Making the most of local search marketing with Google My Business

With lockdown restrictions lifted again by the government, hairdressers, barbers, salons, pubs and restaurants have started to benefit from being able to trade again since the 4th July. In the lead up and post-Super Saturday, we have been monitoring the local business listings in Google across all of these business areas, to see whether businesses updated their listings.


Pre Super Saturday, although all businesses communicated that they were temporarily closed, we have seen that many businesses failed to take advantage of some of the features which Google My Business offer, including the Covid-19 update notification allowing you to update potential customers with the current trading situation. In the week of Super Saturday, we noticed only a handful of businesses updating their customers that they would be opening on the Saturday.


What has surprised us the most though is the number of business’ who are either still stating that they are temporarily closed, even if they are now open or are not using the update features to let customers know the changes they have made to keep them safe.

Why is local advertising important?


There are numerous statistics in the public domain about the role and benefits of local advertising. Two that demonstrate the importance of a local approach are that:


  • 97% of consumers go online to find local products and services
  • 75% of people who find local, helpful information in search results are more likely to visit the physical stores


Since the announcement of restrictions being lifted in mid-June, local searches which contain the ‘my business’ listings have increased significantly. Latest data from Google trends shows how searches for ‘Salons near me’ have continued to rise week on week, with a projected 100% growth this week.

Source: Google Trends (Search Term 'Salons Near Me')

Currently there is a 350% increase in demand for the search term ‘any hairdressers open near me’. Like we have seen, many business’ who are now open for trading still have a temporarily closed message. How much new business is being missed out on at the minute and how many existing customers have you lost because of this.

 

The benefits of Google My Business?


No matter whether you have a physical store or not, Google My Business should be one of the first things which you set up when launching a new business. Unlike SEO which can take a while to reap the results, your listing will appear once your listing has been approved. Although the saying goes you get nothing in life for free, Google My Business is one of the exceptions to this.

 

What do I need to do to get started with Google Local?


Firstly, head over to Google My Business and create an account. You can then start to fill out information about your business including:


  • Company name
  • Contact details, including address and telephone number
  • Your website
  • Description and Categories
  • Opening days and times
  • Products and Services offered
  • Images e.g. your logo, store layout


Prior to launching you will need to receive an authentication code from Google. This will be posted to the business address you have entered, and you will usually receive this within a week. Once you have received this, log back in enter the code and your business listing will soon be live.

 

Do I need to do anything once I have launched?


Yes, it’s also important to keep your listing fresh and up to date, as your listing will more likely appear above your competitors and it ensures that your existing and potential customers know you are open for business. To help keep your listings up to date you can also download the Google My Business app to your phone, allowing you to easily post business updates, wherever you are.


As mentioned earlier the Covid-19 update feature is a great way of making sure that customers are aware of any changes to your service. For brands that are now reopening, add photos of how your store now looks to build confidence at a time when consumer confidence on revisiting their barbers and salons remains low.


It is also important to build up your business reviews, not only demonstrating social proofing to support new customer acquisition, but also improving where your listing is featured. Think about ways that you can promote this to your existing customers e.g. offering a discount on their next purchase in exchange for a review.

 

Looking for support with your local marketing strategy?


Google My Business is just one aspect of your approach to reaching existing and new customers. If you would like some support on appearing the next time someone searches for a business like yours locally, get in touch to understand how we can help you.


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