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Claiming and managing your Google My Business Page

When information about your business changes, update it with Google My Business. Keeping your account up-to-date makes sure that Google has the most accurate information to share with potential customers. In some cases, Google may not accept changes if they believe they’re inaccurate. Here are the types of business information that you can update with Google My Business:
  • Business hours
  • Physical address (If you change your address, you’ll need to complete the verification process again to confirm the new address.)
  • Phone number
  • Category (What kind of business do you run?)
  • Website
  • Pictures

You can also add new businesses to Google My Business. Use this link to manage your Business Profile

Video Tutorials to support you:

Getting Found Online (and using Google to help you)

How to get found online (with a little help from Google)

 

If your business is slow right now, then you can make efforts to ensure you get found online. While people may not be going out, they ARE on their devices

and likely doing research on their next big goal (whether it's a home renovation or a new exercise regime).

And with so many people self-isolating and scrolling idly, you might be wondering, “how can I get found online?”

One really useful tool thing you can do is create and optimize your Google My Business profile.

Google My Business is a service Google provides for its users.  Business owners can create a profile with pictures, hours, descriptions, and relevant search terms.  When a Google user searches for a location or type of service that relates to your business, your business will show up in the results.

What does “optimizing” mean exactly?

I know, “optimizing” sounds like you are about to perform brain surgery on a robot while launching into outer space.

Good news: it’s way simpler than that!

It just means making sure your information on your Google My Business is up-to-date and thorough.  When you’ve included all the information a customer could want, your Google My Business listing is officially “optimized.”

Why care about optimizing your Google My Business profile?

According to a Google Internal Data Report, 51% of Google searches are No Click Searches (Search Engine Land). These are search results that don't lead to a click on a website.  In other words, people are using the information that they see on the Google search page.  If that information isn’t yours, they will not go looking for you.  On top of that, 93% of local searches feature Google My Business listings before normal search results.

Maybe you have created a Google My Business profile already.  But have you optimized?

By adding a few key elements, you will increase the likelihood that Google will show your business in local search results and help you get found online by your ideal client.

Tips and Tricks for your Business Information

Business name

  • Use the same business name as on your signs, business cards and legal documents.
  • Do NOT spam your business name with cities, search terms, taglines or anything else. It is against Google’s terms of service and could lead to listing problems or suspension in the future.

Business categories

  • Make sure the primary category best represents your business. It is the only one that people see on your business listing.
  • Take advantage of additional categories and add as many as apply to your business.
  • Do NOT use categories if they do not directly apply to your business.

Business location

  • Only enter a physical address if customers actually visit your place of business.
  • Use a free tool like Smarty Streets to make sure your address is properly formatted.
  • Put the physical street address in the first line and put suite numbers in the second line.

Service area

  • Only enter this if you serve customers at their location (service area businesses). Some businesses serve customers both at their place of business and at their customer’s location.
  • Enter the cities, postal codes or regions that you service. Note that no matter how big a service area you set, it is still unlikely to appear in a search result greater than 20 miles away.

Business hours

  • Enter regular hours of operation when customers can actually do business with you.
  • Add special hours for holidays, special closures, or other times when your business is not open. See How to Set Holiday Hours in Google My Business, Yelp and Bing for more information.
  • If you are a seasonal business, remove all operating hours when closed, and re-enter them when you open again.

Photos and Videos

Photos, videos and virtual tours are an important part of your Google My Business listing. First, they represent your business to potential customers so you want to give them the best impression possible for your business.

According to Google’s own data, “Businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location from users on Google, and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t have photos.”

You also want to upload your own images so that your images have a better chance of displaying on your listing instead of images that Google users upload.

Finally, photos, videos and virtual tours encourage engagement with your listing and engagement with your listing is a key ranking factor on Google.

Business Descriptions

The business description is an open text area that you can use to tell potential customers more about your business. It appears in both desktop and mobile web search, but does not appear on the Google Maps app.

  • Go to your listing in Google My Business.
  • Click “Info” and then click “Description”.
  • You can write a description of up to 750 characters, however, only the first 244 characters display on your Google listing unless the visitor clicks “More”.

Recommendations for business descriptions:

  • Think about what you’d want your customers to know most about your business. Pretend they know nothing about you.
  • Use the most important terms that potential customers might be looking for, but do not keyword stuff. It is not believed that Google uses the description field as a factor in search rankings. However, a well-written description could help convert someone looking at your listing into a customer.
  • Don’t use all-caps, emojis or other “gimmicky character use”.
  • Do not focus on promotions, prices or sales. Tell people about your business instead.
  • Do not use any URLs.

 

Completing the information in these three categories will help you get found.  Start with them and then build on it.

