Internet:

How can businesses reach their customers during lockdown?

Posted on April 3, 2020

Safety measures that have been implemented to help combat the coronavirus outbreak, such as social distancing and lockdowns, have had a significant impact on the day-to-day running of many local businesses. Any changes that have taken place may have caught customers off-guard, especially in the early days.

As part of Live with Search Engine Land, which took place last Friday, members of the search community shared their tips, advice and strategies for business owners about how they can keep their customers up-to-date and informed.

Use your website

The first port of call should be to update your website. Most people have access to the internet and should be able to find your website. Google has recommended that businesses should display a pop-up message or distinct banner that informs visitors about any COVID-19 announcements and the effects it is having on everyday operations, such as whether the business is still operating, delivery options, opening times and delays to orders. This will help to both keep customers informed and set the right expectations.

Further to these announcements, business owners can add any prominent updates to their FAQ pages and should continue to monitor product availability statuses, and update any events or sales taking place.

Email campaigns

In the early days of lockdown, many consumers were being inundated with a wave of coronavirus emails from businesses explaining their stance on the pandemic. Search experts recommend that businesses should resist sending messages to customers with irrelevant and bland updates and should take a more creative approach to break the chain of dry emails. This can help to humanise communications and stand out against the rest.

Update Google My Business Listings

Google has created a coronavirus post category on its Google My Business service that enables businesses to make changes to how they are operating during the pandemic, including whether they are open, temporary closures, updated opening hours and any safety updates.

Take to social media

With more people spending time at home instead of out and about, this has translated to people spending more time on social media sites. Facebook has reported that it has had a spike in use of its Live streaming service. Businesses should take note that social media is being even more heavily used these days and they should use this to their advantage. Product giveaways and competitions, meme creation and customer interaction through sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be ways to keep in contact with clientele while bolstering your online presence and brand image, yet still keeping to social distancing rules.

For help with your online strategy in these unprecedented times, why not get in touch with Engage Web and see how we can turn a negative situation into positive results?

Posted by Alan Littler

Why are desktop searches back on the rise?

Posted on April 2, 2020

It’s now three and a half years since mobile search overtook desktop, and this is a trend that has only increased in the time since. Google has reacted to this, and in late February it advised all websites to have mobile-first indexing within the next year.

However, recent weeks appear to have seen something of a (more…)

Posted by John Murray

Don’t miss out as consumer spending shifts online

Posted on March 27, 2020

Two studies are showing that, perhaps unsurprisingly, consumers are spending more money online as the COVID-19 outbreak takes hold, emphasising the need for businesses to have an online presence.

Here in the UK, research from Blacktower Financial Management Group indicates that households have been spending an average of £13 more per week during the pandemic. Some of this has been in physical supermarkets, but notably, online spending has gone up by 25.5%.

Another study reveals similar patterns in the US, where restrictions are currently a little more relaxed in most states than they are here. A survey of over 2,500 American adults by L.E.K. Consulting and Civis reveals that online spending is up by 10%-30%, despite pessimism about the economy with 80%-90% of respondents believing a recession is likely next year.

As sanctions on personal movement increase both in the UK and the US (the latter has today been confirmed to have more coronavirus cases than any other country), these figures are only likely to increase as we become more reliant on home delivery services. This makes it crucial that businesses, particularly retailers, can continue to operate online for as long as restrictions continue.

Yesterday, we discussed how setting up a basic brochure website can make a big difference by giving traditional small brick-and-mortar stores an internet presence. With that structure in place, there’s no limit to how far they can take their online retail services, leaving them well set up for a post-coronavirus future.

The internet will no doubt prove to be a crucial lifeline as the pandemic develops and, while the situation is creating unprecedented challenges for businesses, many might be finding that funds they had put aside for something else have now been freed up. This might be due to cancelled events, unneeded office supplies or delayed plans to recruit staff, so why not invest some of this money into digital marketing and web development?

Whether the idea of a website is new to you, or you have one but want to get more out of it, speak to us at Engage Web for expert advice.

Posted by John Murray

How a website can see your independent store through the lockdown

Posted on March 26, 2020

The restrictions imposed on us as a result of the coronavirus outbreak have had an effect on all businesses, but threaten to be particularly tough on small, village food stores (more…)

Posted by John Murray

Take these two digital marketing steps in response to coronavirus

Posted on March 13, 2020

The link between the COVID-19 pandemic and digital marketing may not seem an obvious one, but with news and advice on the virus changing by the day, there are two digital marketing steps businesses can take to help at this challenging time.

Here are two suggestions we’ve picked up on as the world responds to spread of the virus:

1. Update your Google My Business listing

This week, Google has added a new section to its Google My Business help guide, specifically addressing the outbreak of the virus.

The search giant has advised that companies should manage their information closely and ensure it is up to date. For example, some businesses may be temporarily closed or shortening their working day, in which case they should change their business hours.

Google also suggests to create regular posts giving the latest information, such as stock levels and links to relevant sources. It may still be worth doing this even if your business is unaffected, as this way, people know in advance if it’s business as usual.

As of today, Facebook has also issued advice for small businesses related to the virus.

2. Consider reallocating your budget

A compilation of analysts’ observations published on Search Engine Land shows differing attitudes to digital spend. Sectors like travel and retail are being hit hard by the outbreak, so naturally their spending on the likes of Google and Facebook advertising is reflecting this. On the other hand, it appears that plenty of businesses are investing money they would have used elsewhere into their digital marketing.

An example given in the piece is of an exhibitor who expects to lose leads due to the cancellation of upcoming trade shows, so is pumping more into digital to make up for this. Another cites a small food company that wants to get the edge over competitors by outperforming them online, in keeping with the high growth goals it has for the year.

The coronavirus is causing plenty of uncertainty, but patterns we’re seeing so far, such as cancellation of public events and more people working from home, only put more emphasis on our reliance on the internet as a source of information and business.

At Engage Web, our search engine optimisation and content development strategies keep pace with both the digital and physical world. If digital marketing is the direction you’re looking towards at this testing time, why not speak to us?

Posted by John Murray

Three questions to ask when adding links to your website

Posted on February 21, 2020

Inserting links into your site, whether they direct users to another part of the site or somewhere else entirely, is a neat and modern way to get people where they need to be online. In 2020, it’s pretty awkward and old-fashioned to write “go to Engage Web’s website” when you could just say “click here”.

There are things that (more…)

Posted by John Murray

What can we expect from a post-Brexit internet?

Posted on February 3, 2020

So, it’s happened. Three and a half years after the 2016 referendum, Britain has left the European Union and now enters what is being called a “transition” period expected to last until the end of 2020.

We’ve all argued until we’re red, white and blue in the face about whether or not it was the right decision, but the time has now come to (more…)

Posted by John Murray

Three important steps you can take on Data Privacy Day

Posted on January 28, 2020

Of all the fun and novelty days on the calendar, Data Privacy Day may not be one to set the pulse racing, but with cybercrime growing by the year and a recent report making some damning conclusions about the general public’s online security practices, it might well be one of the most important.

Marked every year on January 28, the day was set up by (more…)

Posted by John Murray
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