21 October 2020
By Tom Collins
In this era of COVID19 isolation we don’t get out much, so happenstance meetings tend to take place in the only place people now go to; the supermarket.
The aisles of necessities have become the place to meet, so much so that I expect to see first dates taking place soon in my local Lidl/Aldi/SuperValu.
Today, I got chatting to a local businessman who runs a shoe shop – as we were next to the Dolmio Pasta sauce – He told me the latest set of restrictions require non-essential retailers to close, and footwear shops are – alas – non essential. However, he had trawled through the wording of the regulations and found that in this second lockdown there was scope for continuing to trade if a shop can offer ‘click and collect’.
His shop has a website, but it’s a brochure affair with nothing dynamic on it.
In the bricks and mortar world a shoe shop becomes successful by being in a location with high footfall, and free parking, but in the online world how can the shop standout? It needs a bigger website.
Here are some easy-to-do things you can do to stand out online:
1. Content is king
Let’s assume you already have a website. Here’s what you can do: just start by updating and extending your staff profiles, publish blog posts, flesh out the list of services you provide. That’s doable, isn’t it? You can do that right now, you don’t need a designer and your wording need not be Shakespeare, so go do it… I’ll wait…. [5 minutes later] done?… great… now go back and spellcheck it…. [5 minutes later]… fab!
The more words you have online, the more you increase the chance of getting found by searchers who use those words in their Google search. You are not gaming the system, this is how Google is supposed to operate! Just like in the movie if you built it they will come.
Video above: If you build it, he will come” (not actually “they”) is the famous line from the classic 1989 US film “Field of Dreams”. A corn farmer in Iowa, Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner) hears a mysterious voice one night in his cornfield urging him to build a baseball diamond in his cornfields, saying “If you build it, he will come”.
2. List your business on local directory listings
Your business is probably already in the Golden Pages (or Yellow Pages for our non-Irish readers), and you are probably paying around €200 per year. That’s ok, now how about getting yourself listed in the many free business listing websites. I do not recommend paying for these, just use the free ones.
3. Encourage your customers to leave reviews
One business that has done well during the COVID19 lockdowns is Amazon. Volumes have been written on why Amazon is so successful. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has been the world’s richest person since 2017 Part of its success comes from the ability of potential purchasers to read reviews about products. Your business might not be large enough to have product reviews, but it can certainly have general reviews about your speed of postage, or ability to reply to emails quickly.
You can secure reviews on Facebook and Google Business or TrustPilot. Don’t worry about negative reviews, after all a listing with only “positive reviews” seems to good to be true. Some negativity actually boosts credibility. T
4. Pick good headlines for blog posts
But be careful, something like ‘Cocaine Cowboys’ sounds exciting as a headline but it’s not actually what people are searching for. Think of what your customers are searching for. If you have a shoe shop you will have an idea of the keywords. Many people will be searching for a particular brand and model of shoe, so put your catalogue online and have a separate page for each item stuffed full of details, words, model numbers, even the EAN.
5. Ensure your physical address is listed
This adds legitimacy to your site. If you are paying rent and rates on a building or unit you might as well get more bang for you buck as it lifts you above your address less or ‘PO Box’ competitors.
6. Consider advertising with TheCork.ie – The Online Newspaper for Cork, Ireland
We can write a profile of your business on this very website – www.TheCork.ie. See www.TheCork.ie/advertise/