As our country begins to re-open, an effective digital marketing strategy not only helps your business survive but thrive as many competitors continue to struggle with the challenge. Customers already understand and expect your business will be operating differently. However, they still expect clear, concise communications that set expectations.
The main goals of a successful re-opening digital marketing strategy should be to build consumer confidence through clear communications that set and manage expectations related to your business operations. Best customer communications practices include:
- Use multiple communication channels to ensure your message is widely received and reinforced.
- Create and share a FAQ document to address the most common questions regarding your health and safety practices and other important changes to your daily operations.
- Be prepared to listen and respond to customer comments and inquiries quickly.
Develop a reopening digital marketing strategy that addresses each of your online channels such as your website, your social media, online advertising, and your Google My Business profile(s).
Our AIS Media digital marketing team created a re-opening plan you can use for your business to help current and future customers know when and how to come knocking at your door.
Step 1: Optimize Your Google My Business Profile
Over 5 billion search queries are performed daily on Google search. Google specifically built its Google My Business platform to help local businesses attract customers. A properly optimized Google My Business profile is proven to help achieve a top Google search rankings and directly attract customers. Therefore, optimizing and maintaining your Google My Business profile should be pivotal part of your re-opening strategy.
Prioritize Your Hours of Operation
You have a lot to lose when your Google My Business hours are not up to date. Your ‘Closed’ sign might as well still be flipped on your marquee.
To handle the mass demand for flexibility from local businesses, Google responded by allowing Google My Business owners to add special hours and temporary closings. Now, as you reopen, it is critical your open hours are kept accurate because your customers will certainly use this information to guide their buying decisions before leaving their homes.
Here are a few options you have to keep your availability accurate with Google My Business:
- Input your standard service hours.
- Create special hours set in advance such as holidays, special events, and other exceptional circumstances.
- Add a store reopening date ahead of time.
- If you operate a restaurant, Google offers additional features to include in your service options including dine-in, takeout, curbside pickup, and contactless delivery.
Use Google Posts to Keep Customers Up to Date on Your Status
Within the last year, Google has additionally invested resources into a secondary function of Google My Business, called Google Posts. Posts allow you to give your customers updates directly through Google searches, accompanied by copy and a visual (image or video).
During your reopening, Google Posts is an effective way to make announcements to your customers, such as updates to your products and/or services, and provide precautionary health measures your business adopted to keep your customers safe.
An informative Google Post on the status of your business reassures customers that the information they’re receiving is current and relevant. Here are a few brief guidelines to follow when posting:
- Aim to increase awareness and draw user’s attention to updates.
- Utilize the limited character usage of a maximum of 300 words.
- Use the call to action button, such as: “Learn More” to link to helpful resources
Provide Additional Google My Business Links and Information
In order to receive the most out of your Google My Business, there are a variety of links that provide alternative ways to assist customers. Here are some of the most useful links and information to include:
- Short Name link: A profile short name is a shorter URL conveniently distributed to customers in order to make it easier to locate your business on Google, learn more about your business, and leave reviews.
- Appointment/Reservation link: Making sure you have these links working correctly allows customers to easily take action directly from Google Search or Maps.
- Service Information: Stay laser-focused on what defines your business. As you reopen, check your primary and additional service categories to ensure you’re listed for all products and services you have on Google. This helps your business appear fully reopened.
Update Product Inventory Based on Shifting Supply and Demand
Take a look at what searchers are looking for now more than ever and see how you can offer a solution to their problems. Google My Business lets you update your most relevant products to help drive traffic to your site as you reopen.
This feature provides a way to showcase your product collections with images, details, and pricing and even allows customers to easily shop online without leaving their home, which is more important now than ever before.
Product links on Google My Business are a smart way to help customers:
- Let customers learn more about your products by displaying pertinent details about the product.
- Order your products conveniently online.
- Promote your special rates and discount offers.
To add a product:
1) Click the products tab on the left, then select “add product”.
2) Give the product category a name. Ex: (Immune support).
3) For each product, add an image, product name, and an option to set a price and description.
