Many of us are still facing hardships due to the coronavirus. In the wake of the pandemic, Google My Business and Google Maps have been vital with helping businesses stay afloat.
Many states had intended on reopening once coronavirus cases began to stabilize, but recent spikes in cases have halted plans and small businesses are once again left struggling. Small businesses need to adapt and use every tool at their disposal to keep doors open and continue to bring in business.
In order to remain CDC compliant, many restaurant have begun to offer services they have never offered before, including takeout services and curbside pickup. Certain restaurant have also been forced to modify the way they seat customers to ensure proper social distancing.
It hasn’t been an easy transition, but business owners are doing what they can to not only keep customers and employees safe, but to also bring in continued business.
Google My Business has been a major help with bringing in new business during these difficult times, and for many, it has become their most valuable tool in generating traffic and sales.
Local business owners use Google My Business to stay afloat
Many businesses are already hard-pressed to spend money on online advertisements, but the best part about Google My Business is that it’s free.
Google My Business (GMB) is a free, online business profile listing that allows business owners to easily manage and share details about their business with the public. This includes key information such as contact information, a website link, photos of their location, services and products, and much more.
There are people who are eager to go out and eat at their favorite restaurants again, but finding information online isn’t always easy.
Common questions include: Which local restaurants are open? Can I dine in at this location? How many people can I bring in? How have hours changed due to coronavirus?
Not being able to find proper answers to these questions is turning potential customers away, and often times driving them to competitors who are properly using their GMB accounts.
Due to the virus, Google has made it easier to share key information about your location through various ‘attributes’, which can be seen in the red box below.
A Google My Business account is useful because it displays your profile through both Google Search and Google Maps. As the most used search engine, having your business show up when it counts is a great way to attract organic traffic to your business.
Using GMB to receive assistance and keep customers informed
Navigating to your dashboard on Google My Business you’ll notice an information box pertaining to COVID-19. The box provides you with excellent options and tools you can use to optimize your GMB profile and bring in some extra cash flow to your business.
GMB – Update online appointments
Not every business will have the ability to provide online appointments, but for those of you who do you’ll be able to provide a link that customers can visit to set one up. Other service updates include providing online classes and online estimates to customers. Your options are dependent on the type of business you run.
This is great for businesses who‘be transitioned to online services in order to remain open, and customers can now easily sign-up to your services through your GMB profile.
GMB – Update business hours
This one’s pretty self explanatory; if your hours have changed due to the virus, then you’ll want to make sure your hours accurately reflect any changes. Maybe you’ve had to cut a few days out of the week due to staff shortages. Maybe you’ve begun to open one hour earlier to give seniors the ability to shop without compromising their health. Whatever the reason for your hour changes, you’ll need to make sure your profile is updated with the right hours.
GMB – Post your COVID-19 update
How do you let customer know the reason why you’ve begun to open an hour earlier? Through a GMB post! Share important information about your business by writing a short post about recent changes and updates. Bed Bath & Beyond in San Marcos did a great job with their post.
You can include any information you’d like here, and it’s a great place to answer common questions your customers may have about your business.
GMB – Get support from customers
Although many customers are eager to go out and shop, not all people feel comfortable leaving their homes. Many business also remain closed and are limited in the ways they can bring in money. Because of this, gift card sales have been a great way to generate immediate cash flows into a business.
Customers want to support their favorite, local businesses and they often have trouble knowing how. Not everyone follows your Facebook or Twitter account for updates, and many rely on the first thing that shows up on Google for answers. Because of this, Google has made it easy for business owners to link out to both gift card and donation pages, whether on your personal site or on a supported partner site.
These support options are then displayed under your business profile in search, making it easy for customers to directly help you.
Many small businesses are not taking full advantage of their Google My Business account in order to bring in more traffic to their business. Not having proper information can deter business and can even push potential customers towards competitors. There’s no reason not to take advantage of this free platform, especially because almost everyone uses Google Search. If you need help creating your own GMB account for your business, be sure to read our blog on setting up your account. If you need assistance to properly utilize the tools GMB provides you, or if you have questions regarding best practices on GMB, feel free to reach out! We’re also currently offering a special coronavirus marketing relief package to help local businesses owners jumpstart their business reopening. You can learn more about that here.