• Kolby Kolibas

The One Thing You Can Do to Increase Business in a Pandemic


If you are anything like our family, information is critical during these uncertain times. You see we have 9 kids with a newborn. A few things are an absolute necessity in our home. You know - diapers, treats and um….. toilet paper!


As much as we plan and prepare, you can’t always foresee that one thing that you will fall short in stocking.


Where we live, paper goods and meats have been in very high demand.


As the patriarch of the house I took it as a personal mission to find & acquire some of these desperately needed supplies for the house.


Not knowing what I was about to walk into, I wipe the crust from my eyes to hit the store. A line of 70+ people gathered ready to storm the doors like a Black Friday sale in search of that elusive $99 big screen television. These people were not here for the latest technology gadget, they were all in search of the coveted golden roll of Charmin double ply. Before the group of people step into the store, we are informed that they are out of toilet paper and we are invited to come back in the evening or the next day.


This energy and excitement continues as the mob journeys on to the next grocer which is conveniently located across the street. As the group of people start to line up out front, the unassuming staff has no idea what is about to happen when they go to open the doors.



While in line I open the Google Maps App on my phone to see what time they open.

The website and listing say 7AM. As people get more anxious, the doors slowly start to open and a head pops out. The manager proceeds to tell the mob out front that the store doesn't open for another hour - thus leading us into 8AM.


The group starts to voice its frustration and start yelling at the employees inside stating the website and Google say they open at 7AM. We are then told that the listing is wrong and has been that way for over a week. The solution we are given is to “call the store hotline for new hours…”


The group of people now starts to thin and split. Some stay back while others are on the phone looking for the next store. This same routine continues up until 9AM when I choose to stand down and attack the mission another day.


5 stores in my local area didn’t think to update their website or Google listing for new hours. There was no thought into how this would impact the local residents in need. Or worse off - they had no idea how to update the critical information about their business online!


How are you communicating critical information to your current or future clients, students or people in need?


Each day we are hearing how states are reopening and of others that continue to extend closures. One thing we know for sure is the need for therapy services is growing faster than most can keep up with. The demand is forecasted to only continue as the stresses and aftermath continues. We will be looking at the long term physiological effects of COVID19 for years to come.



How people find out what you are doing is absolutely critical!


How much new business are you losing based on the fact that people don’t know exactly when you are open, what your hours are and if you are taking new clients?


How much new business are you losing based on the fact that people don’t know exactly when you are open, what your hours are and if you are taking new clients?


There are two ways you can communicate critical information about your business.


  1. List any important data on the front page of your website.

  2. Manage how and what people see when they Google your name or services.


Your website should have a banner or call out that explains how you are managing COVID19 and what hours or important information may be critical to anyone doing research on your business.





How do people see you on Google?


One of the things we do here at TherapyScout is help programs and practices reach the top of search results. We do this through custom web marketing tools developed specific for Mental and Behavioral Health Programs and Professionals.


We manage how a combination of how the top 70+ global maps, apps, search engines, voice assistants, directories, and social networks see your business.


One tool we use can also be a secret weapon for your business….


Welcome to Google My Business!


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. It is a strategic way to help people find your business and tell them more about who you are and what services you offer.


What are the benefits of Google My Business


Manage your information

Manage the information that Google users find when they search for your business, or the products and services that you offer. Businesses that verify their information with Google My Business are twice as likely to be considered reputable by clients and customers. When people find your business on Google Maps and Search, make sure they have access to information like your services, hours, website, and street address.


Interact with customers

Read and respond to reviews from your customers, and post photos that show off what you do. Businesses that add photos to their Business Profiles receive 42% more requests for directions on Google Maps, and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t.


Understand and expand your presence

Find insights on how customers searched for your business, and where those customers are coming from. You can also find information like how many people called your business directly from the phone number displayed on local search results in Search and Maps.


From the new to experienced business, let me share some things to help you get the best results for your Google My Business Listing.


Let’s Get Started!


When you optimize your Google My Business listing, you help encourage people who see your listing to take the next step and contact or visit you. This also helps your business rank better in search results.


Below are some easy to implement steps to help you fully optimize your Google My Business listing:


1. Claim / Create a Google My Business Listing


Does Your Business Qualify for a Listing?

You must must interact in-person with customers during stated business hours:


  • At your place of business (storefront business).

  • At your customer’s location (service area business).

  • Exceptions:

  • ATMs, video-rental kiosks, express mail drops and select other similar services.

  • Seasonal businesses with permanent signage at location.

  • Ineligible businesses:

  • eCommerce or online-only businesses.

  • Rental or for-sale properties.

  • Church services, classes or meetings at locations you don’t have the authority to represent.

  • You must be currently open or opening within 90 days.

