Category Archives: Google and Your Business

Tips and tricks for managing your business with Google’s solutions

Updating Your Holiday Hours on Google? Easy as Pumpkin Pie.

Heather Mohorn, owner of Momo’s Tree House, adds special hours on Google to let last-minute shoppers know when her business is open. “The holiday hours feature makes it easy to communicate [changes in hours] to customers,” she says. “It reduces the number of phone calls we receive to ask whether we’re open, which is nice when we’re busy wrapping those last-minute gifts on Christmas Eve.”

With Google My Business, you can update your business info on Google for free to ensure that your phone number, address, and hours of operation are correct so customers can find you this season (and beyond).

To help you make the most of the season, we put together a holiday workshop filled with tips for using the web to connect with shoppers. Preview the section on updating your holiday hours above, or watch the entire workshop at gybo.com/livestream.

For a list of step-by-step instructions on how to update your hours on Google My Business, visit our help center

We hope this is one thing you can easily check off your holiday to-do list.

Cheers,
Emily Harris, on behalf of the Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map team

Help Holiday Shoppers Find Your Business

Since 1992, Werkheiser Jewelers has been helping customers find the perfect holiday gift–from picking out an engagement ring to restoring cherished family heirlooms. While they’ve kept their love for tradition alive, the way they do business has changed with the times.

Today, 78% of shoppers online use the Internet for holiday research.1 That includes jewelry shoppers searching for a gift for that special someone. Alyssa Rizzo-Berg, Media Marketing Manager at Werkheiser Jewelers, explains, “Maybe they’re looking to buy that first big piece of jewelry or an engagement ring. Because of Google, they’re able to find us.”

We all rely on small businesses to help make our holidays special, and we rely on the Internet to help us find the right local spots. Is your business ready to connect during this busy time of year?
In the next few weeks, Google and our partners are bringing hundreds of local workshops to a city near you to help your business get ready for the holidays. On October 26th, we’re also hosting a live workshop online with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Join us to learn how to create a free business listing on Google, optimize your website for mobile, and advertise online.


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We hope to see you there. And from our team to yours, happy holidays!



1. Ipsos MediaCT, Google Post Holiday Shopping Intentions Study, January 2015, n=1,500.

Academy for Ads: On-The-Go Training for Google’s Ad Products

Becoming a digital advertising expert takes time, and it’s important to get off to a good start. Only 50 percent of marketers say they’re confident in their knowledge of digital advertising,1 despite the wide range of educational materials available – sometimes “more” isn’t the same as “better.” You’ve told us that you want quick, bite-sized training in more interactive formats. And we heard you.

We’re pleased to announce Academy for Ads, a new digital training platform designed to help you learn how to use Google’s ad products in a mobile-first world. We built Academy for Ads to promote learning on-the-go, whether you’re on a laptop, a desktop, or a mobile device.

Grow your Google product know-how
Guided by input from our team of product experts, Academy for Ads courses cover the topics that matter most to Google advertisers – from AdWords basics and the essentials of campaign management to bid strategies, reporting, optimization, and more ways to successfully advertise with Google.



Learning paths, Assessments, and Achievements
We’ve organized the courses into “Learning paths” that you can walk through at your own pace. At the end of each path, take an Assessment and earn an Achievement to show that you know your stuff. Earning an Achievement for AdWords helps prepare you to take the AdWords Certification exam in Google Partners, or try deeper education offerings such as AdWords Academy.


A few example Learning paths:
  • Digital concepts: Learn the essentials of online ads, including third-party ad-serving, programmatic buying, remarketing, and more.
  • Get started with AdWords: Learn the basics of AdWords and prepare for the AdWords Certification exam offered by Google Partners.
  • Get started with AdWords Display: Learn how you can show ads to your online audience via the Google Display Network.
Academy for Ads also offers training for DoubleClick clients, with Learning paths covering Bid Manager and Ad Exchange – and more to come.

Get started
If you already use Google Partners, you can sign in through the Partners portal at g.co/learnwithpartners — or, you can go directly to g.co/AcademyforAds to sign up and start sampling courses and Learning paths. We’re constantly adding more content, so if you like what you learn, keep coming back for more.



1. 6 Fundamentals to Managing Digital Marketing in 2015, TFM Insights (January 2015)

3 Ways to Get More from AdWords Express Right Now

In 2011, with 13 years of interior design and window covering work under her belt, Sandra Anderson set off on her own to start Anderson Custom Window Coverings, Inc. She offered high quality support at a lower cost than many competitors, and was driven to get things right on the first try. But when she opened her business, she found it difficult to bring customers through the door with traditional methods like flyers and a listing in the phone book. That’s when Sandra decided to try Google advertising.

