The second national lockdown began today and due to this, you might find yourself with a lot of spare time on your hands.
So, over the next 26 days, we’re giving you our A-Z of Winter Lockdown to help you stay productive and improve your marketing.
Each day will be a different letter of the alphabet accompanied by a prompt or some ‘food for thought’ to help you promote your business and improve your marketing. Even if you do nothing else but work on our A-Z one day, at least you’ve done something productive!
Keep an eye out on our social media platforms for daily updates, but don’t worry if you miss one because they will all be added below!
Day 1 of our A-Z of Winter Lockdown is A, for AWARDS!
Nominating your hospitality business for an award (or two) is a great way to gain recognition and drum up business. If you are shortlisted or even (fingers crossed!) win the award, you could appear in both local or national media. So during lockdown, why don’t you research some local, regional or national awards to see if there’s any you could enter?
Breakfasts are a big part of hosting and it’s important you get it right. Now might be the perfect time for you to spend some time looking at your breakfast menu. During lockdown try out some new recipes, or see if you can start sourcing ingredients and breakfast options locally.
It’s important to get your finance right and there’s no time like the present to sit down and take a look at costs. Check out your competitors and see if you’re in the right price bracket. Can you cut costs by sourcing locally? Can you offer anything else for your guests to add value for money?
It’ll be very quiet over lockdown so it’s the perfect time to do some DIY and consider re-decorating! Re-paint your walls, buy new furniture, or invest in some wall art. Follow interior design accounts online for inspiration.
Have you considered email marketing? Emails are a great way to keep your customers and guests up to date and informed. Take a look at marketing platforms like MailChimp and Mailjet to set up your campaigns.
Have you got a Facebook page? If you haven’t, take some time to set up a FB page for your business. If you already have a page, check that all of your info is up to date. Remember to follow other businesses, post updates, and update your cover photo. Don’t forget to like and share posts that your audience would like. Maximise your use of the platform.
Graphics are great at brightening up your social media platforms and website. Infographics are a simple and easy way to provide information and updates. You can even design your logo and other graphics for your business using sites like Fiverr.
Day 8 of our A-Z of Winter Lockdown is H, for HASHTAG!
Hashtags ‘#’ connect social media content to specific topics, themes, events and more, making it easier for people to discover related content. You can use them to tag certain elements on your own platforms or use them to search for specific things.
Have you got an Instagram account? If not, take some time to set up an account for your business. If you have an account already, check that all your details are up to date. Try out the story feature and create highlights. Follow and tag other businesses, post amazing photos, and use the search function to find your inspiration.
COVID means plenty of updated policies and lots of jargon. Struggling to understand all the financial, legal and technical terminology? Spend an hour getting your head around it all by reading helpful online guides from experts such as Hodgson Insurance Services, Catax and Zig Zag Chartered Accountants & Business Advisers and more!
Keywords are extremely important for SEO. Choose key words that describe your business. This will make you searchable and easier to discover. Some website building programmes have handy SEO guides and prompts to help maximise your use of keywords.
Maximise your use of your social media platforms and use ‘liking’ as a way to interact with other businesses, customers and more. ‘Like’ or follow different accounts and pages. ‘Like’ comments and reviews left by guests. ‘Like’ posts and updates from other companies.
It’s good practice to measure your online performance with regards to your social media platforms and website. Spend some time measuring your analytics. Compare them to last week’s performance or last month’s. If you’re unsure about how to go about this, there are lots of handy video guides online, or check out some of the Google Analytics courses.
If you don’t already have one, add a news section to your website and/or social media platforms to keep your guests and customers informed. This will be particularly useful with COVID updates. Ensure customers know about new safety measures, government guidelines, any cases linked to your establishment and more.
This is what your marketing efforts strive to increase. It’s where visitors come directly to your website from search engine results, not from paid adverts or paid content. You can increase organic traffic to your website by using social media to promote your business, optimising SEO, email marketing and more.
Day 16 of our A-Z of Winter Lockdown is P, for POSTS!
Take some time to update your online platforms. Are you posting content that is relevant for your audience? How often do you post? What content has done well in the past? Can you post anything similar again? Add posts to highlights and try posting on the stories features.
Day 17 of our A-Z of Winter Lockdown is Q for QUESTIONS!
If you don’t already have one, add an FAQ section to your website. This will make it easier for customers to find information. Add to your FAQ section as you receive new questions from your guests or when rules and regulations change.
It’s always a good idea to interact with other businesses as well as your audience. When someone posts something you like or is relevant to your business, show support and retweet them. This could be the company you buy your sheets from or a great review from a guest, or even just something to make your followers smile.
SEO: Search Engine Optimisation. All of our A-Z tips will help with SEO optimisation. There’s a lot you can do to advance SEO. Website builders tend to have handy SEO guides so make sure to check them out, as well as handy online videos and guides.
Set up a Twitter account if you don’t have one already. Follow other businesses, use hashtags, retweet relevant content and reviews, tweet updates about your establishment, or even pictures of your property. Remember to use social media to interact with your audience.
A URL is the address for a web page. Use keywords in your URL that describe the property. You can also create shortened versions of your URL for use offline, such as in leaflets/magazines. For example: Our publishing director, Dominic, has a holiday-let called Owler’s Retreat.
Owlersretreatcamber.co.uk → ONLINE, Longer, Primary URL
Owlers.co.uk → OFFLINE, shorter link to the same page. Easier to remember used for offline mediums.
COVID is an important topic on everyone’s minds. Make sure you are communicating with your audience. Update your customers on new safety measures, rules, regulations, and what they can expect once you reopen.
Webinars are a great way to learn new things and seek support. We’ve been posting links to government COVID webinars regarding finance, schemes and more on our website. Head over to our website to find out more. Take some time to research and check out other online learning materials for business and more.
XML Sitemaps are files on your site telling search engines what you want them to look at and they can have a positive effect on your SEO. HTML sitemaps are another helpful SEO tool. Search engines use bots called ‘crawlers’ to find and index pages on your website, which helps the search engines to figure out your site’s ranking (where it appears in search engine results). There are plenty of guides and ‘How to’ videos online if you want to use this tool to maximise your SEO.
Use YouTube to your advantage. Are there any helpful video guides you can share with guests, such as how to work the fancy air conditioning in their room? Or maybe you have a creative member of staff that’s dying to create some promotional videos for your venue? You can even use YouTube as a learning tool to teach yourself about SEO, finance, tax and more! Whatever it is, YouTube is also a great platform to use for marketing.
Stay in the Zone. Hopefully our A-Z Lockdown list has helped you to get into the SEO marketing ‘Zone’. You’ve probably experienced some very quiet times over lockdown, and we hope our A-Z gave you something to focus on for a small chunk of the day. Remember though, each topic will need to be looked at again to be refreshed or updated, so make sure you stay on top of them and stay in the marketing zone.
This article was published in Issue 44 of the Luxury BnB Magazine in December 2020: