It may seem like a strange time to talk about how to grow your marketing agency, given that the marketing budget is usually one of the first casualties when cuts come down the pipe. In the fallout from COVID-19, even Google is slashing its marketing budget by half for the remainder of 2020.
If you’re experiencing a loss of revenue due to clients pulling back on spending (or worse—going out of business entirely) as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, you are not alone. For many, it’s all about survival right now.
And yet as we look to phased-in reopening and the rebuilding of the world economy, the demand for marketing agencies capable of helping to rebuild business—particularly at the local level—has dramatically increased. Have a look at how searches for “local SEO” have trended over the last 12 months:
We did an analysis recently of how local marketing keywords are trending by industry and one thing is clear: consumers are, more than ever, looking for products and services close to home. Businesses of all kinds are scrambling to connect with and engage nearby buyers, who are facing the prospect of an extended period without travel.
Local SEO offers marketing agencies a massive opportunity to not only build their own business but to help clients through COVID-19 recovery quicker and more effectively, as well.
We asked Pat Fallon, Director of Agency Partnerships here at Rio SEO, to share his tips for marketing agencies looking to recoup lost business and even grow revenue in this critical post-pandemic phase. Here are his top recommendations:
1. Help your clients protect their local listings profile.
The accuracy of location data has never been more important and this is an area where we’re seeing a lot of brands struggle right now. There are so many factors in play in the current local business environment:
- Store hours may be changing far more frequently than usual as locations adjust to heightened sanitization requirements, issues around staffing, and more.
- Some locations may be temporarily closed, yet need the fastest possible restart when they are able to reopen.
- Brands may have launched new online ordering options or a dedicated line for phone orders in various locations.
- Consumers who are used to shopping online may be experiencing shipping delays and looking for curbside pickup or local delivery options that weren’t in the market for prior to COVID-19.
These are just a few examples of the countless issues wreaking havoc with local listings accuracy. The stakes are high; brands need to maintain the search engines’ trust in their listings to increase online visibility, win new business and protect existing customer relationships by providing the seamless experience stressed-out consumers demand right now.
Your marketing agency can expand to provide local listings management without increasing your workload or investment in new technology or team members, with the help of a local marketing partner. A local marketing partner provides both the software and the expert service, acting as an extension of your team to ensure all of your clients’ listings are accurate, complete, and optimized for maximum discoverability.
2. Offer a free local audit to determine the impact of COVID-19 on your clients’ local presence.
The Coronavirus pandemic has dramatically altered consumer behavior and we don’t yet know which new habits may stick. Companies are finding that their target market may have changed entirely, and their marketing mix and strategy need to adjust as a result.
Offer a free local audit to evaluate local presence and highlight opportunities for optimizing local listings, reviews, and ratings. These insights can help drive higher local rankings, improved online visibility, greater conversion from search, and more. You can help your customers understand how they are being presented on Google, Bing, and other search engines; how their reviews profile is impacting their visibility; where each location is appearing in local organic and Map Pack search results, and more.
The good news is, you don’t have to do anything new to generate these insights for your clients. You’re welcome to request a free local search audit from Rio SEO on behalf of your client or talk to us about how we can help produce these insights across your accounts.
3. Assist clients in tapping into real-time, voice-of-customer insights.
It’s all-hands-on-deck at companies across the country as businesses are forced to make sweeping changes, from operations to customer service to fulfillment and beyond. As they are pivoting quickly, experimenting, and attempting to find the best way forward—and as entire teams are still growing accustomed to working together remotely—brands are finding their resources stretched thin.
Help your clients measure and evaluate the changes they are making with custom local SEO reporting. Now more than ever, brands need to be able to see at a glance how consumers are feeling and behaving as they interact across websites, networks, search engines, and other touchpoints. Provide your clients easily accessible, understandable, comprehensive reports that can include:
- Local listings accuracy
- Local rankings
- Online reviews ratings, volume, and sentiment
- Yelp knowledge
- Citation and conversion tracking
Right now, agencies have an opportunity to reevaluate where provider dollars are going. You can help clients through COVID-19 recovery by bringing them the best value solutions and the proven local SEO experience they need to succeed in whatever the “new normal” looks like.
Learn more about how Rio SEO helps agencies like yours build new business and expand service offerings with expert, white-label local SEO technology and services. Reach out and let’s see how we can help.