Agency News

Small business advice during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Written by Jill Kornegay

tl:dr

There are a lot of ways you can keep your customers informed during the pandemic. Google & Bing both have new options to help you.

Is your small business being negatively impacted by the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic? If you have had to close your business temporarily, or perhaps have changed your hours of operation, there are some updates you can make on Google My Business to help you communicate with customers. These updates can also be very effective for food and retail businesses who are now offering online ordering for curbside pickup or delivery.

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Google Updates You Can Make For COVID-19

Make sure you have updated your business hours.

If your business hours have changed due to coronavirus, make sure that you have updated your current operating hours. These hours are visible when customers visit your profile on Google Maps or Google Search. By keeping these updated, customers will know when they visit or place orders. Learn how to change your business hours.

Useful Tip: You can set special hours for your business instead of marking it “Temporarily closed.” This is useful if you are still operating but doing business on a modified schedule. Learn how to set special hours.

Post a COVID-19 update to your business listing.

COVID-19 Update popup for Google My BusinessGoogle has released a new special post type specifically for COVID-19 information. Take advantage of this feature to post more up-to-date and specific information about what’s going on at your business. You should use this feature to post information related to:

  • Business closures or reduced working hours
  • Your attention to safety and hygiene practices
  • Gift cards and alternative purchasing options

These special COVID-19 update posts will appear prominently on your business profile so that will be more noticeable to your customers. Learn how to add your COVID-19 update post from Google Support.

*Google has noted that updates including a phone number may be rejected, so avoid including one.

Stay connected with your customers

Have you already downloaded the Google My Business app? This is a great way to stay in touch with your customer base during the COVID-19 pandemic. Be sure to turn on messaging in the app. This is an additional way to help your customers reach you. You can also activate messaging to help your customers get support they need if you can be reached by phone or after your business hours. Learn how to download the Google My Business app and activate messaging.

Update your business description

Your business description shows up on Google Maps and Google Search. This is the perfect spot to update important information related to services you may be offering at this time. Considering updating if:

  • Your business is offering takeout or delivery
  • You are currently offering extra services to the community
  • Your business services may be delayed do to logistics issues

Find out how to edit your business description on Google.

Google’s hours & services disclaimer

If you view your profile on Google and notice a message letting customers know that your business info may not be up-to-date, you can modify it through Google My Business as long as you have already verified your listing. If you need to, you can also set special hours or mark your business “Temporarily closed”.

Highlight special dining and shopping options

Dining and retail businesses have attributes at the top of their Business Profiles. These can be used to inform customers about service availability. Update these attributes to prominently appear when customers search for your business on Google Maps and Google Search.

Find out about specific recommendations for food businesses during COVID-19.

Google Updates For Coronavirus Important To Medical Businesses

Most medical businesses have remained open as “essential businesses” during the coronavirus outbreak. If your practice is still opened, you may have special messaging that is important to share with patients. Or, you may be offering telemedicine or virtual visits during COVID-19. If so, there are some special measures that you can take on Google My Business to keep your patients informed.

When you go to your business profile, choose what to offer from Google’s suggested list of services. If you don’t see the service listed, you can add custom services, such as “telemedicine,” “telehealth,” “video appointments”.

Bing Updates

Bing is also doing updates for coronavirus. If you have created a business profile on Bing, you can add a new Temporarily Closed link by going to the bottom left of your business dashboard. If your business has temporarily changed hours, you should update your Hours of Operation from within your Bing dashboard.

Looking for more information on business visibility during coronavirus? We can help.

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