It’s always a joy to come back to Ocracoke to offer small business training through the Beaufort County Community College Small Business Center and Ocracoke Civic and the Ocracoke Business Association. One of the classes I recently introduced was how to get the most out of free Google apps. For businesses on very limited budgets, Google gives a wide assortment of free tools to manage your business.
One of these tools I’d like to talk about here is your Google Business Profile and why it is so critical that you update it regularly. Google has changed the name of this free listing from Google My Business to Google Business Profile and you may find both names still used by Google in some places. Your Profile information will also be displayed as your business information on Google Maps.
Imagine someone sitting at home in Raleigh and deciding where to go on Ocracoke in the off-season. There are several places they will look. including the Ocracoke Observer and one of the primary places they look online is the Google Maps listing of businesses to see who’s open and who isn’t. This can mean them choosing to make the trip or not.
When I arrived the night before my class on March 23 I looked to see what restaurants were still open. I always like to eat at a new location since I’m also a Google local guide with over 1,500 reviews written. I found two restaurants that looked like they were next to each other that were closing in a half an hour so I went right to them. When I arrived at the first one it clearly looked like they were still in business but were closed. The second one next door that also looked like they were in business was closed too. It would have taken the owners literally 2 minutes to update the app and let someone know if they had to close early or if their times changed. This is what we teach in the class and it is that easy. I then looked up another restaurant and of course, this time called to double-check and they answered and said yes we’re still open, and went there. I’m a big fan of Ocracoke and if I were a new visitor I wouldn’t be as happy.
Travelers are accustomed to using the Google Maps listing to evaluate places to eat, reading the positive and negative reviews, seeing if the owners cared enough to respond to the reviews, and looking for updates that are on it with new offerings as well as products they might sell online. We covered all this in the class as well.
Then in the morning, I wanted to get breakfast before I left. and I Googled the place I was hoping to go to. Their Google Maps listing said it was temporarily closed.. Luckily someone I was with said that’s not true, they’re open. I then called and confirmed they were open. if they had to temporarily close for some reason during the winter it would have only taken the owner a few minutes to just update this status on Google Maps.
I then notified Google that this restaurant was open and Google changed the status. The fast response I believe occurred because I am a trusted top-level 9 reviewer. Most people would not make this extra effort and will just move on and spend their money elsewhere or just decide too many places are not open and not come at all. Towns that have worked with me have learned how to even get business in the off-season and this is one of the ways.
Part of the reason businesses don’t use these free services. beyond being very busy, is they often. receive phone calls from people trying to sell them these services and they don’t always realize these calls are a type of scam, they are not from Google.
With the season just around the corner, please download the Google My Business app (still the current name for it) and make sure that when you change your hours you simply update Google Maps. It’s money in the bank for you and it’s free. Then as we talked about in the class, you can also put updates of new specials if you have any products you’re selling online and now not just photos but also short videos. Also, continue the updates with the local paper because visitors when they land like to pick these up to find out the latest news.
I want to thank everyone that supported bringing me to the area again. I love your community and how you’re a true model of a small-town helping each other. It means a great deal to me when I can offer training that helps you all get higher-quality customers and business. I look forward to coming back and want to deeply thank the Ocracoke Observer for letting people know about my class.
Martin Brossman – Success Coach/Trainer Find me online at: http://martinbrossman.com/ Phone 919-608-8157 to schedule time with me. Also, follow Martin’s Small Business Youtube for more tips: https://www.youtube.com/c/SmallBusinessTrainingbyMartinBrossman/featured