Every day, millions of people turn to Google to discover, research, and shop. If you want to be one of the businesses discovered, you need to ensure that your business shows up on the search page, is enticing enough for someone to click on, and seamlessly promotes online and in-store shopping. Ready to get started on an online marketing overhaul? Read on for our small business marketing tips using Google.
3 Small Business Marketing Tips Using Google
Tip #1: Make sure your brand shows up on Google
It’s safe to say that digital is now the gateway to all commerce, and that goes for both online and in-store shopping. People use Google to search online when they are exploring new ideas and to keep up with the things that matter to them. As shoppers browse across Google and social media (particularly YouTube), they discover new brands and products that are relevant to them. Your potential customers are using Google to find out which product is best in its category, best fits their price range, and has recent positive reviews. Will they find you there?
Follow these basic steps to get your small business showing up on Google:
- To start, build a website that is consistently optimized for Google Search. In Canada, more than half of shoppers go to Google Search when researching a purchase they plan to make in-store (56%) or online (59%).2
- Set up a Google Business Profile with as much information as possible. Fill out your location, contact, hours of operation, photos, and posts. Shoppers often check Google Business Profiles on Google Maps to see what local stores are in the area, if it is open, or if they have a product available in-store. Take advantage of the fact that Google Maps searches for “shopping near me” have grown globally by over 100% year over year.3
- Consistently encourage your shoppers to leave 5 Star Reviews on your Google Business Profile.
- Create engaging and professional videos about your services or products and upload them to your social media channels, including a branded YouTube channel (YouTube is owned by Google). Eighty-nine percent of shoppers surveyed in the US agree that YouTube creators give them the best information about products and brands.
- Shopping searches on Google Images are very popular, so place appropriate alt tags on your website and e-commerce images so they’ll show up in the search results.
Tip #2: Catch your customer’s attention as they search on Google
The second of our small business marketing tips using Google ties into the fact that over half of Canadian shoppers search with Google when researching a purchase they plan to make in-store. We’re all familiar with a Google search. Google displays a list of results relevant to the keywords being searched, with each result consisting of a page title and snippet of text around 160 characters long. This is where we get to the important part. This snippet of text is called a meta description and it summarizes a webpage’s content. It’s up to you, or your webmaster, to ensure that meta descriptions are set up properly on your website and e-commerce pages so they show up in a Google search, AND that they are engaging enough for searchers to click and visit your website.
If you don’t know how to set up your meta descriptions, you should hire a professional webmaster to do it for you as part of your search engine optimization (SEO) activities.
Tip #3: Remember that Google likes businesses to facilitate omni-channel purchases
Online or in-store, you need to provide a consistent, easy, and pleasant customer experience. Convenience is key, and shoppers buy from brands that can provide what they’re looking for, however or wherever they prefer to shop, whether that’s being able to buy a product online, or to be able to see what a local store has in stock. This, too, is a durable change since the pandemic. Although Canadians are returning to stores, people are still buying online more than ever before. Those who prefer buying in-store are increasingly checking online first to see if what they’re looking for is in stock, making their in-person visit more efficient.
Did you know that customers who shop online and in-store are typically the most loyal and most valuable in terms of revenue generation? A Harvard Business Review study found that deliberate online searching beforehand led customers to greater in-store purchases.
Google is actively working to make the connection between online and in-store more obvious, believable, and more automated for retailers. Businesses are able to specify an e-commerce and in-store sales target, and Google will optimize the keywords and clicks to maximize your sales across channels.
With this in mind, review your current online and in-store shopping experiences to see how they work together, and ensure your internal incentives are aligned as well. Don’t focus only on e-commerce and online purchasing. Be sure to optimize your online experience to also encourage in-store sales for those shoppers who prefer to supplement their buying decisions with an in-person visit. This big-picture approach will drive sales both online and in-store.
Ready to increase your online reach? These small business marketing tips using Google are just the tip of the iceberg. We can help guide you through the process, and really stand out in those search results. Get in touch to learn more.
1 eMarketer, Canada Ecommerce Forecast 2022, July 2022
2 Google commissioned Ipsos COVID-19 tracker, CA, n=1,001 online consumers 18+ Sept. 9–12, 2021
3 Google Data, Global English, Dec. 14, 2021–Feb. 11, 2022 vs. Dec. 14, 2020–Feb. 11, 2021.
4 Google commissioned Ipsos COVID-19 tracker, CA, n=1,002 online consumers 18+, Jan. 6–9, 2022.
5 Google Internal Data