The importance of reviews

Calling all independent retail businesses in the WD postcode area.

Now is your chance to win a £5,000 marketing package!

Join our campaign to Save the High Street for your chance to win.

Digital Devils are launching a pilot program right here in Watford and the surrounding areas.  It is the fore runner to a much wider campaign, but right now we are looking for 10 businesses to take part in the pilot study.

You could win access to a program of online advertising for your business, including Display Network ads and Facebook Ads, free publicity, design creatives, a video and access to our coupon delivery and follow-up platform.

What are you waiting for?  To apply right now go to digitaldevils.co/letsgolocal

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As business owners and entrepreneurs it is our responsibility to kickstart the economy when the latest lockdowns end.  Whilst the latest business disruption is devastating to many businesses, it does have the benefit of giving business owners time to plan.

So what is your plan for your business this year?

Does it include marketing and promotion?

Will you be offering deals and special offers?

Have you got follow-up processes in place?

How will you sell off your winter stock if you can’t open for January sales?

Do you have an online shop? If not, should you consider setting one up?

Do your past customers know you can deliver to them?

If you haven’t got a plan in place yet, then put marketing your business and making 2021 your best year ever, top of your list of New Years Resolutions.

With much of the country in lockdown in the run up to Christmas in 2020, how can high street retailers generate Christmas sales this year? Competition from wholly online retailers is immense. The likes of Amazon, Asos and the big retailers have big advertising budgets and have prolific ads on TV and online, so how can local retailers compete?

The answer is to take a leaf out of the ‘big boys’ books.

Advertise, advertise, advertise.  Retailers, you need to let local customers know that you can do click & collect and local deliveries too. Make sure everyone in your local area knows about you.

Use every medium available. Leaflets, local newspapers, local magazines, Facebook ads, local radio ads, NextDoor and local WhatsApp groups.

Get your message out there and keep repeating it.

Lots of people want to support local businesses through the pandemic and will support local retailers if it’s easy for them.  Getting a delivery from a local shop is just as easy as getting a delivery from Amazon.  Your job is to make it just as easy for them to buy from you as it is from the big names.

One of the most effective ways to keep top of mind in the search engines eyes, is to continually add fresh content to:

  • Your website / blog
  • Your Google My Business
  • Your Social Media Platforms

The question is, how can you do that without becoming a slave to writing and creating content?

The answer is pretty simple. Make it a daily or (at least) weekly habit. And, to make it really easy, keep a diary or use an app like Evernote to keep notes of interesting or fun things that happen in your business every day. That way when you want to create a piece of content to publish you’ll already have a selection of great things to post about.

Here’s some ideas:

  • Fun pictures of you, your staff or customers
  • Pictures of your stock or new lines
  • A piece from the news that customers might find interesting (as long as it’s positive)
  • Industry insights
  • Jokes and fun posts (occasionally)

 

Just make your posts, regular and varied. Mix them up between serious and fun stuff. Keep your diary of stuff to post and hey presto … you’ve got content.

This is a seriously worrying time for business owners.  How do we keep our businesses afloat?  Will we still have a business left when this is all over.  What the hell do we do?!?

The situation is changing day by day.  The government tell us they will support us and we have to believe that, but we have to be proactive.  We need to seek what help is available and yet we must understand that even the government don’t have all the answers yet.

Digital Devils are setting up a separate Corona Virus Impact website, with the latest information about how to:

  • Keep going as much as possible
  • What to tell your customers and staff
  • How to access government support

Go to www.coronavirusbusinessuk.info for easy access to the information that’s important to businesses.

To feature in the Google 3 pack local search results you need to start attracting some Google love.

Although Google does change it’s search criteria quite regularly, there are 5 core elements that do stand the test of time, particularly for local businesses.  We’ve listed them here and they are all simple, common sense tactics.

  1. Set-up and Optimise your Google My Business profile (sometimes known as Google Places listing).  Google provide great instructions on exactly what to do.  If you already have a Google profile for your business, make sure it’s optimised and that you have entered as much information as possible – you want Google to love you.  If you don’t already have your business profile set-up, then do it now.
  2. Get good quality external links and ensure that your citation is included.  (A citation is your business name, address and phone number used in exactly the same format across the web).  Examples include online directories, networking group pages that you belong to, your own social media pages and any external sites you contribute to or can get listed on.
  3. Ensure you have great reviews published on the web on external websites and especially on Google.  If you have a Google My Business profile set up, you should be able to find your Google review link here. Whilst you mustn’t offer incentives for people to leave you good reviews on Google, you can at least the link to happy customers and ask them if they would be prepared to leave you a review on Google.
  4. Write regular content, for example blog posts or new landing pages, and make sure you target the content to your local area and keywords that are important to your promotions.  Once you get started, it’s not that difficult to add a bit of regular content to a blog and social media, even if it’s just once a month.  It lets Google know that you’re still in business and that your website is maintained.  Simple, but effective!
  5. Start or maintain a simple social media presence.  Make sure you include links back to your site and ensure you contact details are exactly the same as on Google.

A little work on all these elements will go a long way to ensuring that the search engines love you!

Have you noticed that more and more of the local businesses listed in the Google Local ‘3 Pack’ have 5 star ratings?

Reputation is now one of the key ranking factors for search engines, especially for local ranking (source: The 2016 Local Ranking Criteria Study).  It makes sense, search engines want to promote good businesses not bad ones and having good reviews is an indicator of having a good business.

So if you have a good reputation make sure the search engines know about it.  Ask people to leave you a Google review or a review on an independent review site such as ‘trust pilot’, ‘yelp’ or ‘freeindex’.  Google reviews are particularly important if you are trying to get ranked in the Google Local 3 pack.

Not only that though, all businesses live or die by their reputation and a bad reputation can spread like wildfire, whether deserved or not.  So in these days of constant scrutiny online, it’s a good idea to stay one step ahead and to garner a good reputation and to base your marketing upon it.