Believe it or not, this is actually only a sampling of the things that can be done to optimize your Google My Business profile.

Want more?  Just reach out and our Kawartha Lakes Digital Service Squad can help you out!

 

Download the Google My Business Checklist to get started!

 

Note:  Due to COVID-19, Google has been slow to update and approve changes made to Google My Business profiles. We recommend sitting down and doing several update at once, because you may not be able to make new edits to your Google My Business profile for several days afterwards while you wait for your changes to be approved by Google.

Now's the Time to Add Value for Your Customers (+ examples)

Image of Now's the Time 

If you're seeing red right now as the COVID-19 pandemic plays a large role in your business' revenues, well, we hear you.

While you likely want to go radio silent as you navigate through your next steps, this could be a chance for you to step up your game and find a way to add value to your customers.

If you're losing foot traffic or reservations or orders, then you could get creative in ensuring they know they still need to have whatever it is you're offering (even if you can't currently offer it).

Ask yourself: how can I add value to my product or service and make it easy for my customers to purchase?

So, how do you add value for your customers?

1. Be timely with a valuable offering: Some people pulled back from getting Disney+ when it was initially launched. But then after the pandemic started, Disney+ announced a plan to release Frozen II. That meant a big win for parents with children stuck at home. Free trials spiked and they converted fence-sitters into customers. 

While you may not be Disney, ask yourself: how can I be timely? Release the e-book for free that you've been working on for months. Offer pick-ups for tax documents from their home. 

2. Think of your customers' current pain points and objections: Our biggest pain point is working from home and not leaving home. So, help us solve those issues. If you're a restaurant and decided to offer take-out only, that's great: but make me an offer that hits on all my pain points and eliminates objection. For instance: "we're offering $25 family meals which includes (x,y,z). The best part? If you live in town, we'll drop it off to your doorstep for 5:30 p.m. Call us or DM and we'll set it up."  You made it easy for me to buy from an economical standpoint as well as bringing it to my door, so I don't have to take risks going out. I'm sold. And I can still support you.

3. Make me a fan for life: Some local trainers and yogis have gone live to Facebook this month offering free workouts. By doing this, they instantly brought credibility to their business as they poured her expertise back to their community in a meaningful way. The plus side? They got great engagement and offered us great value as consumers.

4. Ask for support: it is okay to be vulnerable, and ask for help. Outline your plan and outline how people can support your business. If you're closed, it is okay to ask for help, even if it's in an indirect way, such as asking for a Google Review.

We know: everything could change in the tomorrow. But we hope this gives you some ideas on mobilizing during a tough time. 

How to Grow your Online Community During Covid-19

You want to do something to work on your business, but you aren’t sure what. COVID-19 has slowed down life and you want to take some control back.

We have a suggestion.

One of the best things you can do to future-proof your business is to focus on building visibility and connection on your social media accounts. Right now? You have a captive audience. Everyone is looking for community and connection right now. Why not find your community amongst your followers and build real connection?

Because, after all, the COVID-19 crisis is going to come to an end. And do you want to go back to business as usual? Or do you want to go back to a business based on loyalty, connection, and community?

Here is a list of things you can do in under 30 minutes a day on social media with your business account, organized as a countdown (because that seems more fun):

6. Reactions and Comments

In your newsfeed, leave reactions (likes and hearts) and comments on your followers’ posts. Don’t be afraid to comment on people who are less familiar - that can actually be better! It’s such an uplifting treat to be noticed by someone you don’t know well!

5. Private Messages

Send private messages to people who follow you but you haven’t interacted with or need to follow-up with. Remember, though, the idea here is to connect, NOT convert.

Check their profile before you message to see if there is something you have in common you may mention. This makes it less weird to get a message from a complete stranger!

4. Targeted Interactions

You know the type of person you want to attract to your business. Go to your friends list and pick a person that fits that description, but you don’t normally interact with. Go to their profile and leave two reactions and two comments. By doing this, you will be engaging the Facebook or Instagram algorithm and you will start seeing each other's posts more.

3. Comments to boost old posts

Go to your old posts and reply to 3 comments. This pushes your posts to more to see. It even works on last years’ posts!

2. Tags

Tag two people not involved in the conversation in two of your comments or even in your own post. The algorithm loves this.

1. Livestream or storytelling post

There is so much to talk about right now and people are craving connection. There is no better way to connect with people than showing your face and telling them a story.

What’s it like being home with your kids? Did anything funny happen despite the circumstances? What do you want people to know? Did you go for a walk today - invite people along?

 

Want this post as a downloadable or printable checklist? We’ve got you covered. 

Click here and print it off as a visual reminder of what you can do to build your community on social media.

