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During these turbulent times when people are increasingly questioning the journalistic integrity of well-established and longstanding media companies, it’s important to be forthright with your prospective and existing customers as much as possible. COVID-19 has devastated a lot of businesses over the past year, even bringing many of them to their knees. And the few that have managed to survive seem to barely be holding on by a thread. But that doesn’t mean that you should completely give up on your digital marketing efforts.
Google My Business has always been and continues to be an excellent online tool that helps e-commerce and brick-and-mortar businesses stay relevant even during these hard times. With that in mind, here are some useful Google My Business tips and recommendations for COVID-19.
Google My Business gives organizations the option of changing their location statuses. That means you can mark certain locations as “temporarily closed” as needed. Understandably, some locations of your business may be suffering greater losses than others. As difficult as it is to have to close these locations—even on a temporary basis—sometimes that’s the best thing to do for your business. But you also have to let customers know if certain locations are closing to avoid confusion and frustration. You can even select the reason for the closure (e.g. construction, COVID-19, etc.).
Keeping users fully informed about any changes you’re making to your business hours is extremely important. Customers need to know exactly what to expect of your business. Updating your hours of operation—whether you’re extending or reducing your hours due to COVID-19—is an important part of that.
Google My Business has also added a “More Hours” feature that allows businesses to add additional hours to advertise when specific services are available. This is ideal for a variety of service-based businesses. For instance, if you own a restaurant, you can set specific hours for dining in, takeout, or curbside pickup. Grocery and retail stores can also take advantage of this feature. This feature is useful, so customers know exactly what type of services to expect from your business.
Attributes is a relatively new feature that Google My Business has made available to small- and medium-sized businesses. Google updates the list of available attributes such as “black-owned business”, “women-led enterprise” and other signifiers based on trending and relevant search topics.
Attributes can be added via your Google My Business settings and can be applied to a variety of topics and industries to attract specific consumers. Choose attributes that are applicable to your business and brand messaging.
COVID-19 has gone viral in more ways than one—both in real life and virtually. It’s consistently been one of the top trending topics across the globe since March of this year without showing any signs of slowing down.
New information is constantly being released about the virus concerning symptoms, treatments, a possible vaccine, celebrities who have contracted the virus, new cases, resolved cases, regional data, government management of the virus, etc. Prospective and existing customers have a right to know what precautions local businesses are taking to slow down or prevent the spread of the viruses in their various locations.
Your Google My Business listing is the perfect place to inform users of the part you’re playing in the bigger scheme of things. What precautions are you taking to keep customers safe? Are you limiting operating hours? Are you limiting customer capacities in your stores? Are you encouraging or requiring employees and customers to wear masks and maintain a two-metre distance?
Create COVID-19-related content including blog posts, videos, social media posts, etc. to keep your customers informed. Link to these content pieces in your knowledge panel and website homepage. You should also add banners at the top of all of your webpages that link to a COVID-19 page outlining the precautions you’re taking.
In the wake of this pandemic, many local businesses have stepped up to the plate to do what they can to support their communities. When there was a shortage of PPE and hand sanitizer a few months ago, some Canadian businesses even converted their manufacturing facilities to help make, distribute, and supply these products to medical facilities that needed them the most.
Any time you make any changes to your business model, you should use every possible advertising avenue to inform your customers of these changes. Not only will customers be impressed by everything you’re doing to help essential workers during this tough time, but it’ll also encourage them to either continue or start supporting your business.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how much is a video worth? Your Google My Business listing is the perfect place to post photos and videos of your business and your employees in action. Whether you own a restaurant that serves up delicious food or you offer a specific type of service, people tend to eat with their eyes first. And that’s why the visual component of your digital marketing platform is incredibly important.
Customers want to see for themselves what your business has to offer, so don’t be afraid to either post your own pictures and videos. You can also ask your loyal customers to contribute their own photos and videos to their online reviews to give other consumers a good idea of what you have to offer.
Most importantly, consumers need reassurance that the businesses they’re supporting are taking all necessary and in-depth precautions to ensure customer and employee safety. As government guidelines continue to change daily, it’s your responsibility to update your protocols to comply with them. Tell your customers directly what you’re doing to keep them safe on your premises.
Numero Uno Web Solutions is here to help you build up your web presence and optimally manage your Google My Business account. If you need advice on how to engage more customers and build up your revenue during these tough times, our SEO experts can offer excellent Google My Business tips. Contact us today to learn more.
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