Last week I met with one of my clients and it was the first time we had met in her new location.
She recently moved her business from a small downtown location to a much larger space on the outskirts of the city, in an effort to not only have more room, but get more drive-by and tourist traffic. And so far it seems to be working out well.
As we were analyzing her online presence, it got me thinking about the things we need to do when we move our businesses. Now I’ve never moved a business, but in the 29 years since I graduated from college, I’ve had 12 different homes. I’ve done my share of letting my friends, the post-office, magazines, and credit card companies know that I was moving.
But when you move your business, especially if you have a brick and mortar retail or office space where you get visits from clients or customers, what do you need to do? You’ll most likely have no problem remembering the offline “change of address” routine, but what do you need to do online? Here’s a checklist to help you out with your virtual move:
Oh, before you go through this list, you should use it as a form of triage. When you physically move a house or business, you generally go through a process where you throw a lot out because you have determined that you no longer need it. We tend to accumulate things over the years, and moving gives us a chance to purge. Do the same with any and all of your online properties. If you discover that neither you or your customers are using a specific social platform, perhaps that’s an indication that you shouldn’t be there. Use a move as a time to reevaluate what you are doing online.
1. Website – Have you changed your address throughout your website, including the “Contact Us” or “Visit Us” pages? And just as important, have you used your website as a way of notifying people of the physical move? Quite often your website is the first exposure people have to your business.
Additionally, while this may take time, you should update any pictures you have of your location. If I’m heading to a new business, particularly on a busy road with a lot of other businesses, the physical address may be less important than visual cues. While touting your new location, you should include pictures of the new building or even any signage that you have outside.
2. Facebook Business Page – Again, not only should you be using your Facebook business page to let people know about the move, but you’ll need to change any “permanent” information on your info page. Not only do you need to change the address, but if you use the map feature, make sure that is accurate as well.
Plus, if your physical move has created any other changes, make sure you note them, as well. This might include a change in your parking status. My client went from street parking to having an off-street lot, which can be a real draw for some customers. And, if some of your customers use public transportation, has the bus route changed? In general, this is a good time to go over all of the information on your info page to make sure it accurately reflects the reality of your business. Also, note any changes in hours of operation.
And remember, you might even have some place pages that were created inadvertently by your customers during a check-in on Facebook. Now’s a good time to get those under control, claim them as your own, and make sure that the information is correct, and merge them with your existing “official” page.
3. Twitter – Check out the info on your Twitter page and your profile. If you have your address or other contact info there, make sure it is correct. And certainly, like other platforms, you should be using Twitter to announce the move well in advance, as well as the new location. And if the images on your page or your avatar are shots of your location, you’ll need to update them as well.
4. Geolocation Sites – If you’re using Foursquare, Gowalla, or any other geolocation or gaming sites, make sure you update profile information and images. If you are active in offering rewards or badges, a change in location is a good time to offer something new and worthwhile as an enticement to get your existing customers to visit your new location, as well as draw in new customers.
Again, as is the case with Facebook places, these accounts may exist as the result of customer check-ins. Take the time to claim, review, update, and optimize them.
5. Map and Review sites – Take a long hard look at your Google Places entry, as well as entries on review sites such as Yelp or Urban Spoon. And remember that other search engines like Bing and Yahoo also might have entries for your business. You might not even be aware of the fact that they exist, but they are free and you can claim them. Take advantage of what these services have to offer and make sure all of the information is correct, including your new address. All of those sites can be fully optimized to make your business more findable.
6. LinkedIn – Make sure both your personal profile and company profile are properly updated. Don’t have a company profile? Now might be the time to add that!
7. Paid Directories – Do you pay to be on any directory sites like Yellow Book? You’ll need to make sure those are updated as well, but again, make sure you are getting your money’s worth out of those directories.
8. Other sites – Have you created a business page on Google +? If so, make sure your information is updated and correct. Or perhaps you’re on Quora. Think through any accounts you have created for your business. If you have them, update them, though if you aren’t using them, perhaps you should just delete them, rather than have them just sitting there.
9. QR Codes – Do you have any QR Codes out there that connect to a map or address listing for your business? Make sure those are updated. In fact, since you will most likely be putting a “We’ve moved” sign in the window of your old location, consider including a QR code that points customers to a map of the new location.
10. Online ads – Have you purchased any ads on Google, Facebook, or even on other sites? If those include your location, make sure you update the information.
11. Email Signature – It’s so commonplace that you might overlook it, but your email signature file will most likely need to be changed. Some signature clients, such as the one I use (Wisestamp) also allow you to enter other information. You can include a message about the move as part of the sig file.
12. Offline media – Don’t forget your offline marketing and advertising efforts. If you are using any broadcast, print, outdoor, or any other media, use those media to announce the change, but also make sure any of your longer-running ads are updated with the new information.
13. Printed in-house materials – And of course don’t forget your business cards, invoices, letterhead, or any other materials that end up in the hands of vendors or customers. All of those will need to be changed to reflect the new location.
Finally, remember that it doesn’t even have to be a physical change that triggers this check-list. If you ever just change the name of your business, you’ll need to do go through all of these as well.
Have I missed anything? What other sites or online properties will you need to update?
- 4 Steps To A Successful QR Code Campaign (v3im.com)
- Small Business Tip Tuesday: Your Business and the New Facebook (inklingmedia.net)
- Best of 2011: The Key to Growing Your Facebook Fan Base (inklingmedia.net)
- Five Tools to Prep You for 2012 (spinsucks.com)