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It’s So Easy, It’s Scary: How Halloween Businesses Can Avoid Losing Customers to Seasonality

Marketers working with seasonal businesses, like Halloween costume shops, face extra challenges in managing their Google My Business listings. Improper handling of seasonal hours or a closing at one address and a reopening at another can lead to tricks instead of treats, including:

  • The creation of duplicate listings that divide ranking power, leading to lower Google pack rankings and customer loss.
  • Inaccurate Google My Business listings that misdirect and frustrate customers, resulting in lost foot traffic to a store and lost revenue.
  • Loss of valuable reviews, sapping the store’s reputation and ranking strength.

Adept management of marketing a seasonal business via the Google My Business dashboard is as easy as this:

If a Halloween Store Moves Annually…

The spookiest outcome is that marketers face a bunch of duplicate business listings which not only split up Google local pack ranking power but which also frustrate customers by sending them to false locations. To avoid this, follow these 7 smart steps:

  • Keep your business’ phone number year-round. Even if you’re only open for a month or two, it’s worth it to pay for the on-going service.
  • Update the website to be sure all pages that mention an address are listing the correct, new address. It’s wise to embed a map on a website’s “contact us” page and to write out clear driving directions so no aspiring goblins or ghouls get lost trying to find your client.
  • Research which business previously occupied the new address to which your client is moving to. Report that business as closed to Google Map Maker.
  • The day the store opens t the new physical location each year, edit EXISTING Google My Business listings to reflect the new address. Do not close old listings and create new ones. Be sure you’re editing the existing listing and that the pin marker in the dashboard map is on the right, new spot.
  • Set seasonal hours in the Google My Business dashboard the day the advertiser is in the new location. Once the season is over, remove all of the hours from the listings so that the hours field appears un-set. Then, when re-opening for business the following year, re-set the hours again. Note, all seasonal businesses should follow this procedure with their hours, even if they operate in the same spot from year-to-year.
  • The good news is, if you’ve kept the same business name and same phone number, and are editing the existing Google My Business listing, Google will typically let you keep your reviews!
  • The not-so-good news is, business moves sometimes require Google re-verification, which can hang you up. Unfortunately, there isn’t a reliable workaround for this.

You should also be updating all other local business listings any time a business moves. Remember that Google draws data from everywhere, and if they are finding listings on Yelp, Facebook, Citysearch, Bing, Factual or elsewhere with bad data, it can decrease their ‘trust’ in the validity of the information they have about a company.

Social media is a major ally in shouting out a new location. Be sure you’re using all of your customers’ preferred platforms to alert followers and friends about address changes and that the business is open.

Don’t Let Duplicate Listings Haunt You

Any business that has moved once or multiple times is liable to wind up with duplicate listings scattered all across the  web. Anytime you have more than one listing on any listing platform, representing a single business, it’s a duplicate (with the exception of multi-office campuses like colleges or multi-practitioner agencies like legal firms). You may also have a single (non-duplicate) listings on a platform which simply features incorrect data, like a misspelling of business name, or a wrong digit in a phone number.

How do you find these ghostly apparitions that are playing havoc with your clients’ rankings and traffic?

It’s so easy, it’s scary! Type your business name and zip code into a free tool like Moz Check Listing, and hey, presto, up comes a quick health check of your listings across 15 of the most important local business data platforms. You can use this data to connect directly to each problem listing and manually squash duplicates or inaccuracies.

One Last Tasty Treat for the Off-Season

So, you’ve worked like a loon during open season, you’ve scrubbed away duplicate and inaccurate listings, and removed your seasonal hours. Take a seat, put your feet up and breathe a well-earned sigh of relief. Open season is over … and now it’s time to get back to work.

Seasonal businesses’ marketing work doesn’t end with the close of season. Rather, off-season is the right time to seek ways to:

  • Earn reviews from customers whose emails you’ve collected
  • Run a customer photo contest for social media promotion
  • Study analytics to discern types of content you should be developing to earn higher or wider organic visibility
  • Poll consumers for inventory suggestions for next year
  • Build new local business listings
  • Find opportunities to sponsor or participate in local community events throughout the year that will build brand awareness, earn links, social mentions and more!

There’s a ton you can do in the off-season to ensure that you’re clients have a powerful web presence when opening day comes again. Good luck, and Happy Halloween!

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