The effects of COVID-19 are everywhere. We’d be hard-pressed to say that there’s a business out there that hasn’t been affected, and Google is stepping in to help out and build some goodwill in the business community.
This isn’t particularly surprising considering that the search engine has been on it from the outset. We were no sooner under shelter-in-place orders than Google was including curbside delivery attributes and organically incorporating site integrations for platforms like GoFundMe. Google’s latest endeavor, however, is arguably its best and brightest contribution related to helping brick and mortars bear up under the pandemic’s cascading fallout. On June 17, the goliath rolled out its new plan, so let’s take a closer look.
Hey, It’s International Small Business Week
Google didn’t just present us with new features; it took it upon itself to declare the week of June 22 to June 27 International Small Business Week, which was designed to be a week in celebration of the little guys (who, in tandem, happen to make up the bulk of our economy). While we already have a Small Business Week here in the States, two can’t hurt, and when Google starts doling out advice, tips, and tricks for small businesses, it’s a good idea to listen.
Google makes it clear that it not only stands behind small businesses that obviously play a critical role in its search-engine hegemony but also appreciates what it is they do. Google heartily thanked the small businesses that have persevered in the face of months of upheaval and shutdowns, while serving their communities in the best ways they could (sometimes by recreating themselves on the spot). In return, Google is trying to do what it can to support the small business economy and help owners stay afloat while we adjust to the new economy.
Shiny and New
The focus of Google’s new push is helping local businesses beef up their ad game via new features that are specifically designed to address the needs of businesses as they tentatively make their way back to business as (the new) usual, wherever that may take us. Google is packaging all of its for local businesses features into one handy dandy announcement, but some of the functions have been around for a bit.
The Google Shopping Tab
Google’s shopping tab will now feature more local store information – pulled from GMB (Google My Business) – and will include info related to all of the following (and more):
- Store locations
- Product availability
- Updated business hours
- Dine-in, carryout, and/or curbside capabilities
Local Service Ads and New Capabilities
Google has also scrutinized its Local Service Ads on mobile devices, and as of May, it’s supported booking appointments directly from an Ad. In order to take advantage of this option, you’ll need to get with one of the many booking partners that play well with Google. Further, you’ll need to seek approval via Google’s guarantee consumer protection program.
Smart Campaigns Go Global
Google’s ever-popular smart campaigns help those small businesses with less tech finesse and/or with fewer resources set up their own clearly focused ad campaigns. These campaigns are goal-driven and often focus on generating more phone calls, clicks, or bookings, and now businesses in the 150-country expansion pack can also cash in on the program’s many benefits. Further, Google has made its smart campaigns even more accessible by allowing you to set up your campaign idea directly through the Ads app.
That Pin Is Promoted
If you’re already working with Google’s smart campaigns – or are getting ready to dive in – Google is incentivizing you further by including the benefits of promoted pins on Google Maps, and nothing is easier for your customers and potential customers than those promoted pins. Google is throwing this in for free with no cost per click – as long as you have a smart campaign up and running. This feature isn’t, however, without its detractors – some of whom say that, because the pin is square, it muddies the waters and only serves to confuse customers who are on the search.
Grow My Store, Please
The Grow My Store Google website has also been upgraded in an effort to help bolster small businesses – both online and in-store. All you need do is enter your relevant business info and sign up for your profile. Google does the rest and will provide you with a Grow My Store report, replete with all kinds of features. It’s worth noting that this update has been available throughout most of Europe since last year, but it’s brand new in the U.S. Let’s take a closer look at that report, which will include your website’s overall score in relation to other websites and a score breakdown in relation to all of all the following:
- Product Information – Are your well-worded narratives selling your products?
- Customer Service – Are you showing up for your customers?
- Personalization – Does your website reflect the unique essence of your business?
- Security – Are you prioritizing online security?
- Mobility – Is your website easily accessible across all the platforms?
Importantly, these reports and the actions they recommend can be on the technical side, so small business owners should not hesitate to reach out for help from a digital marketing professional at The Web Guys.
Turn to a Digital Marketing Expert to Make the Most of Google’s New Offerings
When Google decides to help, it’s time to lean into the matter. Yes, COVID-19 is a monster, but we’re all in this together, and Google is an advertising monster with the goods to help. The digital marketing experts over here at The Web Guys are ready to help make sure that you’re taking full advantage of everything that Google has to offer. These are difficult times for small businesses – and for everyone – so let’s work together to get this done. Make your move by contacting us at 317-805-4933 to learn more about our team and digital marketing services today.