Hey, local businesses! You customers want to find out right now if you are open, and how they can buy off you. You need a cheap, easy to use and fast way to keep your customers well informed of your operations during this pandemic. You’re in luck; Google is offering this free service as part of Google My Business. Read of for more details.
What is Google offering?
Google has updated GMB to provide businesses with a section to add critical communication for COVID-19. These Google My Business COVID-19 updates are prominently displayed on your GMB account when your business shows on Google Search and Maps. Every local business or store can (and should) take advantage of this, including:
- bottle shops
- alternative health
- organic fruit and vegetable stores
- plumbers plus lots more.
What information can I provide?
You can provide updates to your hours of operation, any temporary closures or any changes to your type of service you are providing your customers (whether you have added new services or reduced these).
Below, we’ve provided a list of tasks you can do in your Google My Business account:
1. Add a COVID-19 update post to your profile
Be sure to use the new COVID-19 post type to share timely updates and more details about what’s going on with your business. Here, you can add information about closures or reduced hours, safety and hygiene practices, gift cards or pay it forwards that support your business, and delivery services. Your COVID-19 update posts will appear prominently on your profile and be more noticeable to your customers.
1. In your GMB menu, click on “Post” and choose the “COVID-19 update” tab
2. enter in your information customers need to know during the crisis.
3. Preview your post and hit “Publish.”
2. Mark the change to delivery/takeout only
If you’re in the food industry and a customer searches for you, your Business Profile will prominently show which of these dining options you currently support:
- Curbside pickup
Let your customers know whether your food business offers takeout, delivery or curbside pickup and/or stopped providing dine-in service.
- Find “Attributes” and click “Edit.”
- Select one or more of “Dine-in,” “Takeout,” “Delivery,” and “Curbside pickup” attributes.
- Click “Apply.”
3. Update your menu
Have you reduced what you are offering, or have special menu or deals currently to attract customers? Be sure to update your menu!
- In the “Info” section of your GMB account, click on “Menu” to add or edit your menu items and then click “Apply.” If you link to an URL of your menu, select “Menu URL” to update that information instead.
Find out how to add photos of your most popular dishes using Google Maps to make the most of your GMB account.
4. Mark your business “Temporarily closed” if you are.
Have you needed to close your business temporarily? Make sure to mark your restaurant as temporarily closed on Google to keep your customers up to date.
1. In your GMB menu, click on “Info,” and on the right, you’ll see a section labelled “Close this business on Google.”
Expand that section and click “Mark as temporarily closed.”
However, if your business is only adjusting hours and not closing for a set amount of time, only use the “special hours” feature in GMB.
5. Give customers another way to connect.
Are you customers having trouble reaching you through these crazy times? Be sure to turn on messaging withing Google My Business as a way to help your customers reach you. If you aren’t reachable by phone or it’s after your business hours, messaging can help customers get the information they need.
- First, you will need to download the Google My Business app and turn on messaging.
- Once you turn on messaging, customers will find a “Message” button on your Google My Business listing where they can message you at any time.
Please note that:
• Messages will appear in the Google My Business app, and you’ll receive notifications for incoming messages.
• You can also customize an automated welcome message that customers will get when they message you.
• If multiple people own or manage your Google My Business listing, each one can message with customers.
6. Use your Business Description effectively
Use your business description to share information about your business, such as your restaurant only providing takeout or delivery, any extra services you are providing the community, or if your services are delayed or taking longer.
1. In the “Info” section of your GMB account, you can enter the information “From the business.”
Please note that you cannot include URLs or HTML, and you can’t exceed 750 characters.
These small updates by Google are handy for all businesses, not just small or local. It will help grow your online presence and also better serve your customers during the current pandemic.
This is from our current series, helping out local businesses during Covid-19 / coronavirus. Read about grants that might be available for you during this difficult time.