Drive Local Traffic Without Draining Your Budget

Drive Local Traffic Without Draining Your Budget
Drive Local Traffic Without Draining Your Budget

Small businesses run a large spectrum of industries, but one thing they all have in common is smaller budgets and fewer employees for operations and marketing than larger competitors.

One important equalizer among small businesses is the ability to set up a website and drive traffic to that website for little to no costs.

How to Drive Local Traffic to Your Website

Reputation Marketing

With reputation marketing, you want to build a positive online reputation and use that stellar reputation to get consumers to trust and buy from your business. Reviews, business listings, and even your blog posts are all part of your online reputation.

Review sites have a huge impact on sales because they give consumers the information they are looking for when researching the right place to buy something or comparing similar providers of services and goods. In a consumer’s mind, a business with no reviews is a bad sign and a five-star reputation is all the reason they need to choose one business over another.

Reputation Marketing Quick Tips:

1. Use reputation management services to save precious time, gather more five-star reviews, and have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your reputation marketing is automated and handled at every level.

2. Manage your business listings and advertise in local classifieds websites to create backlinks to your website. Local classifieds and business listings (such as Chambers of Commerce) not only attract new customers who use local listings, they also provide more websites for customers to write reviews and put more social proof online for your business.

3. If you want people to visit your website, then that URL should be everywhere you are:

  • Business cards, brochures, letterhead
  • All channels of advertisement
  • Email signature lines for all employees
  • Social media profiles
  • Business listings that allow website listings
  • Review site business listings
  • Part of the conversation when networking
  • Online forums and commenting on other blogs
  • Press releases and sponsorship listings

4. Verify and optimize your Google My Business listing to make sure your business website, location, and phone number are displayed in search results and on the map when customers Google search.

Email Marketing

Stay in front of your customers with email marketing to drive local traffic to your website. Have an email opt-in on every page of your website or use a pop-up capture email addresses you can use for your email campaigns.

Invest the time to actually learning all the features of your email provider, and you’ll be able to automate most of the email marketing process. Fully automated email campaigns can be set up to send a specific email for every action by the customer from sign-up to purchase.

Social Media

Social media allows businesses of all sizes to interact, educate, and advertise to current and future customers and clients. There are hundreds of free social media networks and websites, but the most important thing to remember is to be where your customers are.

BE ACTIVE, make connections, and engage your followers with posts they find useful or entertaining while sprinkling in some self-promotion.

Social Media Quick Tips:

  • Create a Facebook Page for each location to build a platform where you can post updates on your products, offers, the latest events, and happenings about your business.
  • Customize your posts with offers, previews, and images for your different audiences to get viewers to click to see more.
  • Provide social media customer support by monitoring what is being said and responding to customers.

Blogging (Content Marketing)

 

Customers need a reason to visit your website, and blogging is one of the top ways to drive local traffic to your website. Quality content that answers their questions and solves their problems gives them not only a way to find your business in search but also a reason to click through.

Grow your business’s web presence by showing you’re a knowledgeable leader in your industry. Build relationships with similar or complementary websites where you can post content to each other’s website and link back to drive local traffic back to your website.

Drive Local Traffic to Your Small Business Website

Connecting with someone who specializes in SEO (search engine optimization) will help you create a web presence that attracts customers and gets you faster results. But, you don’t need to be an SEO expert to use these tips and tools to drive local traffic to your website.

Brick and Mortar Businesses Need Specialized Local SEO

Brick and Mortar Businesses Need Specialized Local SEO
Brick and Mortar Businesses Need Specialized Local SEO

When your business relies on local customers to be successful, general SEO just isn’t enough. Local SEO for brick and mortar businesses focuses on proven search engine optimization tactics that put your business at the top of local search results for people in your geographic area.

The Difference between Everyday SEO and Local SEO for Brick and Mortar Businesses

Studies show local searches are performed by customers looking to make a purchase soon, most of them the same day.

A dentist in Colorado Springs, for example, with a dental clinic that serves just the surrounding area, should obviously have an SEO strategy in place.  But with no service or product that can be bought online, that SEO strategy needs to be focused specifically on local search results.

Local SEO uses geographical keywords and designators that let search engines know your business is highly relevant in local search results. Optimizing for local search lowers competition for the top spots in search results because you are competing only with businesses within a certain radius of your geographical location.

A local dentist won’t rank on the first three pages of national search results (which is the furthest anyone will look) for any meaningful keywords competing against every dentist in the United States.

