The COVID-19 pandemic changed how people connect with their local businesses. Walk-in traffic has decreased, and online searches have increased. It's never been more important to be present online.
If you already have a Google My Business profile, it's important to keep that information accurate:
The shutdowns hurt many industries, and it's a long road to recovery. What matters most right now is maintaining your online presence so customers can find you. Once they do, communicate clearly so there's no misunderstandings. Answer the phone when they call. Respond to their messages on time. Give them every reason to trust your business in these uncertain times.
As with any turbulent year, there will be winners and losers. Businesses have already shut down for good, don't let yours be one of them. Take this opportunity to focus on your web presence and impress your customers with quality results.
Small business performance has already changed during 2020. Chances are, many of these changes will be permanent. Essential businesses will always be there, but the ones who weather the storm will take more market share. When everything goes back to the new normal, will you be in a stronger position than before?
Every business needs customers. In fact, that's usually what separates a business from a hobby. Focusing on personalized customer interactions as a trusted advisor is an important step to take. This will help your sales process go smoother, and help your business grow.
The best digital marketing in Baltimore will bring more people to your door (or phone these days). But all the leads in the world won't do you any good if you can't turn them into customers. This has little to do with your product or service. How you treat people and how they see you matters far more.
Ensure you understand your client's issue before recommending a solution. Overselling makes all service-people look bad. That's why so many people are afraid to call about a problem, they think they'll have to take out another mortgage to cover the repair bill. Of course, high quality solutions cost. But let's make sure to listen to our customers before pushing our product. Asking open ended questions is a great way to start.
One of the strongest ways to convert a new lead into a new customer, is to let them convince themselves. Even if you know the exact solution to their problem, they'll think you weren't listening to them if you rush it. You're probably right, but it won't matter, because they don't feel heard. Listen to their concerns, and reframe their responses to show you were paying attention.
You may be thinking "I didn't get into this business to worry about everyone's feelings all the time" and you're right (me neither). It only takes a few pauses, and a few more questions to make this change. Once they see you as someone to help them with this exact concern, you're good. If they think of you as another serviceman pushing your expensive product, you're out.
A lot of customer complaints don't have anything to do with the result of the work. They often don't have anything to do with anything! By changing how the customer sees you in your role, you make sure you're on the same side. "We both want to fix this problem, so let's figure it out together."
Creating your Google Business Profile is a good first step for any local business. This is especially true if you serve customers in a specific area, or have a single storefront. After you create your business profile, you can manage that profile in Google My Business. Your Google Business Profile and Google My Business aren't the exact same thing, but work together.
It's important to enter accurate business information to avoid confusing potential customers. If you profile says you're open for business on Sundays, but a new customer finds the door locked, that's no good for anyone. Opening hours are especially important to update if they've changed due to COVID-19.
We recommend completing your business profile information to 100%. Google likes it when business owners use every aspect of the service. Also, giving customers more information about your company would help them take the next step. Once they decide to contact you, make sure your street address and phone number are correct. You can add photos, list products for sale, and respond to customer questions through Google My Business as well. There are a lot of functional options for different business types to use.
Your GMB is a great first step, but it has its limitations. Your profile is mostly for local searches. If someone is looking for a tow truck in Towson, MD they want to find one nearby. As such, it has limited reach. This might be ok for some smaller businesses for now, but isn't the last step on your digital marketing journey. Think of your GMB profile like renting an apartment. It's a good start, somewhere to live and work, but without many options. Your own website is more like buying 40 acres (and a mule!). You can do anything you want on your own business website. More pictures, fancier contact forms, advertising, custom code, more copywriting, and special offers. Because it's your site, your own digital asset, the sky is the limit!
So what now? Elmtree Digital can help set up your Google Business Profile and get things started. Part of Google's verification process is to send a postcard to your listed business address. This can take 1-2 weeks, so you'll have to be patient. Once they verify your profile, we're off to the races. We recommend looking into our One Click service suite for a website build at the same time. It's the perfect two step strategy to start building your web presence. As always, let us know if you have any questions!