Your Daily, 30-Minute Social Media Engagement Strategy (includes downloadable checklist)

Now that you're likely officially being forced to stay at home (or at least reduce your working hours), now's the time to take daily action on building your social media accounts and presence. This is just one way you can work to control your business outcomes.

How can you do it in 30 minutes? Through Community Engagement.

Community Engagement means connecting with others beyond your own posts. This approach builds online relationships, engage with your audience, and furthers your reach beyond your existing followers.

Plus, you will become more intentional with your time spent on your phone and feel productive (even if it's hard to stay focused right now).

We're challenging you to spend 30 minutes a day practising Community Engagement for your business.

Ready for it?Image of Phone

Here are some ways to spend 30 minutes connecting to a wider, online audience.

Instagram:

  • Comment on People's Instagram Stories: actually get into their inbox and write a one-liner that connects to their Story
  • Comment on other business owners' posts: show your support and comment to help them build their own reach.
  • Hashtag Search: Go into the Search function and type in a hashtag relevant to your industry or community. Then comment on those posts in a meaningful way (don't sell here!). For instance: in our community, the hashtag #KawarthaLakes is widely used. We'd look up that hashtag in the search function, and then comment on the most recent posts using that hashtags.
  • Reply to Comments made on your posts: show your appreciation to those who commented on your posts. Reply to every single comment. It also helps with your algorithm (getting pushed to more people's feeds)

Facebook:

  • Comment on business' posts: if you're in a community, follow and comments on other local businesses' posts. This builds connection and also exposes your business to the audience that already follows that specific business. But please: be meaningful and authentic in these posts
  • Comment on local organizations' posts: demonstrate your support to the organizations and non-profits that mean a lot to your community.
  • Join Groups that help you learn: if there are Facebook groups that will give you opportunity to learn or share your wisdom/experience. This will expand your reach as well as help you build on your own skillset and experience.
  • Start a Facebook Group: If you've been meaning to launch a special offering or connect to those within your industry, be a leader. Start a Facebook group and build an online audience in a direct way. For instance, if you're helping people diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, then launch a group that can provide a place for your clients to connect online in a safe space.

LinkedIn:

  • Follow topics: you can follow topics that are important to you. Then, when there are posts relevant to that topic, you can weigh in and join the conversation
  • Post an article: you likely haven't posted articles (your own posts) for a while now. Use this as an opportunity to grow your connections and increase your profile views on LinkedIn
  • Upload a video: Video performs really well on LinkedIn. Post a quick video of yourself talking about your business, the industry or any topic that a LinkedIn Audience would appreciate
  • Make new Connections: LinkedIn will outline who you may wish to connect with based on your existing connections. Add new people and write a personalized note when you reach out. (Example: Hi, Tom! I see we're mutually connected through Sally, and thought I'd reach out. Hope all is well on your end).
  • Send personal messages to existing connections: Take a few minutes and look through your connections. Look at who you haven't connected with in a while and use this strange time of our lives to break that silence. It's a great way to build relationships while also being human.

 Take a look at our downloadable checklist on how you can build community engagement online for 30 minutes a day.

Webinar Recordings

The Kawartha Lakes Digital Service Squad is hosting a webinar series in August 2020 to help businesses amplify their online presence. View the webinar recordings and registration links.

Setting Up Google My Business

If you haven't claimed your Google My Business page, this webinar will walk you through how to do it. By the end of the session, you'll have at least started the process to claim your Google My Business account and understand the basics of using this platform including updating your store hours.

Perfect for: Beginners or businesses that haven't claimed their Google My Business page and want to get an online presence.

Watch Now
How to Apply for the Digital Main Street Digital Transformation Grant

If you're a downtown business owner within Kawartha Lakes communities, then you may be eligible to apply for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant from Digital Main Street! In this webinar the Digital Service Squad walks you through the application process and answer questions about applying for the grant.

Perfect for: business owners operating a business within downtown area within Kawartha Lakes.

Watch Now

Google My Business: Getting Found Online (Intermediate)

This is for any businesses that have already claimed their Google My Business page and want to take it to the next level. In this webinar the Digital Service Squad shows you how to use the platform to get found online and optimize it.

Perfect for: intermediate or advanced business owners/managers who want to take their marketing to the next level.

Watch Now

How to Handle Negative Reviews and Getting Good Engagement

Cringe-worthy negative reviews can paralyze your marketing. This element is a major pain point with businesses owners and answer your questions about how to navigate through it. In this webinar the Digital Service Squad answers questions about "can I get a negative response deleted?" "How do I not come across as an angry business owner?", "How do I ask for reviews?", best practices, and more.

Perfect for: Beginners to Advanced

Watch Now

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