The financial burdens of COVID-19 have put many SMBs in search of affordable ways to market their business. The good news is that more people are spending time online than ever before, and there are plenty of simple ways to reach your customers digitally without spending a dime.
Reaching your audience on Google
One quick note before we begin this section: As of writing this post, Google My Business profile editing capabilities are varying from day to day as Google suppresses and adds features in response to COVID-19. If you get stuck on any of the below suggestions, skip them and be on the lookout for capabilities to return.
1. Update your Google My Business profile
Your Google My Business profile is the free listing that appears for your business on both Google Maps and Google Local Search results. Due to special hours, physical closings, and limited travel, consumers are performing even more “near me” and “open now” searches on Google during COVID-19. They’re also searching for specific criteria such as delivery and online payment options. That being said, you should make the following updates to your profile to continue reaching your audience on Google:
· Verify your hours (or mark your business as temporarily closed).
· Modify your description (a.k.a. “From the business”) to include relevant COVID-19 offerings.
· Have a category selected, as this will allow you to indicate industry-specific attributes, such as curbside pickup, drive-through and delivery for restaurants.
· Create posts (more on this next).
2. Create Google posts
Just like with social media platforms, you can publish posts to your Google My Business listing for free. But unlike social media platforms where users are leisurely scrolling, consumers on Google are actively seeking. GMB posts enable you to get your updates and special offers in front of consumers who are ready to engage, making this is a great way to reach and retain customers during COVID-19.
And with GMB’s new COVID-19 post type, you can be even more effective at reaching your audience at the right time. This is a great alternative to the Q&A section (“Is your business open during COVID-19?”), which is temporarily not appearing on profiles.
3. Write relevant blog posts
The internet is saturated right now with COVID-19 content, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still strive to show up on the first page of a Google search. The trick is to target long-tail keywords highly specific to your niche. For example, a chiropractor could write a blog post “At-home Lower Back Exercises” or “Avoid Neck Pain While in Quarantine.” This content costs nothing to create other than your time, which you might have more of at this point, anyway.
You could even tie in your geographic area for more effective targeting, like with a list titled “Best Places to Walk Your Dog in Bethesda.” These coronavirus-relevant pages will garner traffic in and of themselves right now, but they’ll also boost your overall website SEO for the long term.
Bonus strategy: create a free Google Shopping listing
On April 21, Google announced the rollout of free Shopping listings to all retailers to help them find more customers online in the wake of COVID-19. Give it a try!