SEO in the age of COVID

Pandemic SEO or Getting Your Business Found in the Age of COVID

COVID-19 has turned a lot about our lives upside down. The way we do just about everything has changed and continues to change as we navigate through this new reality. If you’re a small business owner, one of the biggest changes shocking your world (next to forced closings) are changes in consumer behaviour.

Research company McKinsey & Company has identified five key themes emerging in consumers around the world:

  • Shift to value and essentials
  • Flight to digital and omnichannel
  • Shock to loyalty
  • Health and “caring” economy
  • Homebody economy

You can read more about their research here, but I for the purpose of this post, I want to focus on just a few of the highlights:

  • 21% of US consumers are doing more research on a brand or product before purchasing
  • Most industries have seen more than 10% growth in their online customer base and most people plan to continue to make a portion of their purchases online post COVID-19
  • 75% of US consumers have tried a new brand, retailer, or method of shopping

For me that points to the fact that businesses, especially local businesses, need to focus on their online presence now more than ever. If you aren’t showing up when your prospective – or even existing – customers are searching online, who is?

The good news is that there are some simple SEO activities you can undertake right now to improve your online presence and increase the chances that people who need what you provide will find you when they search.

1 Optimize Google My Business

  • Go to Google’s Free Listing Page: https://www.google.com/business and identify your business by finding it on the map or adding it for free
  • Confirm your identity – they will either call you or send you a letter
  • Double-check your details to make sure that the right category and subcategories are chosen and make note of the exact way your business name, address

Read more on optimizing your GMB profile in this post.

2 Get Markup Right

  • Simply visit Schema.org’s Local Business NAP generator and fill in the blanks
  • The tool will produce the HTML code you need to add to your site in place of your current address

3 Clean Up Citations

  • Citations are simply places on the web that reference your business. They could be directories or other websites mentioning you.
  • Using a tool like BrightLocal, look for inconsistent citations and ask the site owner to make any corrections.
  • Basically, you want your name, address, phone number, and other business information to be consistent across the web to avoid sending Google mixed signals.

4 Create Local Content

  • Include detailed information about your local area/service area in your online content.
  • Post about local events. Use your blog to talk about the community, customers, and employees.

5 Focus on Reviews

  • Set a goal of obtaining at least 5 Google reviews (the number that Google requires to display the review stars as a highlighting feature of local results)
  • Make it as easy as possible for your happy customers to log in to the sites that matter and leave a review
  • Repurpose reviews in email newsletters, on your site, or in local display

Taking steps like these will help improve your local SEO rankings and that means more potential customers finding your business.

If you’d like to make a big difference to your online presence, try our Total Online Presence Audit and we’ll tell you exactly what’s working and what you should focus on to improve.

I hope you are weathering this pandemic and wish you all the best. Stay safe.

7 Steps to small business marketing success

7 Steps to Creating Small Business Marketing Success

Do you find yourself struggling to stand out from your competitors? Are you attracting the wrong type of clients? Do you ever struggle to decide what marketing tactics make sense right now?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’re not alone. You’re in good company with millions of other small business owners. At its core, effective marketing is really a system. And when that system is in place and running well, things just seem to work – which is great when you’re a small business owner because then you can focus on running the business.

One of the best resources I’ve come across on small business marketing is 7 Steps to Small Business Marketing Success, by John Jantsch. (Full disclosure, I’m a Certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant and partner of John’s).

Not surprisingly, the book outlines the 7 key steps to set up a marketing system for a small business. Here’s a quick summary or you can download the ebook for the detailed plan.

Step 1: Strategy Before Tactics

Marketing lives and dies by developing“Strategy Before Tactics”. If you don’t start with strategy, you’ll end up throwing money at SEO one month, social media the next, with no real plan or idea of whether it will move you closer to your goals.

Finding your ideal customer & Your Core Difference
Most businesses are built to serve a very specific type of customer and trying to serve too broad a customer base may actually detract from your business and lead to a bad customer experience. Finding your ideal customer will help you to focus on how to attract more of them.

The best way to find that ideal customer is look at your current customers. Better yet, spend a bit of time and interview a handful of them. Ask them why they hired you? What you do better than your competitors? If they refer you, why?

Answers to questions like these will also help you find out what your core difference is. That’s the thing that makes you stand out from all the other options your prospects and customers have. If you don’t have a compelling core difference, prospects will default to the one question they know they can compare based on: how much?

As a business owner, you know that competing on price alone is never a winning game.

Step 2: The Marketing Hourglass™

Once you know who your ideal customer is and what makes you stand out to them, The next step in installing an effective marketing system is to know your customer’s Marketing Hourglass, also called a customer journey.

The Duct Tape Marketing system is based on moving prospects through the Marketing Hourglass from their initial awareness of you right through to the point where they become a repeat customer and refer you new business.

Every customer you have went through a process. They first came to know you, then they learned a little more and decided they liked you, and eventually you convinced them to trust you. The Duct Tape Marketing definition of a successful marketing system is one that gets someone who meets your ideal customer profile to know, like, and trust you and then get that prospect to try, buy, repeat, and refer.

The right system has tools in place at each stage to manage a constant flow through the hourglass.

