If you get enquiries from your Google My Business listing, you may have noticed reduced activity during this Covid-19 pandemic.
A report by Reputation.com of US listings claims that impressions (appearances of listings) are down by 59%, suggesting lack of consumer interest at this difficult time.
But let’s back up. What is “Google My Business” and why should your business use it?
The #1 Free Tool for Search Marketing
Google My Business is the profile platform that shows up when you search on Google or Google Maps. To quote directly from Google:
“Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. If you verify and edit your business information, you can both help customers find your business and tell them your story.”
In summary, your Google My Business listing is a very valuable piece of free real estate in the search and Google Maps world. If you aren’t on it yet you can be sure your competitors are. There may be an “unclaimed” profile with old or incorrect information. You need to claim your business profile immediately and (after verification) make it into an effective showcase for your business.
Significant Decreases Across All Sectors
The study reports that impressions were down uniformly across all business sectors suggesting reduction in use of search and map tools. In fact the average across all clicks, including clicks to call, to visit a website or for directions is down only 37%. Consumers are seeking out those businesses that do remain open.
If you run a bricks and mortar business and you rely on physical sales, what can you do to stand out from the crowd and make it known you are open for business?
Facebook Ads to the Rescue
People may not be searching like they used to but they are certainly communicating. One of the ways they do that is using social media – particularly Facebook. Are people still using Facebook? Yes! Reputable surveys show that about 65% of Canadians have a Facebook account and the most active users are in the over 25 years age group.
If you run a Facebook page for your business now is the time to use it. If you have a significant following (or even very few) you can promote quite cheaply to your local area. Avoid the ease and temptation of the “boost option” – a sure way to waste money. Instead get to grips with the Facebook Ad Manager where you have many more options for targeting and formatting your ads with still images, slide shows and videos.
Make sure you first set an appropriate objective for your campaign. Facebook will use their algorithms to deliver within your budget. Expanding your reach via Instagram (owned by Facebook) is relatively simple and can be effective if it fits your target demographic.
Selling directly via Facebook can prove expensive. However, if your goal is simply to raise awareness in your local community that your business is open, Facebook is the right tool at the right price.
Facebook has all the usual safeguards to set a budget daily or for the duration of the campaign. This ensures that you don’t spend more than you want to. The charging mechanism is not “per click” but rather per 1000 impressions of your ad. It can cost as little as $5 to reach 1000 Facebook users in your neigbourhood. If you want to do more and engage users on Facebook, think about video ads more than static images. If you have no appropriate video consider the video templates that Facebook provides to transform your photos into a mini video.
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Online Marketing Consultant