  • See Google’s FAQ for adding a business before it opens.

  • You must own or be an authorized representative of the business.



2. Create a New Google My Business Listing


  • Go to https://google.com/business

  • Click the “Manage Now” button.

  • Sign in with a valid Google account or create one if needed. Use an email address from your actual business domain if at all possible.

  • Follow the instructions to create a new listing.



3. Verify Your Google My Business Listing


  • Log in to Google My Business and go to your listing.

  • Click “Verify Now” and you will be presented with your verification options.

  • Select the option you prefer.

  • You cannot choose which methods Google makes available.


Postcard

  • You’ll be sent a postcard within 14 days with a verification code.

  • Do not make any changes to your listing during this time.

  • Log back in to Google My Business and enter the verification code for your listing.

  • You can request another postcard from your GMB listing if needed.


Phone (if available)

  • Ensure that you can answer the phone number in your GMB listing.

  • Log in to Google My Business and go to your listing.

  • Choose phone from the list of verification options.

  • Google will call with a verification code.

  • Enter the code into your listing.


Email (if available)

  • Choose email from the list of verification options.

  • Ensure you have access to the email shown on the verification screen.

  • Google will send you an email.

  • Click the “Verify” button in the email or enter the code in your GMB listing.






4. Optimize Your Google My Business Listing


Basic Business Information


  • Be consistent with your business name, address and phone number across all your business profiles online.

  • To update your information, log in to Google My Business and go to your listing.

  • Click the “Info” tab on the left side.

  • Business name

  • Use the same business name as on your signs, business cards and legal documents.

  • Do NOT spam your business name with cities, search terms, taglines or anything else. It is against Google’s terms of service and could lead to listing problems or suspension in the future.


Business location

  • Only enter a physical address if customers actually visit your place of business. If they don’t, be sure to clear the address and only use service areas. Note that this will eliminate a “pin” for you business on maps, but it will still be listed in search results.

  • Use a free tool like Smarty Streets to make sure your address is properly formatted.

  • Put the street address in the primary address line.

  • Put suite numbers in a second line. Google does not factor this into your listing, however, it’s valuable to help people find you.


Service areas

  • Only enter this if you serve customers at their location (service area businesses).

  • Some businesses serve customers both at their place of business and at their customer’s location. In this case enter BOTH a business location and service areas.

  • Enter the cities, postal codes or regions that you actually serve. Note that no matter how big a service area you set, it is still unlikely to appear in a search result greater than 20 miles away.

  • You may only add a maximum of 20 service areas per business listing.


Business hours

  • Enter regular hours of operation when people can actually do business with you.

  • Add special hours for holidays, closures or other times when your business is not open.



5. Business Categories


  • The primary business category is the most critical and does impact your search ranking. It is also the only category that people actually see on your business listing.

  • Choose the most appropriate category that accurately represents your business.

  • Take advantage of additional categories and add as many as apply to your business.

  • Do NOT use categories if they do not directly apply to your business.



6. Photos


Photos, videos and virtual tours are an important part of your Google My Business listing.


First, they represent your business to potential clients or students so you want to give them the best impression possible for your business.


According to Google’s own data, “Businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location from users on Google, and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t have photos.”


You also want to upload your own images so that your images have a better chance of displaying on your listing instead of images that Google users upload. Finally, photos, videos and virtual tours encourage engagement with your listing and engagement with your listing is a key ranking factor on Google.



Photo Guidelines


  • Images you upload will not appear on your public listing until you verify your listing.

  • Remember that images that appear on your listing are a combination of ones you upload and ones that the public uploads.

  • If you have more than 10 locations, you can upload photos in bulk with a spreadsheet.

  • All images should JPG / PNG format, no larger than 10MB and a minimum of 720×720 pixels.

  • Use good photography. Remember that these images are the first impression that many people will have about your business. Make it count!

  • Avoid promotional or other non-natural text on your images.

  • Do not use stock photography. Those may be flagged and removed.



There are many additional aspects of your Google My Business that can be leveraged to your success. These are just a few things to get you started.


If you service and support clients in any way, you have a few options.


  • You can do it yourself

  • You can hire an expensive firm

  • We can do it for you


We would love to discuss how we help programs and practices reach the top of search results while proactively gaining positive reviews that turn into higher patient and student placements.


We do this through custom marketing tools developed specific for Mental and Behavioral Health Programs and Professionals.


We manage how a combination of how the top 70+ global maps, apps, search engines, voice assistants, directories, and social networks see your business.


How can we help those who need you most, assure they find you during these trying times?


If you have any questions about this post or need help in general, feel free to leave a comment below or you can reach out to me direct kolby@therapyscoutteam.com


Respectfully,

Kolby

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