Step 3: Content as the Voice of Strategy

Once you’ve identified your ideal customer persona and created your core difference message you’re ready to create the content that will deliver it through all the touchpoints you identified on your Marketing Hourglass.

Content can include website copy, blogs, social media, reviews, and testimonials, white papers, seminars, and more. It should always be focused on two things: building trust and educating. It should never be random. All of your content needs to be driven by your strategy.

Step 4: Create a Total Web Presence

It’s no longer enough just to have a website, even a good one. Your entire online presence has to be in line with your strategy. Your website, your social media channels, your review channels, your online advertising.

That means consistent branding, delivering your core message on your website and through what you post in social media. All of it works together to create a total online presence that represents your brand and speaks to your ideal client (and to Google, telling it you are a valuable source of information). Your online engagement has to be at the centre of your marketing strategy.

Step 5: Operate a Lead Generation Trio

Like everything else, lead generation has evolved in the digital age. Generating new business is less about going out and finding it than it is about setting yourself up to be found. By setting up a lead generation trio using advertising, PR, and referrals, you can create an engine that generates valuable leads through three channels.

Advertising educational content gets the trust-building content you create in front of new eyeballs. Building relationships to generate PR extends your reach and credibility. Creating a referral program will deliver new leads directly from your existing customers, and these are usually your highest quality leads.

Step 6: Make Selling a System

Just like good marketing is a system, good selling is, too. A marketing system focuses on generating new leads, while a selling system focuses on nurturing those leads until they become buyers, repeat buyers, and referrers.

Your lead conversion system should contain a discovery process, a presentation, a nurturing cycle, an orientation process built into the transaction, and, finally, a review process to communicate results.

Step 7: Living by the Calendar

Congratulations, you made it to step 7. The final step is about making sure all the work involved in your marketing system gets done on a consistent basis, whether you’re doing it yourself or have someone like us doing it for you. That’s why it’s critical to live by the calendar and make doing your marketing a habit.

Have monthly themes driving your focus each month, weekly reviews to make sure you are on track, and schedule a time daily dedicated to your marketing.

Follow these 7 steps and you’ll build a marketing system that will grow your business. There’s a lot more great detail in the ebook that will help you set up your own successful small business marketing system. I strongly recommend taking the time to download and read it. You’ll thank me if you do.

If you want to talk about how we can help you create and install a marketing success system in your business get in touch.

Duct-tape-marketing-consultant

What Our New Duct Tape Marketing Certification Means to Our Clients

At Good Ideas Marketing we are dedicated to taking marketing decisions, strategy, and tactics off our clients’ plates, so they’re free to make the big decisions that lead to growth and long-term success.

To further support that dedication, we are proud to announce our new Certification and Membership in the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.

This Certification is an achievement of completion of the rigorous small to mid-size business marketing training of the Duct Tape Marketing System Methodology – some of the most thorough training the industry has to offer.

Providing our clients a roadmap to growth using the Duct Tape Marketing System

So what does our new Certification mean for the success of our current and future clients?

It means:

Predictable Marketing Results with the Duct Tape Marketing System

Life is unpredictable, but your marketing system doesn’t have to be. With the Duct Tape Marketing methodology, we offer our clients proven marketing strategies, supported by focused tactics, to meet their goals.

These approaches have been road-tested by the Duct Tape Marketing team and the Consultant Network and generate effective results for small to mid-sized businesses at a fraction of the cost of large agencies.

The Duct Tape Marketing System begins with building a solid marketing foundation our clients can expand on as their business grows. Each new marketing initiative is added strategically to ensure a strengthening of the entire system.

Our new Network Certification, coupled with our dedication to knowing our clients’ industries inside and out, creates a very effective marketing program our clients can count on.

Comprehensive Marketing Strategy Development

One of the most important reinforcements from our new Certification training is that your marketing strategy should always come before tactics. A solid marketing strategy based on research and experience prevents our clients from making fruitless marketing investments.

Through new research tools and the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network Certification training we ensure the strongest marketing strategies are created at the beginning of each client engagement.

This important step, overlooked by many in the industry, saves our clients time and money while providing a solid and strategic marketing roadmap we follow over time.

Implementation of the Most Impactful Marketing Tactics Available

With an established strategy, it’s time to execute on the plan. Our new Duct Tape Marketing Network membership keeps us at the forefront of resources that make the implementation of our marketing plans efficient and effective.

The Network gives us exposure to resource pools that help us ensure accurate execution of your marketing plan, from SEO, Content Marketing, Analytics reporting, and much more. Efficiencies we gain are passed on to our clients.

The Latest Information on Current Marketing Trends

Technology and opportunities move at a breakneck pace. Without dedication, it is hard to sift through what is truly an opportunity and what is just a distraction.

Our team is always on the lookout to better our clients’ experiences and outcomes. Our new Duct Tape Marketing Certification and Network Membership only makes us stronger by giving us direct access to over 120 marketing consultants around the world willing to collaborate, educate, and share their experiences.

It truly takes a village to keep up. Our new Consultant Network expands our village and ultimately benefits our clients.

We are excited to add this Certification and Network access to our list of offerings and know our clients will see even stronger marketing results as we move ahead.

If you’d like to talk more about how a Duct Tape Marketing System can work for your small to mid-size business contact us today.