Today, Sandra says 80% of her new customers come from Google ads, and she relies on AdWords Express, our smart advertising tool, to manage campaigns for her so she can focus on running her business. For small businesses without a professional marketer on staff, AdWords Express can lighten the load – and over the last year, the number of businesses using AdWords Express has nearly doubled, with more signing up every day.

We’re thrilled to see business owners finding success with AdWords Express, and are determined to make it a one-stop shop for helping to grow your business. To reach this goal, we’re introducing 3 new features to help you reach a larger audience and understand exactly how your ad is impacting your business.
  1. Ad Scheduling – Choose to run your ad at specific times
    Nearly one third of searches for local businesses in the US come from consumers who want to make a purchase immediately.1 Ad scheduling is a simple way to make sure your ad only runs at times you choose, (during your hours of operation, for example), so you reach your customers at exactly the right time.
    You can choose custom hours or link to your Google My Business account to automatically run your ad only during your business hours.
  2. Map Actions – Understand how your ads drive people to your store
    Map Actions shows you how many customers who’ve viewed your ad go on to view your business on Google Maps – which can be vital, since over 1/3 of visitors in the US use online maps to find local businesses.2 If you care about whether your ads drive people to your storefront, Map Actions might just be your favorite new tool.
    Map actions shows how many customers interacted with your
    Google Maps listing after viewing your ad. 
  3. Verified Calls – Get better call tracking
    Right now we’re piloting a new way for advertisers to track which phone calls they receive come from customers who clicked “Call now” on an ad on their mobile phones. Advertisers who opt into Verified Calls will also see detailed information about incoming calls, including the area codes and call duration. We’ve already rolled this out to many AdWords Express advertisers, and hope to expand it to all users soon.
    New insights into verified calls allow you to see time, duration, and location of each call along with overall trends in call volumes.
If you’re already advertising on AdWords Express, start understanding more about your performance with these new features today. Or, if you’re just getting started, visit google.com/adwords/express, or check out our help center to learn more.



1. Google Consumer Barometer
2. Google Consumer Barometer

Traits that Spell Success

With the Rio Summer Olympic Games just around the corner, we thought we’d look at an uncommon, yet exceptional, group of business owners for our answer: Olympian small business owners. As it turns out, many of them start a second career by running a business of their own bringing the same spirit of passion, perseverance, and ingenuity from their athletic careers.

Passion
Judy Geer and Dick Dreissigacker – two USA Olympic rowers from the 70s and 80s – came to Vermont because it allowed them to combine their passion for active living and the natural environment into what is now known as the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. As Judy puts it, “It’s great that we help train Olympic athletes at our center, but it’s bigger than that. For me, it’s all about helping more people have great experiences, whether they’re getting exercise or just enjoying our surroundings.” Despite its remote location, Judy’s deep commitment to sustainability and lifelong sports practice keeps both local residents and aspiring athletes from across the country coming back. Customers can tell when business owners get out of bed in the morning because they love what they do.

Perseverance
Setbacks are common parts of the journey for any athlete or small business owner. The important thing isn’t the number of obstacles you avoid, it’s the way you bounce back from the ones you can’t miss. When four-time kayaking world champion Eric ‘EJ’ Jackson found his kayak designs rejected by manufacturers across the country, he didn’t give up – and his motto is “no compromising,” so buckling to tradition wasn’t an option. Instead, EJ’s relentless drive to create on his own terms resulted in Jackson Kayak, now a leading manufacturer within the industry. Jackson Kayak now sells products online and through dealers across the country.

Ingenuity
Since the beginning, four-time track and field Olympian and world record holder Michael Johnson has experimented with new ways to tell the story of his performance training center, Michael Johnson Performance. Because he wanted to attract local customers, moving some of his advertising budget online made sense so he could reach them with geo-targeted ads.

With more potential customers finding him on mobile, Michael Johnson also drove growth for his business with mobile ads. “Two-thirds of our customers find us through mobile,” says Johnson. “With Google AdWords, we can see exactly who we’re reaching and that’s invaluable to us.” Making connections with new customers is key to growing any business, and a willingness to experiment with new ways of reaching those customers is a vital part of any business owner.

Learn how all kinds of small business owners – mom and pops to all-star Olympians – are using Google AdWords to grow their businesses by visiting g.co/AdWordsGoForGold.

