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?
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!