And if this dentist did somehow rank on the first page of Google search results, what good is all that SEO effort if someone a 400 miles away found his clinic because of a blog post on veneers? Local SEO focuses on getting the attention of customers in your area who are likely to buy.

That is why brick and mortar businesses need specialized local SEO to rank high in the local searches that bring in new customers.

On-Page and Off-Page Local SEO

Mastering local SEO involves executing a handful of on-page and off-page SEO tasks that optimize your website for long-term local search visibility.   When done right, it helps search engines and search users find, sort, and prioritize your most important information, such as location, services, and benefits.

On-Page Local SEO Tactics include:

  1. Optimize URL, title tags, headers, meta description, and content.
  2. Add location pages to your website.
  3. Create local content.
  4. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly.
  5. Improve the internal linking structure.
  6. Speed up website loading time.

Off-Page Local SEO Tactics include:

  1. Optimize Google My Business accounts.
  2. Ensure your name, address, and phone number are consistent online.
  3. Optimize online directories and citations.
  4. Get inbound links with relevance and authority.
  5. Engage relevant audiences on social media.

Local SEO for Brick and Mortar Businesses

Many of the things you need to do as part of your local SEO strategy are small tasks that will have a huge impact.

If you don’t like where your business is ranking in local search results, then now is the time to ask yourself these Local SEO for Brick and Mortar Businesses questions to get started:

  • Are you gathering and posting five-star customer reviews and testimonials on your site as well as top review sites?
  • Have you claimed, verified, and optimized your Google My Business Listing?
  • Do you have a business blog with useful localized content to show your expertise and give the search engines more content to index and provide in search results?
  • Have you verified and corrected all your online business listings?

Local search is so powerful for brick and mortar businesses! Four out of five consumers use search to find local information, so if your business is not optimized for local search, you could be missing out on 80% of your potential customers. Don’t let new customers slip through your fingers.

Restaurant Google My Business COVID-19 Updates

Restaurant Google My Business COVID-19 Updates
Restaurant Google My Business COVID-19 Updates

As a local restaurant, you need a fast, cheap, and effective way to keep your customers informed of your operations during the coronavirus pandemic. Right now, Google is providing special Google My Business COVID-19 Updates that are prominently displayed on your business listings when your business shows up on Google Search and Maps when you make the appropriate updates to your profile.

Use Your Restaurant’s Google My Business to Provide COVID-19 Updates

Temporary closures, changes to hours of operation, and modified services must be communicated to your customers. Use Google to get that information out throughout the crisis so people searching know-how and when to buy from your restaurant.

Communicate Pandemic Changes and Restrictions

Use your Google My Business profile’s business description to share information about what adjustments have been made in response to COVID-19. Let customers know if your restaurant has open outdoor seating, is only providing takeout or delivery, or if your services are delayed or taking longer.

To update the business description, go into the “Info” section of your GMB account, you can enter information “From the business.” Do not include URLs or HTML, and you can’t exceed 750 characters.

Add COVID-19 Related Post to Your Business Listing on Google

Currently, Google My Business offers a new Post type specifically for COVID-19 related messages. Use these to share more detailed and timely updates about what’s going on at your business throughout the crisis. You can add information about closures or reduced hours, safety and hygiene practices, availability of gift cards to support your business, and delivery services.

You’ll find COVID-specific post options in your GMB menu. Simply click on “Post” and choose the “COVID-19 update” tab and enter the information customers need to know during the crisis. Preview your post and hit “Publish.”

COVID-19 update posts appear prominently on your profile and are more noticeable to your customers.

Turn on Messaging to Connect with Customers

Turn on the messaging feature on your Google My Business profile to help your customers reach you. If you aren’t reachable by phone or it’s after your business hours, messaging can help customers get the information they need.

First, you will need to download the Google My Business app and turn on messaging. Once you turn on messaging, customers will find a “Message” button on your Google My Business listing where they can message you at any time.

Messages will appear in the Google My Business app, and you’ll receive notifications for incoming messages. You can customize an automated welcome message that customers will get when they message you.

Closing Dining Room? Mark Takeout, Delivery, Curbside Options

When customers search for your restaurant, your business listing in Google search and Maps results will prominently show which of these dining options you currently support: “Dine-in,” “Takeout,” “Delivery,” or “Curbside pickup.”

Let your customers know whether your food business offers takeout, delivery or curbside pickup and/or stopped providing dine-in service by adding or editing the “Dine-in,” “Takeout,” “Delivery,” and “Curbside pickup” attributes in the “Info” section of your GMB account. Find “Attributes” and click “Edit,” then scroll through and select the attributes you want to display on your business profile for searchers. Make sure you click “Apply.”

