If we know anything for sure about 2020, it's that change is something we now expect daily.
We are open... we are closed... we are open but with restrictions...
It can be really difficult to communicate all of these constant changes with customers. You need to make sure they have a quick and easy way to know not only if you are open, but how you are operating during the pandemic.
Sure, you can post an update on your website or even send out an email to your customer database but that is only going to get your message out to those already coming to your website or in your email database.
What about everyone else? You know, the people that might not know who you are yet...
According to a recent CallRail Report, businesses realized a 61% increase in calls from Google My Business between January 2020 (before the craziness ensued) and July 2020. This is a huge increase in a short amount of time.
Google also understands the importance the Google My Business platform was playing in the distribution of information from businesses to consumers. They've deployed new tools within the Google My Business platform to help businesses communicate with users of their platform.
You owe it to yourself to leverage your Google My Business profile to its fullest extent. Let's make sure you are up to speed on these recent changes.
Your Google My Business (GMB) profile quickly gives local people all the details they need to know about your business. Where are you located? What are your hours? Do you sell cheese?
Google is answering these questions for you, assuming you have a GMB profile, that is. Your business won’t magically appear on a Google map just because it exists, you have to tell Google you’re here. Setting up a GMB profile is easy and time well spent-especially now.
Managing a brick and mortar business that relies on local support through COVID-19 has been overwhelming to say the least. At its core, GMB is a great tool for enhancing good customer experiences and sharing timely information you want broadcasted to the masses. What was once a set-and-forget profile creation to get your pin on a map and provide stellar reviews has evolved into a real-time connection with your customer base and if you don't think you need a GMB profile, chances are you're about to reconsider.
Google My Business is an excellent way to stay engaged with customers through and after this pandemic. Your business should be leveraging all that GMB has to offer to ensure that you are giving your customers the best and most up-to-date information to keep your business relevant and thriving during these uncertain times.
Engagement with Google My Business Has Changed
Engagement and searches have shifted. Customers are no longer just checking for your address or hours, they want to know if you are open during the pandemic, especially if the community is under shelter in place orders. Searches for driving directions are down, but website clicks and phone calls are increasing. As customer behavior shifts, businesses need to pay attention, and shift as well.
Google My Business Added Relevant Tools for Business Owners
Google My Business has been adding more tools to make sure that business owners can provide consumers with the best and most up-to-date information. To make sure your most up-to-date information is listed, keep the following areas of your profile filled in:
· Business Hours
Many businesses have changed their hours due to COVID-19. It’s essential that you have your current hours listed. A new feature recently added allows you to include special hours in addition to your standard hours, like time set aside for seniors to shop, for instance.
· Business Description
Highlight unique services you are providing customers and let them know about these special accommodations. If you’re helping to minimize contact by offering curbside service or delivery as a result of COVID-19, tell everybody!
It can be uncomfortable for some people to ask what you’re doing as a business to keep everyone safe. Anticipate this need and tell them with GMB so they don’t have to ask-they’ll already know.
· Online Services
Do you provide an online service option? Perhaps your scope of services have changed over the past few months in light of what we’re learning about close contact and the risks involved. Maybe you’ve expanded your services and online presence. Maybe you started selling your goods online. Just tell Google and everyone will know. It’s like telling that lady in a small town some hot gossip on purpose so everyone will find out what’s going on without you having to tell everyone yourself.
· Safety Measures and Customer Requirements
Your business may be requiring masks, limiting the number of customers who can visit at one time, or limiting other parts of your services, and it’s important to let customers know the most current guidelines you’re following. This is also where you can highlight the safety measures your business is taking, such as temperature checks for employees, required face coverings for staff and customers alike, or to share how you and your employees are keeping things clean and sanitized.
· COVID-19 Update Post
Add this to your profile so your customers know they can count on the latest, most up-to-date information about changes in your hours, a temporary closure, or whatever else comes up that may affect normal business operations. What’s happening with your business right now? Tell Google, keep the public informed, and get on with your day.
Google My Business started launching some of these new features over the past few months based on business needs in light of COVID-19. Anticipating the needs of your customers is a great way to say “Hey, I value your patronage...let me just make things easier for you without you having to ask.” It’s as if Google is anticipating your needs to anticipate the needs of your customers-like a vicious circle of awesomeness. A socially distant elbow-bump, if you will.
These attributes will show up when customers see your listing in the Google search results along with your location and contact details. Sharing real-time information with local searchers is a great way to stay connected with your customers.
Google My Business Continues to Evolve
Many expect that Google My Business will be even more powerful post-pandemic. Users can rely on Google My Business to quickly provide current business information. It is therefore crucial to make sure your GMB information is up-to-date and you are leveraging all the features this invaluable tool has to offer.
Every business owner can benefit from using GMB to engage with consumers from a distance. Staying relevant in these ever-changing times is so important, and customers will remember how you functioned during the pandemic. If you keep your customers informed and prioritize their needs while things are difficult, they will remember. When things are calm again your business will continue to thrive.
If you’ve got questions about setting up a Google My Business profile, we’ve got answers. We’re also happy to help you set up your profile to keep you in the spotlight through these challenging times. We know how to keep your business out in front, it's what we do. Contact our marketing team for details on scheduling some time to get this conversation started.