The Coronavirus is hitting all local businesses. I’m sure you’ve been hit as well, but I wanted to give you a couple of quick updates as to how COVID-19 is going to impact your Google My Business listing, Facebook page, email messages and more.
Google My Business
Most of you have seen the notifications from Google My Business. The number one thing they want businesses to do is update their business hours. They also recommend updating your business description about how the virus may be affecting your business. Finally, they suggest creating a GMB post about how your business is responding to the situation and how it might be impacting the way that people interact with your business. You might also want to update your Q&A on your listing and keep an eye on that section.
By the way, if you do need to update your business hours, it’s important that you update them in all of your major listings: Google, Yelp, Bing, Facebook and Apple Maps. We’ve got a detailed post on how to update your business hours that you’ll find helpful.
Mike Blumenthal also tweeted recently that if you need to temporarily close your business, you can reach out to Google support. There’s also a possibility that Google may automatically mark a business as temporarily closed if that business type is ordered closed by local or state governments.
So, keep an eye on your listing. They’re not going to ask if your business should be closed … they’re apparently just going to market it as closed. If your business is inadvertently marked as closed, you will need to reach out to support. Realize that GMB support is going to be overloaded and you’ll need to be patient but persistent.
Facebook Business Pages
Facebook’s also sent out an email that had some useful resources for local businesses.
First, they give some basic tips on keeping safe, informed, and staying in touch with customers. The best idea here is that you may want to pin a post to the top of your Facebook page until the Coronavirus situation is over.
They also have a couple of other good documents that can help you assess if your business is ready for an emergency … COVID-19, a weather situation, or any other kind of emergency down the road. You can download PDFs of both their “Business Resilience Toolkit” and “Quick Action Guide”.
Email Marketing During Coronavirus
In the video above, I show a couple of good, but different approaches that I see businesses using during this situation. A local brewery nearby basically said that they’re shutting down the tasting room, but that customers can still get to-go sales. The tasting room, events and food trucks have all been put on hold. This was a clear, concise message that was put out to their email list
Another was from a local accounting firm. It basically said, “What does this mean to you, our customer?” Their answer is that is won’t impact their customers much. They still be available to answer questions via email and phone. All the tax preparation that they’re doing is still happening. They can setup meetings on Zoom and share documents electronically. This was an excellent communication for a business like this.
Finally, I saw another interesting idea from Big F Restaurant Group. They operate one of my favorite restaurants here in Northern Colorado, Jax Fish Market.
Their message was promoting a way to help out local restaurants by buying a gift card. Buy the card now, get a bonus on the gift card and help out a local business even if you can’t come into the restaurant right now. This is a fantastic idea to give people a little extra little bonus and still generate some revenue during a very tough time.