As restrictions lift and you start gearing up to get back to business, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re able to adapt quickly, and have clear communication with existing and prospective customers, for the best chance at a speedy recovery post-pandemic.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to ensure your business keeps communication open with customers to help them feel informed and engaged: Google My Business. In today’s post, Impeccabuild – a leading hospitality fit out and design company – talks through 6 best-practice tips for making the most out of your Google My Business listing.
This article is a guide for businesses who already have their Google My Business (GMB) accounts set up.
If you have a website, chances are that Google has already created a GMB listing for you automatically based upon the information on your website. If this is the case, you will simply need to verify that you're the owner in order to claim your business.
If you don’t have an auto-listing and you haven’t already set up an account yourself, you can create one in a few easy steps. All you need to do is sign in to, or create, a google account you’d like associated with your business. Then, just visit the Google My Business page, click ‘Manage now’ and follow these 6 valuable tips for optimizing your Google My Business listing.
What is Google My Business?
Previously known as Google Places and Google Local, Google My Business is a free business listing service provided by – you guessed it – Google. It’s an essential tool for all businesses regardless of whether you're a brick-and-mortar or BTC e-commerce: Google My Business enables business owners to manage how their business information appears on Google Search results and Google Maps.
The built-in functionality of GMB allows multiple-location businesses to manage all their listings on one platform conveniently. Some of the business information owners can access and update include:
- Business name
- Business description
- Operating hours
- Contact information
- Address details
- Location on map
- Manage and respond to Google reviews
- Add photos
- Street view photos
- Create posts with business updates
- Search traffic insights and data
So, is your listing set up and ready for some finesse? Read on for our top tips.
New to the business of social media, or looking for some creative ideas? Check out 6 of the best social media ideas for restaurants.
1. Temporarily remove trading hours
This may seem counter-productive, but displaying or communicating inaccurate business information is a sure-fire way for your business to lose potential and existing customers. Nothing is more frustrating to a customer than seeing a "closed" sign when they visit your business, especially after having checked your operating hours online beforehand.
Covid-19 is causing a lot of uncertainties, and business situations are changing at a rapid pace as a result. It's of paramount importance that your communication with your customers be clear and precise during this time, especially if you're a business with multiple locations. If you find that your opening hours are changing day to day, or your service is changing, the best thing to do is communicate this openly to your customers.
The key is managing customer expectations. By temporarily disabling your business hours altogether, you mitigate any potential confusion and disappointment for your customers.
If you choose to follow this tip, it's crucial to ensure your business phone number on GMB is up-to-date and plainly visible on Google search.
By removing your trading hours, while keeping your business phone number and contact details visible, you encourage customers to call to and verify if you're open. This allows you to provide to-the-minute advice – not to mention that human contact we’re all missing at the moment.
This provides you a great formula for making a good first impression – just make sure your phone works and you’re picking it up when it rings!
2. If you've had to shut, list your business as temporarily closed - and don't forget to update it when you reopen
Many hospitality businesses have had to temporarily shut their doors to the public amid the crisis either for social distancing reasons or as regulatory requirements. For this reason, Google has updated GMB to allow businesses to mark their location as "temporarily closed". These changes will be updated and visible on your Google search results and Google Maps.
Previously, business owners only had the option to mark their location as "Permanently Closed" on GMB. Businesses who took this previous option did so knowing that their local SEO efforts would drop in the Google rankings. However, Google has confirmed that the new "Temporarily Closed" option won't affect your SEO in a bid to encourage businesses to provide accurate information for the searchers amid the crisis.
This feature doesn't apply to hospitality businesses who are still offering take-out options, offering delivery or operating with limited hours. However, businesses which have ceased their operations entirely can consider leveraging this new GMB feature to communicate to their customers proactively about their temporary situation.
Whether you're reopening or returning to dine-in service, your staff will benefit from retraining. Typsy can help you communicate those rapid changes to all your staff at once.
3. Update your business description
Your GMB business description is a summary of your business for your customers. This can be up to 750 characters, and appears on Google when a customer searches for your business online via desktop or mobile. Typically, your GMB business description is displayed underneath or next to your Google reviews and ratings.
A common misconception is that your GMB business description should remain static. However, wise business owners utilize their GMB business description frequently to speak directly to their existing and potential customers. If you do not already do so, or if your GMB description is outdated, get on to it right away!
4. Update your online menu
Another great feature on GMB is the ability for restaurants to present their menus online within the Google search results.
This convenient feature is excellent for your customers as it allows them to view your menu without having to enter your website and great for restaurateurs as it attracts more bookings.
As previously mentioned, you don't want to disappoint your customers due to inaccurate or out-dated information. For those who already have their menus set-up, make sure you review and update them to reflect your real-time offerings due to Covid19. If you haven't already added your GMB menu, do so right away!
Does your menu need a shake-up? Make sure all your bases are covered: check out Prepare to reopen: how to develop a restaurant menu.
5. Update your attributes
GMB attributes are short statements about what your business has to offer to online searchers. Your GMB Attributes appear on Google searches based on the relevancy, which is fantastic as it increases the chances of your business showing up for specific local searches.
GMB offers attributes only to dining and shopping businesses. Examples of attributes include:
- Free WiFi
- Outdoor seating
- Pet friendly
- Happy hour at 7pm
- Local ingredients
- Vegetarian options
- BYO permitted
If you haven't leveraged the benefits of GMB attributes for your business, we encourage you to do this straight away. However, for businesses who already have GMB Attributes set up, ensure you review and update them, so they're up-to-date with your offerings during Covid-19.
6. Communicate via Google posts
GMB posts are another fantastic way for your business to adapt to Covid-19 while keeping your customers in the loop.
A Google post is a function provided by GMB, which allows business owners to connect and communicate with their customers directly. Besides your copy, GMB posts can also include a Call To Action button (CTA), and a link to another landing page on your website. Each GMB post is limited to 300 words.
Here are a few topic ideas to jump-start your creativity:
- Temporary shutdowns of your physical location
- Updates or changes to your business hours
- How your business is keeping your staff safe
- Is your business supporting or participating in any charities?
- Special offers such as gift cards to support local restaurants
- Let your customers know how you're coping with Covid-19
- Describe any changes to your services
- Promote your restaurant's curbside pickup options
However you decide to use Google My Business, the most important thing to remember is that it's about making yourself easy to find and easy to work with - the more accessible and reliable your online information, the more likely it is that customers will check out your venue in person.
Sina Sadeghpour is the director of ImpeccaBuild Pty Ltd, a leading shop fit out and design company in Sydney, Australia. Providing hospitality fit-outs designed for the 21st century, ImpeccaBuild incorporates sensational aesthetics with highly functional interiors in projects that are sustainable, innovative, and deliver excellent value. ImpeccaBuild provides a complete end-to-end interior fit-out solution for all sectors, from project management to design and construction.
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