We know that when COVID-19 struck, many hard-working people were met with days of struggle, including small business owners. Luckily, adversity builds character and there are tools in place to help. Google My Business is necessary to not only navigate these trying times but also keep customers in the loop.

Google My Business, or GMB, is a free service where businesses and organizations can manage their online presence. Once your information is added and verified, customers will be able to find your business while they’re searching online, and you’ll get to share what you do and how you got here.

GMB is a great way to expand your presence or, if COVID has impacted you, get your name back out there. The truth is, GMB can work magic for you; however, there are a few things you’ll need to do on your end. Here are our top action items to knock out so GMB can work for you.

Update the Business Description

Now that the stay-at-home rules have relaxed a bit, some businesses have relaunched. Things have changed and you may need to adjust your operation hours or change the products or services you offer. Communicate this information using your business profile on Google. You can also add a COVID-19 update post, which will appear front and center on your page.

For example, if you’re a mom-and-pop Italian restaurant, you may not offer dine-in services, but you can use your GMB listing to let your customers know they can snag their favorite dishes via curbside pick-up. If you’re a salon, let customers know that online booking is available with the click of a button.

Google My Business makes editing your business description simple. The worse thing you could do is have customers floating in the unknown. Imagine their faces when they arrive for a birthday outing only to see a closed-due-to-COVID sign contradicting your Google Business profile saying you’re open.

Connect with Customers

Your customers are going to have questions so it’s best to stay within reach. Obviously, that’s a little different with social distancing. If you plan to be away from your company phone, remember to download the Google My Business app and turn on messaging so customers can get the support they need. (If you’re a Thryv user, you can manage GMB updates right from your Thryv dashboard under Online Presence.)

One pro-tip is to draft an automatic welcome message to inform customers of your business’s status. 

Adding support links to your business profile is one way to encourage customers to purchase gift cards or donate straight to your business. Remember that positivity is key when requesting donations. Use messaging that will resonate well like: We’d appreciate a donation to help us continue to pay our staff.

As for gift cards, keep it focused and specific similar to: Please consider a gift card toward a future class. This bit of aid is a great safety net if you’re not sure when your company will be back up and running at full capacity. 

Other ways to stay connected

Tweak Your Advertising

As the world changes around us, as do the businesses. And when businesses change, so do their customers. It’s important to take notice of those customer behavior changes and react accordingly.

One way to do that is by tailoring your advertising with Google Ads. Keep your current and potential customers caught up by guaranteeing active advertisements reflect your business’s priorities. Edit ads to show what is currently being offered, like virtual cooking lessons.

Adapt to New Customer Behavior

We briefly mentioned that as businesses change, so do their customers. Part of running a business is adapting to those new behaviors. Use tools like Google Trends or Google Alerts to gain insight into what customers are looking for or simply educate yourself.

Seeing that schools are shut down means you may see a benefit in offering a section on your personal training website for child-focused 5-minute stretches, yoga or various levels of circuit training.

Other ways businesses can offer value online:

  • Coffee shops selling coffee blends and products online
  • Artists hosting plant classes online
  • Restaurants offering online ordering and contactless delivery