Highlight Changes to Menus and Specials

If you reduced your selection, or have deals or specials to attract customers, update your menu in the “Info” section of your GMB account, click on “Menu” to add or edit your menu items and then click “Apply.” If you link to an URL of your menu, select “Menu URL” to update that information instead.

You can also add photos of your most popular dishes on Google Maps.

Always Update Business Hours

At this time, any business may find a disclaimer on their profile to let customers know that their business info may not be up to date. Verified businesses can remove this disclaimer when they update recent special hours.

The disclaimer won’t appear if a business hasn’t set hours of operation or if you mark your business “Temporarily closed.” If you mark your business “Temporarily closed,” attributes such as takeout or delivery won’t display on your profile.

To update hours during the pandemic, go into your GMB menu, choose “Info” and click on “Special hours.” Next, click on “Add new date” and enter the opening and closing times for that day. When you’re done entering all your special hours, make sure you click “Apply.”

To better serve customers through the crisis and well beyond, communicate with customers searching for your restaurant or type of restaurant on Google through your Google My Business listing. All these updates will show on your Business Profile on Google Search and Maps search results.

Leveraging Local SEO and Google My Business During Coronavirus

 

-Leveraging Local SEO and Google My Business During Coronavirus
Leveraging Local SEO and Google My Business During Coronavirus

As the fight against COVID-19 continues worldwide, both globally and local business owners and customers are being forced to adjust to a new way of life. While adjusting how we live and making sacrifices to keep healthy, we as natural-born consumers are still shopping, still spending money, and relying on search engines to get us the information we want.

How are the businesses I shop at handling coronavirus restrictions?

Is my favorite boutique still open?

Is the furniture store still doing in-home delivery?

What local gym is offering virtual or outdoor training?

As we adapt to remote working and virtual learning, try to stay entertained and informed, and look for the best options to still buy the stuff we want, search has become more important than ever.

Local SEO Protects and Promotes Your Business During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Claiming and verifying a Google My Business listing for each location of your business is the first and most basic step to local search engine optimization (SEO).

This is an easy way to ensure your business shows up in local search engine results displaying the information customers need to make buying decisions while dealing with local COVID-19 restrictions.

Google My Business – The Best Tool for Local SEO

Since March 2020, Google has added several features to help you further promote your business and communicate COVID-19 changes. With these new tools, customers who use search can tell at a glance how your business has adapted to serve them throughout the pandemic better.

Learning how to utilize these special COVID-19 tools and features give your business increased visibility online and exposure to more local customers.

If your business is affected by COVID-19, update your Google My Business profile to provide the most accurate information to your customers. You can give updates on your business to customers such as:

  • Your adjusted hours of operation – closing earlier, opening later, or closed certain days during COVID.
  • Add “More hours” that describe other business operations such as delivery, takeout, and drive-through.
  • Select an attribute to show you now offer online services such as classes, appointments, or estimates.
  • Delays on specific business services.
  • Extra services you are providing for the community.
  • If your business is “Temporarily closed.”

The updates will show on your GMB business listing on Google Search and Maps.

Marking your business “Temporarily closed” won’t affect local search ranking, and it will be treated similarly to open businesses, but services won’t show on Google.

COVID-19 Google My Business Updates Quick Action List

1. Update Your Business Hours

You may need to adjust your business operations during the pandemic. This could mean changing your hours, temporarily closing, or changing the types of products and services you offer.

You can communicate this information to customers searching for the products and services you provide with your business listing on Google.

2. Update Your GMB Listing Description

Use your business description to share information about your business, such as:

  • If your business is only available for takeout or delivery
  • Extra services you provide to the community
  • If your business services are delayed

3. Connect With Your Customers

Download the Google My Business app and turn on messaging so your customers can reach you. You can use messaging to provide your customers with the support they need when you’re not reachable by phone or after your business hours.

Learn how to turn on messaging in the Google My Business app.

4. Add Links to Business Listings on Google

Your business listing can include two types of links that make it easier for customers to learn more about your business. They can also take action directly from your profile on Google Maps or Search.

Consider adding a link that helps customers, such as “view a menu” or “learn more about COVID-19 related information”. Or choose a preferred link that displays at the top so customers can easily find it. The links help customers, such as:

  • Book an appointment
  • Make a reservation
  • Place a food order

To add links to your business listing, sign in to Google My Business and click into the Info New Features URL section, which lets you edit several different fields. Depending on your business category, you may get options to add more links. NOTE: This option isn’t available for informational links, like a menu, COVID-19-related, or service links.