Get Better Insights With Google My Business

Search engines have become the most popular way for people to find info about local businesses1 – and millions of business owners rely on Google My Business to reach new customers on Google Search and Maps. In fact, the average well-maintained Google My Business listing gets five times more views than listings which haven’t been claimed by their owners.2

Today we’re announcing some exciting changes to Google My Business, designed to let our users see where and how people are finding them on Google.

Where are people seeing your listing?
Now when you log into Google My Business, not only will you see the total number of views for your listing, you’ll also see a breakdown of how many are coming from Google Search vs. Maps.

How are people finding you?
Though some people search for you on Google by name, others search more generally for what you have to offer. (For example, “pizza restaurants in [your town].”) In fact, when researching a future purchase, 76% of people consider more than one business before making their final choice.3 Now you can see who visited your listing after searching for it directly, and who discovered your business while looking for a broader category.

To better serve our users, we’re focusing these new insights on Google Search and Maps, and removing Google+ statistics from the dashboard. With deeper insights on how people are finding your business on Google, you can make sure your efforts to maintain and promote your business are paying off. Keep your listing up-to-date by adding photos, responding to reviews, and updating your hours so that users find helpful, relevant information when they’re looking for you directly. And, if you want to reach more customers who are searching for your business category, consider promoting your listing with AdWords Express.

We hope these changes make your life a little simpler, and we’re excited to introduce even more insights into your customers' behavior soon. To learn more, check out our help center. Happy Tracking!



1. 82% of consumers use Search Engines to find information about local businesses (Google Consumer Barometer)
2. Google Internal Data
3. Google Consumer Barometer

Go the Extra Mile with #SmallBizGames Challenges

Summer’s coming to an end, and with Fall just around the corner, small businesses are preparing for the upcoming season and looking ahead to the holidays. To help business owners brush up on their marketing skills at this key moment, we’re proud to share ten #SmallBizGames digital marketing challenges. Every day for the next two weeks, we’ll share a different digital marketing challenge aimed at improving your small business’ online presence – try your hand at setting up a Google My Business page, building your first AdWords keyword list, or creating a custom email address for your business. Each daily challenge is designed to hone your digital marketing skills and help you reach more customers online.

To participate or learn more, join the Google Small Business Community or follow us on Twitter. Best of luck in conquering the #SmallBizGames challenges!

Three Things You Should Know Before Choosing AdWords Express

Online advertising is a powerful, affordable way to grow your business, but you have to start with the right tools. Many small businesses are interested in reaching new customers online, but don’t know where to start, and don’t have much time to spare. As Benoit Ballon – the owner of King Florist in Austin, Texas – puts it, “We just wanted a platform where we would be able to keep it simple. For our small business, that’s a big plus.”

For business owners like Benoit, we recommend AdWords Express, a smart advertising tool from Google that’s designed to manage your ads for you, helping you get the most out of your budget and allowing you to stay focused on your business. A lot has been written about choosing the best product for you, and it can be overwhelming to sift through everyone’s recommendations. So if you’re considering AdWords Express for your online ads, here are the top three things we think you should know:
  1. It uses expert techniques to manage campaigns for you.
    AdWords Express is constantly fine-tuning your campaigns. It monitors how often and where your ad appears on Google (and across the web), adjusts spend, and makes sure your ad is placed in front of the right people, to help you maximize the number of clicks or calls for the budget you selected.
  2. It’s designed to make setup easy and results clear.
    Setting up your first AdWords Express ad takes just 15 minutes – it’s as simple as answering a few questions about your business. Once your campaign has had some time to run, AdWords Express shows you focused results – including views, clicks, and calls – in an easy-to-read dashboard, available on desktop and in the mobile app. You’ll also get an email of your results every month, so you can keep track of things right from your inbox.
  3. It’s improving along with the rest of Google.
    One of the best features of AdWords Express is the work it does on your behalf, and we’re making it even smarter with cutting edge technology from Google Brain. We also recently announced the addition of Google Analytics to help advertisers get even deeper insights into their performance. We’re constantly improving AdWords Express, so keep an eye out for even more features in the coming months.
For Benoit at King Florist, the difference AdWords Express makes clear. “With AdWords Express, we can actually see an increase in business. If tomorrow I turn off the AdWords Express campaign, two or three days later I can feel it. The phone isn’t ringing as much. Our presence online isn't as much. Every day, on one of our campaigns there is an impact.”

AdWords Express is designed to be effective for all types of business and all sizes of budget, so sign up today and get it working for you. To see a full list of features, and more information on choosing between AdWords Express and AdWords (including a detailed comparison), visit our help center.

