Why SEO Matters More Than Ever For Small Businesses During The Slow Season
Containment measures to curb the rapid spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) across the globe has led to the disruption of vital supply chains, resulting in a global economic downturn.
This downturn has hit many small businesses very hard especially those in specific industries, and the non-essential category.
As some of these businesses shut their doors in line with COVID-19 orders or experience low foot traffic by consumers due to mass public fear of the COVID-19 and shelter in place protocols, they are witnessing a sharp drop in sales and dwindling cash reserves.
With sales and revenue taking a plunge, businesses must look for effective and inexpensive ways to still promote their products and services, and also position themselves to bounce back when normalcy returns.
This is where SEO comes in. SEO which stands for Search engine optimization refers to the set of on-page and off-page optimization techniques that you implement to optimize your website and its content to allow for easy crawling and indexing by search engine web crawlers.
It is Affordable
A Hubspot 2016 survey on the average monthly retainer for 750 SEO agencies revealed that 28% charge between $2,500 to $5,000 while 21% charge between $1,001 to $2,500.
When you look at these SEO costs from an SEO agency, they might seem pretty expensive, but if you compare it to the costs of advertising on traditional marketing channels like TV or radio, SEO is a good deal.
For these average SEO costs, your business gets to enjoy a continuous marketing strategy that is not dependent on any timeframe or specific conditions for its implementation.
Even minimum SEO practices like having quality page content, good URL structure, the use of proper title tags, etc., can have a huge impact on your website’s ranking on organic search results.
The complete and proper optimization of your website will increase its ability to reach the top of organic search results and attract qualified web traffic.
Even if there is a seasonal downturn across your industry, consumers who are not in your immediate area might still be in need of the products you offer. And optimizing your site for search engines will ensure that your business is front and center of their requests.
This is an incredible tactic especially if your business has the ability to make sales online. However, if you are a local service-based business, it may be hard to deliver your services to consumers in a distant location.
A smart move will be for you to formulate a new service that suits that particular season for promotions to your local target market. If you want your business to survive during the slow season, you want to capture as much qualified traffic as possible. That is where SEO comes in and compared to traditional advertising it is more cost-effective.
It is Flexible
Regardless of the type and size of your business, the flexibility of SEO as a process plays a key role in its survival, growth, or expansion, particularly during a slow season.
For instance, as a small business, you can research & use long-tail keywords specific to your industry & location that have a low search volume and competition in all your web pages.
These keywords are easy to rank for and will direct web visitors who are most likely to convert into leads, subscribers, and leads to those pages on your website.
This allows you to reach the peak of success because you are adopting and implementing an optimization technique that appeals to customers within the specific area your business serves.
By so doing you are able to reach and serve a pool of customers closest to you for regular business transactions.
This will be the strong foundation you need to keep you afloat, survive during the slow season, and come out strong.
It Gives your Small Business a Competitive Edge
The consumers you reach do not necessarily become customers right away. Sometimes, they need to have multiple encounters and interactions with your brand before the conversion happens. An important technique during this period is to write and publish informative blog posts on your products and services. This serves as a vital part of your SEO strategy but also helps you to build trust, breed familiarity, and improve brand awareness. After several interactions with your brand, some consumers will be more willing to convert when on the lookout for a business like yours near them. Doing this gives your small business a competitive edge over other brands who may not be taking the same steps you are, to generate brand exposure, therefore, they remain relatively unknown among consumers.
It is Essential for Success
The practice of SEO is essential for the success of your small business regardless of whether it is a slow or peak season.
During slow business months, it is common for most small businesses to halt their digital marketing efforts to cut costs. However, this is only a short-term solution that can cause more harm than good to their SEO & online presence over time.
With some specific SEO practices, you can improve your web traffic even during slow business months. For instance, you can formulate a new product or service that is in line with that specific season. Thereafter you can create and optimize content for those products & services to publish on your business website.
A lot of people, within and outside your service area are using search engines to search for products & services related to what your business offers.
But for you to reach them, you need to properly optimize your website for search engines. Only then will you be rewarded with a higher ranking on organic search results to receive qualified web traffic.
Now that you understand some reasons why SEO matters more than ever for small business during the slow season, I will discuss a few ways that you can use digital marketing to boost your small business (SMB)
Capitalize on Data
Data-driven marketing simply refers to the collection and use of authentic and reliable data to drive your digital marketing decisions. Data provides you with valuable data that you can leverage to make predictions, run tests, and optimize your marketing actions to match consumer’s demand. Gone are the days of using the “spray and pray” method – in which you spread your marketing across different channels & then pray that it reaches the right audience. Doing this is a major miss in today’s marketing space and most especially during a slow season.
It is imperative that you know about your ideal audience including their preferences, their engagement and interaction with your brand at different touchpoints (if you are using cross-channel marketing strategy), and decision-making behavior.
By so doing, you can segment your audience specifically for personalized marketing and retargeting. Not only will you reach people with the right product & message, but optimize your budget spend and receive the best bang for your buck.
In today’s marketing environment, generic marketing strategies are not really as effective. That’s why you need data on your ideal target audience to meet your potential consumer demands and create personalized experiences for them.
But kickstarting data-driven marketing is not an easy feat especially if you are lacking in experience and expertise. There are different parts to the process such as
- Collecting the Data: this involves the tools to collect the data, types of data, and metrics that are relevant to your brand and reliability of the data.
- Understanding and making sense of the collected data to evaluate it, create hypotheses around it, and optimize it for your marketing campaigns.
- Communicating and reporting on the Data that you have collected.
For an effective data-driven marketing strategy, it is best you contact an SEO agency. Using their expertise and experience in the field, they can shape your SEO strategy using well-informed data to deliver the best possible results for your small business.
Video marketing is also another incredible strategy to reach, engage, and convert viewers into consumers or leads.
According to a 2019 video in business benchmark report by Vidyard, 71 percent of marketers confirm that videos convert better and far outperform other digital marketing content. This is most probably because videos are memorable, attention-grabbing, engaging, drive more traffic, and improve brand recall.
However, video marketing is not easy, nor is it a simple task. With people’s growing control over what they watch and how long they watch it, the faster you capture a viewer’s attention and communicate your message in a video the better & more effective it will be.
For this to happen, you need to focus on the quality of your video, the duration, and your message.
A slow season does not have to mean the end of sales or a halt in your business operations. With a solid and effective SEO strategy, you can prepare for a slow season and position your small business to weather the storm and emerge strong. If your target audience is local, then you should consider partnering with an SEO agency that offers local SEO services. By so doing, you will have direct access to a team of experts who can tailor an SEO strategy that suits your specific business needs.