Propane retailers prepare to enhance their online presence

July 28, 2020 By    

As a result of COVID-19 and the increase in online activity, propane retailers need to pay more attention to their online presence in order to capture more customers and grow their businesses long term.

“Retailers must understand that the game has changed and that consumer behaviors and expectations will be different going forward,” says Marty Kirshner, director and energy practice group chair at Gray, Gray & Gray.

With this in mind, Richard Goldberg, president of Warm Thoughts Communication, advises propane retailers to enhance their online presence in the following ways.

Manage search engine optimization (SEO) continuously. Goldberg stresses that retailers must focus on increasing the number of keywords their websites rank for with Google, or else they’ll miss out on future opportunities to win business in the COVID-19 era. In fact, failure to actively manage their rankings may be one of the biggest mistakes that propane retailers make.

Update websites to help stand out more against competitors. “Retailers should keep pace with current ‘mobile first’ design features, video and other elements their prospects are regularly seeing elsewhere,” Goldberg says. “They should also look at adding online bill pay and focusing on how well their websites turn interest into leads.”

Use social media to effectively grow brands. Aside from branding, social media should also be utilized to advertise, connect with customers and shape public perceptions. Goldberg believes there’s a strategy to all of it too: what’s posted, how often, when certain posts should be boosted and how to track effectiveness (particularly driving greater engagement with Facebook posts so that algorithms lead to more views). He suggests retailers should concentrate on creating successful Facebook pages first, and then dedicate more time to other social media outlets.

Improve reputation management. Retailers should focus on receiving as many five-star reviews on Google and other sites as possible. Goldberg adds that there are many effective ways to do so, along with responding well to negative reviews.

Consider paid advertising on Google and Facebook. Goldberg has found that, when compared to traditional media like direct mail, newspapers and radio, propane retailers receive more “bang for their buck” when they advertise on Google and Facebook. “All ads track back to retailers’ websites and landing pages, so they really need to be designed to impress and convert interest to action,” he says.

Featured image: Warchi/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

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