Use Online Reviews to Connect with Back-to-School Customers

It’s time to get down to business for back-to-school. During this time, students, teachers and parents are relying on reviews while searching online for everything from notebooks to new clothes to campus coffee shops. In fact, 3 in 4 consumers say it’s important to read reviews before visiting a business.1

Business owners like Brian Wood of Sureflow Rooter see the value in customer reviews. “We often ask our customers how they found us: online, word of mouth or advertising? We have been pleasantly surprised to hear them say ‘from Google’ and that they liked our reviews and felt comfortable calling us.”

Small business owners looking to make a good impression on back-to-school shoppers should use tools like Google My Business which allow you to engage with, and manage, customer reviews. Below are a few tips to help you get started:

Tip #1: Just ask
Satisfied customers don’t always remember to write reviews, so it’s important to give them a reminder after they make a purchase or interact with your business – but remember to keep review guidelines in mind. Try including a survey link in your receipts or sending an automated follow-up email, rather than, say, setting up a laptop for reviews in-store, or offering incentives, which violates Google policy.

Tip #2: Be proactive about responding to reviews

It’s important to address both positive and negative reviews, since 83% of customers remember reviews from search results.2 When responding to reviews, it’s always good to thank customers. In the case of a negative review, address the issue without getting defensive. For example, try posting a reply describing the steps you took to remedy the situation.

These personalized responses are an opportunity to build relationships with customers. Don’t be afraid to highlight your business’s personality.

Tip #3: Actively monitor your reviews
Managing reviews is an ongoing process, so you should make sure to check in periodically and stay up-to-date with what your customers are saying. You can do this by checking the reviews section of your Google My Business dashboard.

The Children’s Museum of South Dakota noticed that this method helped their business stay in tune with customer interests. Randy Grimsley, the Director of Marketing, told us, “We regularly check on customer reviews. It’s a quick way to discover what’s working and what may need tweaking.”

Your back-to-school assignment? Apply these lessons to your business, and start getting proactive about online reviews.

For more helpful tips on managing your online reviews, check out: gybo.com/review



1. Impact Report: How are Customers Discovering Small Businesses?, May 2016
2. Google/ Ipsos, Impact of Search Listings for Local Businesses. Base: Saw Listing (Control=494, Test= 496), August 2014.

Summer is for Road Trips: Get Discovered by Customers On the Go

Summer is a great time for a get-away, and for 9 out of 10 people, the family car is the preferred mode of vacation transportation.1 Road trips lead to new discoveries, from finding the biggest ice cream cone in San Diego to the best lobster roll in Maine – and with tons of vacationers searching for places and activities during their on-the-go travel moments, having an accurate seasonal listing is an important opportunity for your business to get noticed.

Get ready for tourists
85% of leisure travelers don’t decide on activities until after arriving at their destination,2 and that means people are searching for information on the spot. Snake River Angler, a fly fishing shop in Jackson, Wyoming maintains updated seasonal information in their Google My Business listing and AdWords campaigns, to reel in trout fishing enthusiasts from all over the US.
Get visual
Google My Business listings with photos get 35% more clicks and 42% more requests for directions than those without.3 Travelers are often unfamiliar with their surroundings, and photos help make it easier for people to see what your business has to offer. Rogue Creamery, a creamery and cheese shop in Central Point, Oregon, uses Google My Business to attract out-of-town visitors – even before they get into town. Their Google My Business listing helps some 40,000 visitors a year visit the cheese store, with directions, reviews, and photos. "We ask people how they found us, and so many say, 'I found you on Google,'" says Retail Manager Tom Van Voorhees.

Get noticed in the moment
Without activity breaks, a long road trip with kids can be a handful, and The Children’s Museum of South Dakota embraces their status as a road trip reprieve en route to Mount Rushmore. Using a complete Google My Business listing and geo-targeted AdWords campaigns, they’ve attracted over 100,000 visitors each year.

Nearly half of all Americans vacation in the summer, and with tourists coming to a town near you, now is the time to make sure your business can be easily found. Visit Google My Business to learn more about how you can get a listing for your business on Google.



1. Trip Advisor, Equation Research, Harris Interactive, Money Crashers, March 2015, http://www.statisticbrain.com/summer-vacation-travel-statistics/
2. Google/Ipsos Media CT, 2015 Traveler’s Road to Decision. Base: US leisure travelers, n= 3,500, Aug 2015
3. Google/Oxera, The Benefits of Complete Business Listings, December 2014