Making these four changes to your Google My Business profile lets Google and Google users know you are open and ready to serve customers safely during the pandemic.

Best Practices for Creating Facebook Lead Ads

FB Lead Ads Best Practices
FB Lead Ads Best Practices

On the Facebook Ads platform, Lead ads let you run lead generation campaigns on Facebook and Instagram. Lead ads are different because they include a contact form people interested in your ad can fill out with their details so you can follow up with them.

What’s So Awesome About Facebook Lead Ads?

Facebook makes collecting high-quality leads super easy. Not only are lead ads designed to get you the information you need to contact respondents, but they also make it so easy for users to respond that they are more likely to engage, knowing it’s a quick process to complete.

Benefits of using Facebook Lead Ads:

  • Contact forms are included in your ad: When people click on your lead ad, they are prompted to fill out a short form.
  • Choose which questions to ask in your form: Customize questions in your lead ad Instant Form to tailor them to your business and marketing needs.
  • Downloading your leads is easy: You can download your leads directly from Facebook, or connect a CRM like MailChimp or Salesforce to send over leads directly.

Best Practices for Creating Lead Ads

When creating your lead ad and Instant Form, use these best practices to reach more people, and increase conversion rates.

Best Practices to Improve Lead Ad Performance

Include an engaging image or video and relevant call to action in your ad: Your lead ad should encourage people to click on it to open the Instant Form. Make your ad as engaging as possible and clearly communicate why people should fill out your form.

Determine the right budget: Global reach can scale your campaign quickly, but receiving thousands of leads in a short time can overwhelm your sales team or call centers. Use Ad Scheduling in the Campaign Budget Optimization section of Ads Manager to ensure that your team will be ready to respond to leads as they are submitted.

Run your ad on Facebook and Instagram: Extend the reach of your campaign by using Automatic Placements to deliver advertisements on both Facebook and Instagram. This optimizes delivery to reach the most relevant people in a platform-agnostic manner. Note that not all features are available on Instagram.

Reach people who look like your best customers: Use a Lookalike Audience to reach people with characteristics similar to your current customers. For lead ads, we recommend using an audience based on existing customers rather than those who have submitted a form so you can reach the people that are likely to provide the most value to your business.

Reach people who previously engaged with your lead ad: Create an Engagement Custom Audience to reach people who started your Instant Form but never finished it. Capitalize on this intent to encourage them to complete and submit your form.

Best Practices to Increase Conversion Rates for Instant Forms

Use the Intro section: Include relevant information in the Intro section of your Instant Form to communicate more information about your business and what people can expect when they submit your form.

Keep your Instant Form simple: Avoid overwhelming your audience with too many questions. Keep your questions aligned to your goal, and ask as few questions as possible to make it easier for people to submit your form.

Include prefilled fields: Make it easier for people to submit your form by including questions that will prefill answers based on the information people have already given to Facebook.

Use multiple-choice questions to qualify your leads better: Ask multiple-choice questions to help you better understand or qualify your leads. Fewer multiple-choice questions result in a higher conversion rate, whereas more multiple-choice questions typically result in fewer, higher quality leads.

Limit the number of short answer questions: Requiring people to type in multiple pieces of information may prevent them from submitting the form. As an alternative, try using Multiple Choice questions to collect similar information.

Use the Thank You Screen: Customize the screen people see after they submit your Instant Form to encourage them to take another action.

Test various Instant Form lengths: Consider running an A/B test where you measure completion rates, cost per lead, and cost per conversion against the length of the form to make sure your form is meeting your business goals.

Getting the Most Out of Facebook Lead Ads

There are people out there who want to hear from your business, but filling out a long form (especially on a mobile device) can be difficult. Facebook lead ads make lead generation simple and fast for you and the ad viewer.

People can just tap on your ad, and the form pops up pre-populated with their Facebook contact information, ready to be sent directly to you. It’s a win-win situation where they get the information they want, and you generate qualified leads for your business in just a few taps.

Facebook Ads Quick Tips for Getting Started

Facebook is the world’s largest and most widely used social network, which makes it a powerhouse in the online advertising world. And whether you

10 Quick Tips to Start FB Ads
10 Quick Tips to Start FB Ads

want to acquire new customers or build brand awareness, Facebook ads help many small businesses just like yours grow.

