Winter is the Golden Quarter for many businesses—especially those with local footprints. With the holiday season capable of making or breaking a business, it is vital to make sure your Local Presence Management (LPM) strategy is up to snuff for the last few months of 2018.
Whether you’re in the middle of holiday planning or just getting started, there’s no time like the present to update your local presence to boost your year-end revenue and traffic. With that in mind, here’s our handy holiday checklist to make sure you’re doing everything you can to capitalize on local this winter.
Keep holiday shoppers happy with accurate listings
Inaccurate local business listings cost you revenue all year round—but especially during the holidays. After all, holiday shoppers are already stressed, so their tolerance for being inconvenienced by wrong phone numbers, addresses, and hours of operation is likely lower than usual. If you’ve recently opened several new locations, implemented a new tracking system, or made other unique updates for the holidays, make sure you work with your local listings partner to ensure these updates are in place before the holiday shoppers come pouring in.
Boost traffic with holiday hours
Extended hours can make a fundamental difference in revenue. Whether your plan is to have unique holiday hours or not, it is worth noting that your listed hours are accurate for the season. Otherwise, shoppers may assume that a vague message like “location hours may differ during the holidays” means shorter opening times.
List your business even if it’s only seasonal
If you’re listing a seasonal business (hello, Christmas tree farm!), you can still have a Google My Business Listing—but you have to meet these criteria:
- Your business displays street signage year-round at its location
- Your hours are set on Google My Business (GMB) during the season and removed when the season ends
We create and take down these listings as needed for our clients. Simply let us know your business is planned to be open for the season and we’ll make sure the listings are then removed when the time comes.
Utilize Google Posts for your holiday promotions
GMB’s new Google Posts feature allows businesses to microblog on their Google Knowledge Panels and their GMB maps listing. The types of posts you can make include:
- Phone numbers
- Images and videos
- Links to learn more
Event posts expire after the event date, but other types of post automatically expire after seven days. Make sure you add eye-catching imagery (750×750) and keep your content under 300 characters. It is best to schedule your Google Posts in advance so you are not scrambling for content when holiday shoppers are already searching for your business.
Use Google Q&A to anticipate customer queries and save time
There is bound to be an influx of questions to your business, whether they’re asked by phone, email, or within the Google Q&A feature itself. To make life a little easier, businesses can post their own FAQs on their Google Q&A page. This, combined with answering actual customer left on your Google Q&A by users, will stop many of those repeat customer questions from tying up your other contact points.
Pictures are worth a thousand words, so use them to drive clicks
Business listings that include photos are twice as likely to be considered reputable—and receive 35% more clicks on average. Holiday-specific images will also increase confidence in your brand with customers seeing you are updating regularly and putting in special effort to obtain their seasonal business.
Put your best foot forward with evergreen GMB descriptions
Write compelling descriptions of your business, products, and services—but don’t violate Google’s guidelines by mentioning holiday sales or promotions. Your business description should be a static, evergreen profile of your business. Leave the promotions to Google Posts.
Incorporate GMB attributes
Another great way to alert shoppers to the desirable aspects of your business is to have clear attributes assigned to your listing. Attributes include items such as “dogs welcome, “onsite parking,” or “women-led.” The attributes available are determined by the primary category of your business. It is best to include as many as apply as something as simple as someone looking your business up while taking their dog for a walk may lead to them coming to your store.
Entice customers with fresh inventory listings
A new “See What’s in Store” feature allows business to import items into their Google Knowledge Panel. While trying to copy your entire store inventory would be a fool’s errand, it may be a smart move to inventory popular new gift items. If this feature is right for your business, we can help you put the most eye-catching items front and center on your listings.
Respond to reviews quickly
Whether they’re positive or negative, providing fast responses to reviews will boost your local SEO and maybe even convert detractors into promoters. That’s why our TransparenSEE platform aggregates your reviews from all sources for all locations, making it effortlessly easy to respond to reviews and manage your local reputation.
An influx of holiday shoppers will also result in an influx of new reviews, so it will be important to respond to the newest reviews as they come in—after all, the most recent reviews could be a first impression for new customers. Your response to complaints and gratitude to happy customers will influence not only who you are responding to but also future potential customers.
And don’t forget: holiday season with be back in 12 short months!
Knowledge is power—whether it’s a simple glance at your GMB insights or a deep dive with the help of our marketing scientists. In fact, the data you amass in your most lucrative quarter can be analyzed in the new year to fine-tune your business strategy for the next holiday season. So don’t take a wild guess at what works best for your business: get in touch with our LPM experts and take your local search strategy to the next level in 2019.