In turbulent times, clear and up-to-date communication becomes even more critical. Google My Business empowers dealers to stay connected to their customers through the SERP, providing key information about how COVID-19 is impacting their business and what they’re doing to mitigate risk to sales and service center shoppers. No matter what’s going on in your unique market, leaning on the features that GMB offers to connect with consumers should be at the top of a smart COVID-19 marketing and communication strategy.
*NOTE*: Google is actively making updates to GMB in response to COVID-19. As more updates are announced, we’ll continue to keep this page up to date.
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS COVID-19 UPDATES
- Please note that any Google Posts related to COVID-19 MUST use the COVID-19 Update post type. Otherwise, Google may algorithmically remove your post.
- Google has temporarily disabled review creation and response, meaning that consumers can’t leave reviews right now and business owners can not respond to existing reviews.
- Google has temporarily suspended Q&A features on all GMB profiles. Q&A will not appear on your knowledge panel card until this is reverted back.
- Google is in the process of rolling out an updated feature allowing businesses to mark themselves as “Temporarily Closed” or “Permanently Closed”. You can find this feature under the “Info” tab near the bottom of the page.
- Google is issuing guidance that change requests may take longer than usual to be approved and pushed live.
KEEP SALES AND SERVICE HOURS UP TO DATE
With so much shopping uncertainty, you don’t want to miss out on a potential sales or service customer because they weren’t clear about your current operating hours.
No matter if you’re changing your hours for a single day or if your hours are adjusted for the foreseeable future, keep them up to date.
- If you have made long-term changes to your hours, change the master hours now and change them back later.
- If you are changing your hours for a shorter period of time, like a day or few days, it’s easier to use the “Special Hours” feature.
- If you have a seperate GMB listing for your Parts and Service center, ensure that you’re updating those department hours directly on those listings.
USE POSTS TO HIGHLIGHT BUSINESS UPDATES
Google Posts appear directly on your GMB card in the SERP, and thanks to the ability to set a featured image for each post as well as to have a clickable CTA, they’re a great way to get user attention. If you haven’t been actively using Google Posts to push information to searchers about your response to COVID and promote any special buying programs that you’re offering — NOW is the time to start!
Here are some ideas for posts to make that users will appreciate:
1. We’re Still Open
Inspire Chevrolet is still open to the public for sales and service, and we’re taking every health and safety precaution possible to protect our customers.
[Learn More] CTA links to the COVID-19 Response page on your website.
2. Buy Online / Home Delivery
Don’t delay your purchase! Inspire Chevrolet can help you buy your new car almost fully online, and deliver it right to your door.
[Learn More] CTA links to Digital Retailing landing page on your website.
3. Service Center Pick Up and Drop Off Available
Stay safe and stay at home while still keeping your car’s service needs up to date. We’re pleased to be able to offer pick up and drop off services during this time.
[Call Now] CTA connects the searcher directly with your service department.
How to Create a Google Post
If you’ve never created a Google Post before, here’s how you get started!
- If your post is focused on COVID-19, use the COVID-19 Update post type. Otherwise, use the What’s New post type, which will allow you to include an image or video and a CTA that can link users to additional on-site content.
- For Posts that allow it, use a relevant, square image that’s at least 250×250 px.
- Use the [Learn More] CTA, with a link to helpful content that users will appreciate related to your post.
- Keep your post length between 150 and 300 words. If you need more words, create a blog post or content page, and link to it with the [Learn More] CTA.
- Stay conscious of post expirations. The What’s New post type will be auto-removed after one week, so be sure to add more posts or re-post as needed.
MANAGE YOUR BUSINESS OVERVIEW
Traditionally, the “From The Business” section (found under the Info tab of the GMB dashboard), offers a high level overview of your dealership, similar to entry content found on your site’s homepage. Consider using this content box to push messaging to consumers about the state of your business while this outbreak continues. With so much consumer confusion, the more consistent you can make your messaging, the better off you’ll be.
- Reinforce that your hours are accurate – “Yes, we’re still open! As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, we’ll keep our hours up to date here in order to best serve you.”
- Reiterate what measures you’re taking – “We’re taking the health and safety of our employees and shoppers seriously, and have implemented several measures to ensure you can shop or service while staying healthy.”
- Highlight department differences – “Our sales center is currently closed, however, our service bay is open by appointment only!”
YOUR COVID-19 GMB MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST
⃞ Have you updated your sales department hours to reflect current operation hours?
⃞ Have you updated your service and parts department hours to reflect current operation hours?
⃞ Have you created a Google Post highlighting changes to your operating hours or reinforcing that you’re still open?
⃞ Have you created a Google Post highlighting safety precautions you’re taking for in-store service/buying?
⃞ Have you created a Google Post advertising the OEM special incentives that are available?
⃞ Have you created a Google Post detailing the special buying accomodations you have? (digital retailing, home delivery, etc)
⃞ Have you set a reminder to update your Google Posts each week?
⃞ Have you updated your GMB Business Description to reinforce key information about your dealership?
⃞ If your business has to close temporarily, have you marked your business as “Temporarily Closed” in the GMB dashboard?
Additional COVID-19 Dealership Resources