  • Facebook is still the most used social platform, with nearly 2.45 billion monthly active users. (Facebook)
  • 71% of American adults use Facebook. (Journalsim.org)
  • An average Facebook user clicks on 11 ads per month. (Hootsuite)
  • Facebook use is prominent among high earners at 74%, and even surpasses LinkedIn, which reaches just 49% of users making more than $75,000. (Pew Research)
  • 94% of Facebook Ad revenue is from mobile, with only 6% of Facebook’s advertising revenue comes from desktop-only users. (Facebook Q2 2019 Financials)
  • The average price for Facebook Ads decreased by 6% in 2019. (Facebook Q3 2019 Earning Transcript)

Looking at the popularity of Facebook, we can assume a large cross-section of your customer base is using Facebook and Instagram every day.  To effectively market your business and increase awareness among an audience that matters to the growth of your business, Facebook Advertising needs to part of your digital marketing mix.

10 Quick Tips for Getting Started with Facebook Ads

Facebook ads should get top consideration when looking to diversify your digital marketing efforts. Facebook offers the ability to hyper-target your audience, monitor the effectiveness of your ads, and modify the ads to adjust to responses.

Here are 10 tips for getting started with Facebook ads:

1. Begin with a Clear Goal.

The two most common goals for Facebook ads are to generate sales directly from the advertisement or to increase awareness of your business and build a contact list for future marketing efforts. Everything about your ad should focus on your primary goal.

2. Choose Your Geographic Area.

Does your business only serve your local area? Don’t waste ad spend on people who would never visit your location or use your services. Tailor the regions where your ads will appear to match the area of your ideal customers.

3. Customize the Demographic You Want to Reach.

Facebook collects so much information about its users you can define your target market based on age, gender, location, interests, income, and even purchase history. Combine these criteria to match your target market when building your ad campaigns.

4. Show Your Ad to Existing Contacts.

Upload a customer or contact email lists into your Facebook ad manager. Any of the people on that list that are also Facebook members will receive your ad reminding people you are still around to service their needs.

5. Set and Control Your Budget.

You can choose to run ads continuously or for a particular period. You can also set how much you are willing to pay. Budgets are set as a maximum daily expenditure or total expenditure over the duration of the campaign, so you have full control over how much you spend on your Facebook ads.

6. Use Images in Your Ad Creatives.

Ad creatives are the part of the ad that Facebook users see. Images get far more interest and generate higher response rates than text-only ads. Consider creating multiple ads with different images to test how your audience responds. Then adjust your campaigns to focus on what works best.

7. Monitor Performance with the Facebook Ad Manager.

Ad Manager accumulates metrics on responses to your ads and presents them in comparison to goals established when the campaign was initiated. Monitor and use this information to alter and improve campaigns, change the budget or target market, or scrap an ad that is not working and start over.

8. Use Conversion Tracking to See What Works.

You can place JavaScript code on your website that tracks visitors’ actions – this is conversion tracking. That JavaScript sends info to Facebook, and then Facebook compares that list with a record of prospects that looked at or clicked on your ad. Now you know how many people viewed your website or made a purchase after seeing your Facebook ad.

9. Boost Your Facebook Posts.

Boosting a post is a different type of advertising and the easiest way to advertise on Facebook for beginners. Boosting a post makes it appear higher in the News Feed of the ad recipients, increasing the likelihood it will be seen. You can promote any post with a boost to raise its exposure.

10. Don’t Forget to Have a Call to Action – Every Time.

The purpose of any ad should be to get the viewer to do something. Don’t waste time or money by making people figure out what they should do next. Do you want them to buy something, click a link, subscribe, follow, like, click-through to a landing page to learn more? Whatever it is, you need to clearly and boldly tell them what to do in every ad.

Follow these ten tips when you get started with Facebook ads, and you’ll see a tremendous lift in how often and how much people engage with your ad campaigns.

Time to Prepare Your Local Marketing for a Comeback

Time to Prepare Your Local

Time to Prepare Your Local Marketing for a Comeback
Time to Prepare Your Local Marketing for a Comeback

Marketing for a Comeback

We are all making adjustments in response to the pandemic, and many regions of the U.S. are transitioning to a new open-but-not-too-many-inside retail model. As businesses begin to reopen, some people will be eager to get back out there and spend their money. It’s time to prepare your local marketing for a comeback to drive local traffic ready to buy.

Prepare Local Marketing for Post COVID-19 Comeback

For the past decade, marketing has been evolving with new, improved digital marketing tools and platforms. This year was forecasted to be the first year online advertising surpassed offline channels. With home-stuck consumers turning to the internet for online shopping and entertainment, actual numbers should be more significant than expected.

As coronavirus restrictions loosen, people will want to shop local. Not only will they want to minimize how far from home they travel, but they will want to support local small businesses in their community.  Your local marketing efforts should focus on getting your business’s products, services, and offers in front of ready-to-shop customers over and over again in your area.

