The COVID-19 crisis is in full swing and everyone is locked in their houses. Shops and restaurants are closed, services that we all take for granted are now volatile, your business is suffering, you’re wondering if you should risk stepping outside, and lastly, your partner’s looking at you with more and more disdain each day – the world is looking pretty grim.
There are two silver linings in all of this:
- Bottle shops are still open
- Search engine marketing (SEM) can improve your business, or get your business back on its feet.
Let’s elaborate on the latter.
If your business has been relying on their storefronts and hasn’t contemplated building an online presence then now, more than ever, is the time to begin. Your customers know where your physical location is because they’ve either walked past it or heard about it from someone, but how about the ‘left in the dark’ potential customers who are searching for products and services that you offer, but can’t seem to find your business online. It gets worse, they’re finding your competitor’s businesses online and buying from them. We all know by now that Google runs the information highway on the internet and with this brings opportunities for your business to capitalise on it.
This is the defining reason for why to begin SEM whether it be through increased traffic from SEO campaigns or paid search and display ads. Search engine optimisation is the process of increasing visibility and traffic through organic, unpaid results. I won’t bore you with the technical details, we’ll save that for the next article. Paid advertising on Google or Bing gives the benefit of showing your promotions to people who are actively searching for what you’re offering, It is this exact function that provides such a great return on investment. If done properly and with a fantastic offer of your product or service, your business will be well on its way to generating more revenue. People need to be able to find what you’re offering though in order to sell it, which leads me to the next reason.
Obtain new customers
It’s proven that you can’t sell to people who don’t know you exist. At least, I’m 99.9% sure that’s the case. You have your main customer base and then you have the potential customer base that hears from those people, however, there’s a large pool of potential customers that have been left in the dark about your products or services. Chances are that when someone is thinking about buying or wanting information about something, they’re Googling it, and as it turns out, people are searching for things more now than they ever have before. This upswing in searches is a result of so many of us being stuck inside; with businesses closed down, we are now reliant on ordering online to have things delivered. Don’t be invisible, let them know you exist by getting their attention while they’re searching online. After all, wouldn’t you love to make money or get leads while you sleep?
Increase brand awareness
Along with increasing revenue and obtaining new customers, you can also build your brand online. When ads and landing pages are in harmonious symmetry (that’s right, I said harmonious symmetry) it can do wonders for your brand and for sales. How you present your business online determines the reactions and experiences of your potential customers. Your business needs to be at the forefront online, so that your brand is remembered in a glowing light. The saying that people don’t buy products, they buy brands holds true. You can have relatively the same product as another business (a lot of businesses do), but it’s ultimately how it’s presented and perceived that makes someone choose one over the other. This revolves around the emotional response of advertising. Let your brand be known.
Build customer trust
Customer trust is everything. It’s easier and less expensive to keep a customer than to obtain a new one – they know what you’re about and they know your brand. They remember the customer service that was offered and they remember the experience you gave them, which all helps to build trust. This can now all be brought online with reviews. Now, managing reviews falls more under the category of digital PR, but it can also be a sub-category of SEM, being that online reviews can be showcased in ads and the finding of reviews online is all affiliated with search networks.
An angry customer can cost you a lot of business, if not handled properly. People searching for a product or service are looking at reviews and this gives you the chance to interact with your customers on another playing field.
Show customers and potential customers that you care about their needs and they’re more likely to stick with you. Provide them with the exceptional product or service you offer and build those reviews. This will pay dividends for the lifetime of the business. Bad reviews are inevitable for any business dealing with a customer. It can be that an employee didn’t have the best customer service one day and now that customer decides to give your business 1 star on Google and slams your business on how they were treated. Managing your Google My Business account and any other site that has reviews for your business is something that can ensure that you aren’t losing customers.