Update: Google for small business
Updated: Nov 10, 2020
A change from our scheduled social media Pinterest post. As we will have a great deal of small businesses back to whatever normal means at the moment as of 4 July I thought it would be a great idea to go over some specific Google My Business features which can work for small business marketing. This is a roundup of new and upcoming features for you to try out.
If you haven’t yet claimed and created a Google My Business listing, find out why you should, and how to do it in my previous guide. It’s a great starter in how to advertise your business for free and power up the search rankings.
If you are ready to go, I recommend to read this with your Google My Business info page open.
Some great new Google for small business features
Google has recently introduced some new things for you to play with on Google My Business; you can read the full blog here, I have summarised the ones that are really going to help you with your small business marketing.
Offers for new followers
You will already know about Facebook likes for your business page on there, but what is slightly lesser known is that people can follow your small business on Google too. On Google Maps (and I think this is only a mobile feature) when you click on a business, there is the option to follow it.
What they have just introduced is the ability to give a special offer to new followers. This is a great promotional opportunity for retail, beauty, and hospitality. Simply ask people to follow you on Google maps to get a great discount. It also encourages people who find you in search to do the same. And it is good for Google as it encourages you to regularly update your page with updates in the same way you do social media.
Everyone wins - although mainly Skynet, err I mean Google.
Short names and URLs
If you haven’t already, get onto your profile and claim these important marketing tools. The short name is just that, a short name. You can add it on business cards as a search option if you don’t have a website. The URL is really handy as it gives you a Google URL to your page (for example https://g.page/mihu-marketing). You can share this with people in WhatsApp and if you use your page for bookings or sales then it’s an easy option that will work.
Google for business - Local Favourites
This is the really exciting thing for small businesses. If you have read my previous article on Google My Business, you will know the importance of appearing in the top three items for your category plus an area you serve. Starting ‘in the summer’ Google will recognise and badge up businesses that are in the top 5% for their category as a ‘Local Favourite.’ That’s going to be a real boost if you get in there - which means those Google Reviews will become more important.
I’ll write the full details up when Google releases them.
Google also has some updated options for opening hours
You may already use special hours on bank, religious or personal holidays. This is a nifty little feature which allows you to set when your opening times change for a specific period of time without resetting your main opening hours. Like so:
The obvious marketing benefit for small businesses is retail. Let’s say you are one of Oxted’s great independent retailers, and want your customers to know when you are shut and when they can get to you to purchase. On the flip side, and keeping Christmas as an example, if you are a wholesaler in Purley which is open 24 hours a day at various points in December, this is a great way to keep that updated. Food & beverage businesses searching will know they can get in after closing time, if they need anything before the next day’s kitchen shift starts. Anyone looking at your opening hours will see the normal ones where you haven’t changed anything, and the amended ones where you have.
This also gives you a ready made piece of content to market your small business on social media, the more people know about your special hours in a post, the more likely they are to click through or visit. You can also post this straight away to the Google My Business page, and it will show as a standout item to anyone that clicks on you on there in the search results.
If you look on your info page, sandwiched between your normal and any special hours, you will now see ‘More hours’, this been introduced by Google to help mainly food and beverage retail businesses out during the current period, but you can also see how it’s going to be helpful going forward and I really hope they expand it.
Click on it and you will see the below image come up:
You can now add specific days and time when you do everything from allow deliveries, through to senior citizens hours (no armed forces or medical professionals which you think they could have included), happy hours, takeaway, and more.
This gives food and beverage small businesses - and to a lesser extent, retail, a great way to display complex information. The donkey work is in setting it up but once you have done so, Google will display the correct combination of what you have entered. This also gives you some more ready made content for social media and can help you engage with specific groups.
This feature is a great start, but I hope they are going to extend it with retail specific options. I would also suggest that they don’t miss a trick for services and trades.
If you are an electrician in Westerham, and closed for Easter week but still physically around for emergency call out, a 24 hour ‘more hours’ option with a tag ‘call outs’ would be a really good option.
Note: you can only set more hours if you have actually set your small business normal opening times, or else google will not display the option to you.
You can now set up offers for new followers for your Google My Business page
Short name and a Google specific URL are available to you
Coming soon is a ‘Favourite Places’ badge for the top 5% in a category - get those reviews from your customers
Google now has More Hours as a feature to list if you run different hours for different services
I hope you have found these tips useful and will help you using Google for small business. I would love to hear any comments or queries you have.
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