The Global Pandemic Changed Local Consumer Behavior

With the global pandemic, consumer behavior has changed drastically. For those without significant disposable income, an economic downturn might result in a sharp decline in their propensity to spend.

While your customer base could take a “wait and see” approach, local businesses should consider their target audience and how their buying habits may change as a result of the current economic climate. Use your knowledge of customer behavior to adjust campaigns as needed quickly.

You will need to produce clear direction on how your business will proceed as customers look for easier, safer ways to do business. According to Agility PR Solutions data, “Sixty-five percent of consumers expect that company actions during this time will likely impact which brands they decide to purchase in the future.”

Focus local marketing on letting customers in your area know that you are open and what you have to offer. Still, there is more that needs to be said. Communicate what precautions are being taken with your own employees and what systems are in place to ensure a reduced risk of contamination or spread of the virus to customers.

As local market dynamics continue to change, you should continuously reassess active marketing campaigns and reevaluate current strategies. What was effective and relevant two weeks ago may not necessarily be appropriate today. And we should assume in this situation that things will continue to change for the next six to twelve months.

Prepare Now for the New Normal

Businesses should anticipate the fade of coronavirus and that a “new normal” will bring an economy where consumers’ spending habits stabilize. With that in mind, remember that your local digital marketing efforts are part of a long-term strategy. What you do today to promote your business will affect how people find your business and how people feel about you one, two, twelve months from now.

Now is when you’ll find that you will have less competition, which means it is easier and faster to get results. Plus, when you see competitors closing down or reducing their marketing, it’s the perfect opportunity to double-down. You may not see the biggest return right away, but in the long-term consistency and perseverance pay off.

Once the dust settles, and consumer behavior has stabilized, there will be a number of marketing and branding shifts that will need to be adjusted back, such as updating any of your business operations on your website, Google My Business & Bing Places.

Finally, ensure whatever adjustments you made to business listings, hours, descriptions, or phone numbers on your website or online accounts during the quarantine are changed back.

How COVID-19 Has Changed Local Marketing

How Co-Vid-19 Has Changed Local Marketing
How Co-Vid-19 Has Changed Local Marketing

Some Local markets are opening up retail and business locations in hopes of relieving the economic hardship of the coronavirus pandemic. Even without mandatory stay-home restrictions, more people are still working from home, unemployed, or homeschooling. So, how has COVID-19 changed local marketing?

Home-stuck customers translate to more time spent online for personal, professional, and educational activities. This means more eyes for longer periods of time on social media, search engines, and apps that cater to a greater need for entertainment, online shopping, and virtual connections.

Fewer people in the streets and more people online signals a need for a more digital approach than traditional offline methods of local marketing.

How COVID-19 Has Changed Local Marketing

As global and local markets grapple with how to proceed in an ever-changing public health crisis, compassion and empathy need to remain at the forefront of your marketing messaging. Evaluate the content, tone, and purpose of every possible touchpoint with customers across paid and owned channels, from Facebook ads to the automated emails you’re sending.

Ask yourself, “Is this message right for this moment?” And if the answer is no, it’s time to pivot. It’s vital during turbulent times to find ways to connect with your customers like never before. It shows empathy and keeps you relevant at a time when your business needs to project a positive presence online and in the community.

Questions To Guide Your Post-COVID-19 Local Marketing

With this pandemic, consumer behavior has changed drastically. For those without significant disposable income, an economic downturn might result in a sharp decline in their propensity to spend.

While your customer base could take a “wait and see” approach, local businesses should consider their target audience and how their buying habits may change as a result of the current economic climate. Use your knowledge of customer behavior to create local marketing plans optimized for the COVID-19 recovery period.

  1. Is your business brick and mortar, eCommerce, or both?
  2. Is your industry controlled by pandemic restrictions?
  3. Are your employees safe, and are you offering safe consumer experiences?
  4. How does COVID-19 impact your customers’ lives?
  5. How is the pandemic influencing your customers’ buying habits?
  6. What unique problems do customers have at this time that can be solved with your current or new variations of your products or services?
  7. How can you provide more value to those customers at this time?

With the answers to these questions, you can prepare responsive marketing strategies and find new opportunities to promote your business.

Where to Find Opportunities During COVID-19 Recovery

As long as coronavirus is around, at-home online and smartphone activity will increase. Your business can reach customers during this time by investing more in digital marketing, app advertising, and direct mail over your usual in-store and physical advertising due to decreases in public foot-traffic.

