Issue 1 of 6
Things are tough. Our dealers, like most others across the country, are struggling with the impact of COVID-19 on their dealerships. In times like these, America’s strength lies in its citizens’ willingness to help each other.
Our business is to help dealers. We create high performing dealer websites, do Hispanic advertising, provide Google My Business optimization support, and a host of other things.
But that is not why I am writing this blog post today. Instead, I am writing to all of you to share best practices and creative ways in which dealers can cope with the impact of COVID-19 using your Google My Business (GMB) account.
The Purpose of this Post
This post is the first in a series of 6 talking about things you can do during the COVID-19 crisis to improve your GMB profile and SEO ranking relative to competitors. Topic 1/6 is what Google recommends for communicating how your dealership should handle COVID-19 via GMB. Please read it and offer suggestions as we move forward. A big part of what we’re doing is identifying creative ways that dealers are adapting to the crisis in order to survive in the long-term. This current list of topics focuses on GMB, but others will follow and your suggestions could prove invaluable to other dealers.
Google’s Recommendations re COVID-19 Messaging
With that said, here is what Google recommends (and the link to their article) regarding messaging around COVID-19:
- Change your Business Hours on GMB (if your hours have changed). This is easy to do. You just log into your GMB account, select Info on the left navigation, and then find the hours and “special hours” and edit accordingly.
- Update your Information (via your Business Description and Posts). Update your Business Description to contain information on how you are adjusting to COVID-19. Make sure this same messaging is consistent through posts or any other communication you do.
- Create Posts to communicate what you are doing to help your customers. Posts are great for sharing detailed info on what you’re doing from how you are making yourself available for sales or how people can get their car serviced by your Service Center.
- Stay in contact with your customers via the GMB phone app. It is easy to download and will give you the opportunity to receive and respond quickly to messages from your customers. Make sure you create an automatic welcome message that lets customers know the status of your dealership… and also remember to turn on messaging so that you get alerted when messages arrive.
- Although this item was not mentioned in Google’s instructions, use the special COVID-19 Post on GMB to alert customers to your dealership’s status. This message should be short and to the point. Your other Update Post can go into details. You can find this special function under the Posts feature in GMB.
- If your dealership is temporarily closed, use the feature in GMB to notify your customers of the shut down. It is a quick change that takes very little time. Just make sure you change it back when you reopen!
Keep Up the Effort!
This messaging is not a one time thing. Your response is likely to evolve over time, but start with your GMB profile and then make sure you match your messaging on your website and all the social media channels that you use.
Next, if you’re contributing to charities, lending extra vehicle support to first responders or any other type of community outreach, let everyone know via GMB’s Posts. This let’s everyone know that you are helping your community which builds good will, and provides rich content that Google will love.
As you refine your message, repeat it everywhere, from your website to all your social media channels. Over time, and as things return to normal, update your messaging accordingly.
Know this: The activity that you do on your GMB account will help your dealership. It will help guide customers on what you are doing and help your ranking over time. We’ll help you with more information over the coming weeks.
If you have questions, feel free to contact us. We can give you a quick hand to get you on your way. Or, if you have suggestions that will help fellow dealers, please send them our way.
Help Yourself and Help Each Other
We’re all in this together. America’s unity and greatness has always come forth during crises. Let’s work together to overcome COVID-19.
The improvements we’re discussing will help your dealership to prepare for when the pandemic ends by optimizing your GMB performance. Don’t miss the rest of this series as we bring more information on ways you can use GMB to help your dealership.
Contact us if you have any questions, want tips or especially if you have tips and suggestions for your fellow car dealers. So share your ideas. Let’s all work on surviving this pandemic so we can rise again and succeed.
Next Topic: Brand Messaging During COVID-19