar on writing for social media.
Google My Business and Google Maps
Another great way to help people find your business is with a Google My Business and Google Maps listing.
If you already have these set up, you can search for your business name on Google to check that all of the information is correct and alter it if it isn’t.
If you haven’t already set these up, you can create a Google My Business listing online or via the app (which you can download via your app store).
Once you have created and verified your listing, it is important to keep your details up to date. Details that are important to include are:
- Opening hours
- Address of location (if a physical premises)
- Website link
- Description of business
- Up-to-date photography
- A clear street view photograph (if a physical premises)
- Menu (if a restaurant or takeaway)
You should treat your Google listing like a social media account, making sure that it is always fresh and up to date. If your opening hours have changed due to COVID-19, there is a separate dashboard where you can upload temporary working hours. You can also list if you are doing click and collect, delivery etc.
A complete listing on Google helps customers engage with you more effectively. Customers are more likely to consider you as a reputable business, and a listing will lead to more website visits, and in turn, you will increase the likelihood of in-person visits and purchases.
Once you have created your listing, you can then start looking into your insights and start gauging the impact it is having and work out what is working and what might need improving. Find out more about Google My Business Insights here.
Some tips for making your listing stand out:
- Include key information – make sure this is up to date and is an accurate reflection of your business.
- Gain customer reviews – you can make this easy by providing a QR code at your premises, having a page on your website where customers can leave a review, or even simply asking them after they have made a purchase.
- Utilise posts and photos – keep your photos fresh and regularly update any offers or events.
- Leverage insights – use your insights to set out targets and make changes where necessary.
If you would like more information and advice on Google My Business and Google Maps listings, Google offer free one-to-one mentoring sessions.
E-newsletters are an effective way to reach out to customers. While social media posts won’t always reach your audience, even those who follow you, an e-newsletter will go straight into their inbox.
If you currently have an e-newsletter database, now is a great time to email your customers to tell them how much you’re missing them. You could also take the opportunity to remind everybody that they can opt out of your e-newsletter list if they wish, to ensure you are keeping on top of the GDPR requirements. You could also revamp the design of your e-newsletter to ensure it stands out and has a similar look and feel to your website and social media channels.
If you don’t yet communicate with your customers via e-newsletter, you might like to look at setting this up. Mailchimp is an intuitive and easily customisable e-comms system, offering an easy and GDPR-compliant way to speak to your audience. You can easily add a signup form to your website and social channels to begin building your database.