It’s likely to see the cost per thousand impressions (CPM) decrease across auction-based ad platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Bing Ads for pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, especially as some businesses scale back on their marketing spend during this time.

It is also worth highlighting that as some consumers choose to remain in their homes despite loosened restrictions, businesses who have figured out how to provide no-contact payment, delivery, and service fulfillment will continue to see new business.

Delivery services like Amazon and GrubHub have seen increases in demand due to their ability to provide products and services directly to the consumer’s device or door. If you are able to mimic some of those benefits with your business, make sure your local marketing is promoting the benefits of doing business locally when possible.

Let Your Customers You’re Open for Business

This is not the time to be hidden online, and local marketing is how you make sure that customers in your area who are looking to shop are spending money with you. Whether it’s local SEO, social media, PPC, or speeding up your website, make sure that your business stays top of mind and perceived as the best option in town.

While many businesses paused or reduced their advertising in the last few weeks, smart companies set strategies in place to react to the changes in consumer searches. Though it may seem counterintuitive, now is the time to double down to ensure a strong comeback for your business after quarantine. There are numerous growth opportunities for businesses able to maintain long-term marketing activities.

Best Tools for New Remote Sales Teams

Best Tools

Remote Sales Tools
Remote Sales Tools for New Remote Sales Teams

With more employees working remotely worldwide in response to the recent global crisis, we all have been forced to adjust to a new way of doing business. Small and local businesses switching to a strictly remote salesforce (even temporarily) are making the leap into unknown territory.

Whether you were already switching to remote sales or being forced to sell remotely due to the pandemic restrictions, this is an opportunity to introduce new, better processes and systems.

Tools for Highly Productive Remote Sales Teams

Throughout your transition to remote sales, there are going to processes and activities that will only work with the right tools. Here is a quick rundown of popular services you can research to support your sales team.

Team Communication Platforms for Remote Sales Teams

SLACK – an integrated messaging and chat app that connects your conversations with your online tools using a robust API that integrates with 1500+ apps making it easier to access and share files.

MICROSOFT TEAMS – host audio, video, and web conferences internally and with third-party organizations on a platform that allows you to schedule bookings, set deadlines, take notes, screen-share, upload files, and instant message. Works well with other Microsoft products but doesn’t play so nice with other tools such as Google Docs.

Video Platforms Specifically for Sales

CRANKWHEEL – zero-hassle screen sharing with no download, tailor-made for sales teams who need to connect with and convert hard-to-reach prospects. Prospects view using any browser — desktop or mobile. Add a “Call Me Now” button to your website to find an agent to call the moment your prospect requests it.

DEMODESK – screen share with prospects with no downloads, content shared on a virtual display, instant control sharing. It comes with automated scheduling, real-time sales assistance, and analytics so you can perform better demos, onboard customers faster, automate manual tasks, and scale your team.

CRM for Remote Sales Teams

SALESFORCE SALES CLOUD – CRM and sales automation software with analytics functionality that provides detailed insights on customer sales history, interactions, and social media activity with automatic lead scoring and routing.

HUBSPOT CRM – CRM and sales automation software solution that offers pipeline and contact management and leads scoring. Predictive lead scoring functionality lets you focus on high-impact leads and prioritize outreach based on a contact’s likelihood to convert to a customer.

PIPEDRIVE – CRM software to manage the sales pipeline, generate sales reports, and do sales forecasting. Categorize deals based on the pipeline stage and focus on high-priority deals first.

Remote Sales Video Messaging Tools

ONEMOB – the video engagement platform for Salesforce that gives sales reps the ability to connect with buyers via video emails. Record and upload videos, customize landing pages, and then send them from anywhere. Measure engagement with real-time tracking.

BOMBBOMB – a video email marketing platform with tools to send, and track the results of video emails. Create and send rich video emails in an Email Editor and get analytics on precisely who’s opening your emails, clicking your links, and watching your videos.

LOOM – record your screen, voice, and face to create an instantly shareable video in less time than it would take to type an email. Reduce back-and-forth typing and get your message across the first time.

Document Tracking for Proposals, Contracts & Signatures

GETACCEPT – e-sign important contracts, agreements, sales quotes, proposals, and other documents with a single click. Built-in video messaging feature that allows users to create personal video presentation with the document and a real-time live chat feature.

PANDADOC – manage contracts and documents with this collaboration solution for professionals, all with a built-in eSignature feature. Various teams can collaborate on a single document by commenting and in-activity logging. This works well with quotes, contracts, agreements, and other sales collateral.

