• Lou Devine

Maximising your business in Lockdown 2.0

“Marty, whatever happens don’t ever go to 2020” kind of sums up this year. With England now in Lockdown 2.0, and a recent report revealing that 1 in 5 small businesses believing they will not survive, it’s vital that your online presence remains big and bold over the next few months. If like many, you have extra hours on your hands over the next few weeks - even if you have successfully been able to pivot your business this year – I’m sure you’ll want to use those hours wisely.

Below I’ve outlined some suggestions that will help you maximise your online presence so that you can connect with new audiences and be found in search engines.

1. Reflect on your brand

Take the time to consider where your businesses brand is at; could it be better? Is it time to make a few changes? Use this time in isolation to brainstorm and even to begin implementing brand improvements whether it’s around your website layout, your logo or more simple changes such as changing your LinkedIn profile image.

2. Set up a Google Business Profile

If you haven’t already (and why not, this is a fantastic free marketing tool!), go to www.google.com/business and follow the step by step guidance.

Fill in all the details you can about your business. And make sure you’re found – your business title is very important and should always contain the name of your business, but it’s also important to add some key word information too. For example, your business is called “Marriott” and you are in the hotel industry in Bournemouth, then your title should look something like “Marriott: Hotel & Restaurant in Bournemouth”.

Ensure you add interesting and up-to-date images. And go crazy – you’re using Google’s servers! Don’t leave your Business Profile to stagnate. This is key. Try to write a new post and upload new images weekly.

3. Update your business details

EVERYWHERE. If you have had to take a break from your business or if you are still operating but in a different guise, make sure your business message and working hours are updated on all platforms – your social media pages,in particular, as they are often the first port of call for customers. There is nothing worse than checking a café’s Facebook page for its opening hours to then turn up to find it closed! Similarly, ensure you offer reassurance around your Covid-19 procedures.

4. Add alt text to all of your images

Google has gotten quite good at determining the value and relevance of content for its users. However, while search engine image recognition technology has vastly improved over the years, search crawlers still can't "see" the images on a website page like we can.

So while you should be adding alt tags to ensure your website/social media images are accessible, it is also a way of improving your SEO – as you can add appropriate descriptions and key words you want the search crawlers to pick up on.

5. Experiment with new content types

Try new methods of communicating with your audience. How about inviting people to a Webinar where you give expert advice and useful tutorials about your product offerings or have a play with creating a podcast – there are some great free apps out there that require you to have little resources.

6. Now is the time to engage more

Despite it feeling like midnight by 5 o’clock, and the lure of comfy slippers whilst eating rice pudding in front of Bake Off is more appealing than talking to ANYONE (or is that just me?), it’s more vital than ever to talk – to business buddies, people who can champion your business, potential new customers, ‘old’ customers who bought from you some time ago…

7. Make time for YOU

This really goes without saying, yet if you’re a small business or self employed in any way, this can be the hardest thing to do. I have made time to spend an hour a week improving my Spanish with Coffee Time Languages. As a once-okay Spanish speaker, I am so enjoying speaking this wonderful language again with absolutely no motives other than to enjoy my time with my ‘profesora bonita’ and my new class mates. I am also making sure I walk a lot and try to fit in a little Pilates.

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