Online advertising is going to be crucial for small businesses this holiday season. With COVID-19 changing the way people shop — including moving many of them online — digital presence is more important than ever.
If you own a small business and want to take advantage of holiday shopping trends, you need to make sure you’re easy to contact, have any information people could want readily available, and are listing your products on as many platforms as you can.
Google has taken some steps to address the additional challenges posed by COVID-19 this holiday season. In a recent blog post, Kim Spaulding, their Director of Product Management, Small Business Ads, announced a new Small Business Holiday Hub that’ll help business owners get prepared. It has a number of resources designed to help you optimize for the holiday season.
To get set up, the first thing you have to do is claim a profile on Google My Business. From there, you can update store hours and address. You can also relay accurate information about how your business has changed procedures due to COVID-19, whether that includes curbside pickup or other such services.
After that you’ll be able to take advantage of tools including:
Grow My Store
Is your hardware store struggling with local competition? This tool compares your site to other similar businesses and see how you perform with regard to customer experience. Then it gives you tailored recommendations so you can improve your website and boost visibility.
Local Opportunity Finder
Your Google Business Profile on Google matters. The Local Opportunity Finder will give you “personalized suggestions for making improvements to your Business Profile,” according to Spalding.
Having a Robust Online Presence Is More Important Than Ever
COVID-19 is shaping how people shop. That’s not an opinion; the numbers back it up. Researchers estimate that this year more than 70% of American adults will do more than half of their holiday shopping online.
Keep in mind, Google recently allowed businesses to list their products for free on their platform. That’s another resource you should definitely be taking advantage of. Even if you want to direct customers to shop in-person, we think it’s best if you at least give them the option to buy online.
People Are Buying More From Small Businesses
This year it’s been reported that 66% of people are planning on shopping from small businesses. That means there’s a lot of opportunity for increased sales as we get closer to December.
Google Isn’t The Only Way People Will Find Your Business, But It Is the Most Popular
Google is just one of the ways customers will find your business, so the Small Business Holiday Hub isn’t the be-all and end-all in terms of preparing your company for the holiday season.
That being said, more people will be Googling your business than finding it through Facebook or another search engine like Bing, so it’s important to use all the tools Google has provided to make the customer experiences as easy and pleasant as possible.
Use the Available Advertising Resources This Holiday Season
We think it’s great that during this time in which so many small businesses are struggling, people are going out of their way to support them. We recommend utilizing that goodwill and the available resources to help you keep pace this holiday season.