Cloud Storage for Remote Teams

DROPBOX – popular free cloud storage, with a web interface that remains streamlined and easy-to-use but has one of the least generous free packages for new users at just 2GB.

IDRIVE – offers continuous syncing of your files, even those on network drives, and supports sharing files by email, Facebook, and Twitter. Files deleted from your computer are not automatically deleted from the server, so there’s less danger of removing something important by accident as up to 30 previous versions of all files backed to your account are retained.

Integration Tools to Connect All Your Remote Sales Tools

ZAPIER – automate everyday sales tasks in workflows by connecting over 1,500 apps using conditional logic. Collaborate with your team with several features on plans that range from free to $250 a month.

INTEGROMAT – an online automation platform with an editor that allows users to visually create automated workflows without having to touch a line of code integrates with hundreds of apps and services. It provides templates to set up workflows quickly.

AUTOMATE – integrate cloud-based apps and create complex workflows to automate marketing, sales, and business processes. Automatically generate and send invoices and track orders and payments.

Adaptability is a key characteristic of small business success, and savvy leaders are seizing these crisis conditions as an opportunity to roll out new, more productive systems. Research these tools to get your remote sales team through transitional times and back to closing deals.

Managing Productive Remote Sales Teams

Managing Productive Remote Sales Teams
Managing Productive Remote Sales Teams

Whether you are transitioning to a full-time remote sales model or it’s your usual mode of operation, you soon realize that the change is more complex than merely handing out laptops. A new set of systems, strategies, tools, and expectations are in play when managing productive remote sales teams.

How you set up your remote sales team has a profound effect on personal productivity, the efficiency of the entire sales team, and the revenue of the whole business. (No pressure!)

Your Remote Sales Team CAN Be More Productive at Home

If you’re worried, know that there is a reason to hold out hope that this is a good thing. It is possible your new remote sales teams may actually thrive with new, more productive, and less costly sales systems in place.

In fact, you might never go back to the office desk sales model. Many studies have shown that remote workers are just as, if not more, productive than in-office teams:

  • 77% of remote employees say they’re more productive when working from home. – CoSo Cloud
  • A report by Aon Consulting showed that some organizations have seen productivity gains of up to 43% after adopting virtual teams. -HBR
  • A study of 80 global software teams indicated that remote teams can outperform those that share an office (if well-managed). -HBR
  • If they could, 99% of people would choose to work remotely, at least part-time, for the rest of their careers. – Buffer

Whether you have already switched to remote sales or being forced to sell remotely due to the pandemic restrictions, we’ve got tips on how to make your remote sales team more productive.

3 Best Practices for Managing Productive Remote Sales Teams

According to HubSpot’s 2019 Remote Work Report, communication with co-workers, feelings of loneliness, and overworking are challenges that remote workers face daily. Managing a remote sales team can be overwhelming, but these tips and best practices will help you set a foundation for success.

1. Set Goals, Organize Meetings, and Stay Motivated

As you develop your remote sales team, you will need to set clear goals from the start. With goals in place, you can keep salespeople on track while working remotely and ensure that the activities you have in place support your sales goals.

You will know what to expect from your remote sales efforts, and members of the sales team will know what you expect from them.

2. Organize weekly sales pipeline meetings

Setting weekly or biweekly sales pipeline review meetings with your remote sales team have several advantages:

  • You can align on the next steps that should be taken with prospects.
  • You can run through the pipeline and make sure it’s all up to date by changing the stage or removing prospects that are no longer relevant.
  • Any pipeline or prospect issues can be identified and discussed.
  • Team members can share what’s been done since the last meeting and what’s on deck.

These meetings create transparency, foster accountability, and significantly increase communication within the team – three things that significantly impact the success of remote sales teams.

3. Create a Virtual Culture Where Team Members Can Connect

When working remotely, your sales team can easily miss the face to face connection with the rest of the team. To help alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation, introduce ways to encourage informal chats withing your team’s remote communication tools.

The first step is creating channels of communication, specifically for engagement between team members. Plan a daily or weekly recurring video call around lunch or at some dedicated point of the day, where you can chat about things that are not related to work.

An Opportunity to Create a Better System

The current business climate is putting added pressure on sales teams to generate revenue in a whole new way. However, you should see this as an opportunity to roll out new, more productive systems that keep your business going.

A productive remote sales team needs the right leadership, software tools, and processes in place to reach sales goals. There will be plenty of challenges while transitioning to strictly remote sales such as communication, social opportunities, and loneliness/isolation. But providing clear goals, practical tools, and frequent communication ensures your team is more productive wherever they are working.