The COVID-19 outbreak has seen businesses scrambling to make ends meet while trying to stay open. Some companies have sacrificed several locations throughout the country while others have decided to close up shop completely.
The pandemic has made it even harder to compete across industries but there is always a silver lining.
Google has gone above and beyond by frequently releasing new features and upgrades for Google My Business, helping businesses continue engaging with customers who want to know what’s happening to their favourite brands. From additional business hours to more attributes, GMB is becoming more robust and truly adapting with the times.
In case you missed it, here’s a quick timeline of major GMB updates you should know about before we move to the next point.
Unique Features for a Unique Business
Now let’s take a closer look at these new features. When you make these changes, they’ll be visible on Google Maps and Search so ensure that your updates are correct.
Google has made it easier for your customers to find out if your business is closed but will reopen sooner or later. Let your customers know that you’ll be back shortly.
Restaurants that remain open can now add more features about their business: take away, delivery or dine-in. Medical centres and other facilities can put attributes like online care and virtual care as well. These additional attributes help customers know that businesses are doing more than the usual to be able to serve them better.
Type in additional hours should you have a group with special needs – like elders who don’t want to compete with the younger ones in the grocery or pharmacy. This is a welcome change and many retailers have been using this to their advantage.
COVID-19 Post Updates
Google posts now serve beyond letting your customers know about new products or services, events and promotions. There is now a dedicated COVID-19 update option for GMB post when you want to inform your customers about your safety and hygiene measures, any new contactless services or requests for support.
Profile Edits on Search & Maps
Businesses can now create posts, reply to reviews, add photos and update business information directly from their GMB knowledge panel or business profile.
‘Last Updated’ Note
Customers want to know if your information updated on your business profile so Google has added a ‘Updated by business’ text just below each element that’s been recently changed.
Many of these could be permanent features even after COVID-19 has disappeared (and we hope it will be soon) as consumer culture has dramatically shifted or evolved.
Google My Business Is Helping You, So Stay Updated
In the last six months or so, more and more people are going online to search for local businesses near them. This has been an ongoing movement in the last few years, with a 76% increase of ‘near me’ mobile search in 2019.
Purchase decision now depends on how close a store is to the consumer’s home as cities are going in and out of lockdowns and there is limited time to go out and shop for essentials.
COVID-19 has also moved consumers to rely heavily on e-commerce as a way to get goods, especially in bulk, as well as food delivery apps when they want to eat something different from mum’s usual home-cooked meals. But none have been so helpful as Google My Business.
That’s why your business information should consistently remain accurate. If you forget to make any updates to your operating hours and attributes, you’ll lose web and foot traffic – eventually losing customers to your nearby competitors.
It starts with the right information spread across your other listings. Your customers will see that you’re open for business and you have other means to provide services and sell products. They’ll trust that you deliver to their location and you’ll keep them updated with whatever sanitisation procedures you’ve implemented.
With reviews up and working once more, you’ll see satisfied customers praising you of fast service despite the circumstances, putting their trust in your business even more. With an increase in sales due to consumer confidence and a transparent model, it’s impossible for you to close up for good.
We’re all making adjustments and there will be dips in revenue but one thing’s for certain: updating your Google My Business can help you stay afloat through the toughest times.
At DigitalMaas, we’re making it easier for your businesses to adapt to COVID-19 and beyond. Easily update your Google My Business listing on our Platform and get a host of benefits that’ll improve your business in the long run.