Step 2: Update Your Website in Key Places
After seeing your Google My Business page and your recent Google Posts, your customers should have the confidence that your website has the same information to match. On your website, you can offer expanded content pinpointing specific operational shifts your customers may expect.
Tip: Check your Google Analytics to see what pages have been getting the most traffic. Based on this report, create a prioritized plan of content to update based on what’s most visible. Simply updating your hours on your homepage may not cover all of the pages your customers see, including your About page and Contact page.
For critical operational updates or promotional offers, consider adding copy where it’s most likely to be seen. Review heatmap or clickmap data to determine what sections of your website maximize exposure of your message. Consider adding a pop-up message to capture attention and eliminate confusion. It may mean the difference between more revenue or less.
Take this company’s pop-up notification for example:
Finally, if you have specific and developing information about your business, whether this is health and safety-related or new reopening guidelines, an important digital marketing strategy tip is to create a separate page or section on your website and direct visitors to it.
This can be accomplished through a pop-up, a link on your main navigation, or a link or banner from critical pages. This grabs customers’ interest and makes sure they know all the details when it comes to your reopening.
If the information is health and safety-related, this gives you the chance to make your customers feel comfortable about returning to your business as you reopen.
Step 3: Update Your Social Profiles
Today, customers expect a business’ social media to be the most accurate and up-to-date resource for operational changes. Your social media profiles may very well be the “front door” for customers online because each channel serves content in a chronological timeline. The date of your most recent update shows your level of activity to keep customers informed through your reopening.
To implement a strong digital marketing strategy, first, audit your social profiles – make sure you know what profiles represent your business online. Consider:
Facebook holds a few key advantages to businesses during the reopening. Your followers are notified when you update your hours, change your profile picture, add an event, or add a post.
As such keeping your hours accurate on Facebook is as critical as Google My Business. If your hours are not yet what they will be, consider a post letting your customers know what to expect such as “hours for patio dining only”, “weekend hours will resume shortly”, “lobby hours for this week are as follows”.
The Facebook “Send Message” feature is also a critical tool for extending a two-way conversation to help particular customers’ needs. Facebook considers and calibrates your response time to your messages and uses this data to inform when your business “Typically responds within X time”. If you do not reply to messages quickly, customers know their questions may take over a day to respond – making them vulnerable to your competitors.
Additionally, you can use Facebook messages to create compelling content. The question of one customer may be one of many and could be a productive topic for your next post.
Finally, use the Facebook platform to its fullest potential by creating content of multiple varieties. Utilize the Facebook Stories format to update customers of relevant timeline updates. Use Facebook Live and Events to gather attention for critical updates, and stream and save the results.
Like Facebook, businesses have a multitude of content options to leverage the Instagram channel to its fullest potential for your business. On Instagram, your followers will find your most timely content from you through their feeds or stories. Your profile may be visited as well for those customers looking for what and when you’ve posted in the past.
Here, your hours and messages are less critical than Facebook – so keep your Instagram profile timely and relevant with updates to your operations.
LinkedIn is most relevant to keep updated for job seekers and B2B companies. Provide guidance on your hiring process and keep job postings current as a positive signal to job seekers.
This platform is also an effective channel for B2B marketing. Consider the impact of making virtual connections through LinkedIn today, wherein your business may not be able to throw corporate events and tradeshows today. Keeping an active and engaging LinkedIn profile is a critical way to build new relationships and partnerships.
Restaurants, local businesses, and consumer services companies maintain active Yelp profiles to encourage local foot traffic and business. Similar to Google My Business, consider Yelp when updating your business hours or operations.
Have a Successful Reopening Digital Marketing Strategy with AIS Media
When it’s time to reopen your business, enacting these steps quickly ensures you’re doing everything possible to get your business back in the public eye. For extra help regaining your organic traffic and driving sales, contact a digital marketing agency to help get your business back on the map and performing stronger than ever before.
At AIS Media, an award-winning business essential digital marketing agency in Atlanta, our team helps businesses grow through high-performance SEO marketing, PPC, digital marketing strategy, and social media marketing.
Whether you need help reopening your business or want to grow your online visibility, contact our team today for a complimentary digital marketing consultation: 404-948-5075.