Black Friday is less than a month away and the holiday decorations have been in stores since before Halloween. As a small business owner, this might be the busiest time of year for you.
According to USA Today, 23% of shoppers say they’ll shop at local/small businesses and at electronics stores this holiday season.
With almost a quarter of all shoppers planning to buy locally, you need to make sure that any potential customers know exactly when you’ll be open for the holidays. It’s also a great time to make sure people know about any special holiday offerings like gift certificates or in-store events.
Your Google My Business listing allows you to easily inform people of your hours and any other important holiday information in the place they are most likely to find it first: the Google search result.
According to Google, mobile “near me” searches have grown over 250% in the last two years. That is a huge number of people searching for what is closest to them.
Jump on the holiday bandwagon and make sure that your Google My Business listing is ready for the holiday rush with these quick tips.
1. Set Your Holiday Hours
Your hours for the holiday season are likely to change from your normal hours. There is nothing that frustrates people more than showing up to do their holiday shopping to find a store is closed.
If you’re managing more than one Google My Business listing you can change the hours for multiple locations at once using the spreadsheet and the bulk upload process.
The holiday season can also bring unpredictable weather changes, so taking advantage of the Google My Business app for your mobile phone can make last-minute hour changes quick and easy.
This is also important if your business has extended holiday hours. Make staying open late and coming in early worth your time–by letting your customers know you’ll be there to serve them.
While having correct hours in your GMB listing is very important, making sure to have any special hours updated on our website, Yelp, Facebook and other prominent places.
2. Update and Monitor Q&A
The Question and Answer feature of the Google My Business listing is a valuable but underutilized feature.
Anyone can ask or answer a question in this area of the listing. This means that there is a risk of questions being answered incorrectly.
As the business owner, however, you can ask and answer your own questions without penalty. This is a great area to post any of the most popular questions you get asked during the holiday season.
This area of the listing might also get more activity during the holidays, so it’s important to make sure you or someone from your business is monitoring it during this busy season.
The primary GMB owner will get email notifications when new questions are asked. There are also services like GatherUp, that can not only help you monitor reviews but your Q&A as well.
3. Take Advantage of Posts
GMB posts can be a great way to get more visibility into your products and services at any time of the year, but you should definitely take advantage of posts during the holidays. There are four types of posts and each one could be helpful to use during the holidays:
Highlight special events happening at your location around the holidays like visits from Santa or Black Friday events.
Use news posts to keep your customers up to date on your holiday hours.
Take advantage of product posts to highlight new products for the holidays.
Offer posts a great way to provide coupon codes or other special discounts/incentives around the holidays.
You can get creative with your posts by using photos or videos to give a great visual for potential customers of what to expect.
News and product posts do “expire” but will still be searchable by scrolling through the other posts, after 7 days, so it’s important to create a schedule to stay on top of posting.
4. Update Your Products and Services
Depending on the primary category you have selected for your business, you likely have the option to add your products or services.
It is important to note that these menus only show up on mobile devices.
This can be a great way to get extra visibility for the products and services you offer, especially if you have special offerings for the holidays.
5. Monitor Your Reviews
Reviews are important at any time of the year, but during the holidays they could be especially important as everyone wants to get people in the door and make that sale.
Take time before and during the holidays get in full swing to make sure reviews from the last 30-60 days have been responded to is a great way to show potential customers that you are engaged and care what your customers have to say.
It’s also crucial that you ad your team an extra couple of minutes after every transaction during the holiday season to prompt customers to leave a review. You can’t offer anything in exchange for a review, but you can help get them thinking about it by asking how their experience was or if any specific staff person was especially helpful.
Thrivehive has a great post full of helpful ideas for asking for reviews. There are great review management services like GatherUp that are very helpful for sending out requests for reviews and monitoring reviews and Q&A.
Get Your Listing in Holiday Shape
Small businesses like restaurants, apparel and retail stores, seasonal holiday experiences, gyms, professional services offices, and more can all benefit from updating your Google My Business profile for the holidays.
Don’t wait until the holiday season is upon us to take these steps toward a more complete listing. You can implement these actions today to get your Google My Business listing ready for the busiest time of year.