Google Introduces Free Features to Help Local Businesses

Nick Fitzgerald

Small businesses in our nation are facing an unprecedented economic disruption due to the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19). The challenge is especially troublesome for small companies (those with 500 or fewer employees, such as hearing practices), which account for a disproportionate proportion of vulnerable jobs. They supported almost half of all U.S. private-sector jobs before COVID-19, and now account for 54 percent (30 million) of the most insecure jobs during COVID-19.

Lockdowns placed to prevent the coronavirus from spreading have destroyed small businesses in America. The fate of any post-crisis economic recovery will depend upon whether they can be resurrected.

The tech firms are listening, and they are taking steps to help. Facebook and Instagram recently revealed they would help build an e-commerce network for shuttered or wounded small businesses. Google is also doing its part with two major concessions for small businesses. 

Free Google Shopping Listings

Google announced that it would begin offering free listings in its Shopping tab. Shopping had been pay-to-play for eight years before the announcement, and this new shift will undoubtedly bring countless more businesses to the Shopping arena.

All you need to do to get started is build a Merchant Center account and upload your product feed and some other logistical information such as your shipping policy and taxes. Google also revealed that Google My Business’s Shopping tab would feature local store details, such as product availability, locations, and other services such as a curbside pickup.

This can help hearing practices such as your pivot to the new normal. Customers can call you to arrange a fast and straightforward curbside pickup or drop-off for hearing aid repairs, cleaning, and testing, batteries, or accessories. You can also advertise that you offer batteries, wax guards, or other hearing aid accessories. 

Free Promoted Pins

Many of us who have used Google Maps will undoubtedly be familiar with the many red pinpoints that appear when you search inside Google for local businesses. They are used for identifying the most prominent local companies. 

Promoted pins work differently, as they appear for specific searches as purple pins! These allow you to directly target users on Google Maps, based on searching items that they are looking for. 

The tech giant recently launched the promoted pins feature that allows companies to be highlighted in Maps based on a particular product and service while explaining how they now offer features like delivery and curbside pickup. 

This feature is being provided for free to help small businesses rebound after months of pandemic lockdown through September 2020 (advertisers will not be charged for those clicks). The pins in Google Maps include a square business category logo. When users click, it brings up business listing information. This is only for Smart Campaigns at the moment.

Promoted pins allow local hearing practices across the country to quickly improve their search presence and at no cost to them.

Hearing practices have no time to waste

If there’s ever a time to invest in your online presence, that’s right now. Increasingly, users turn to the Web to find what they need, and Google makes it much easier for companies to communicate with their customers.

With non-essential staff working from home, they ‘re spending more time online now than they used to. People are no longer spending hours meeting friends or going to work. This is good news for you! Traveling fewer hours translates into more free time, which many people prefer to spend online. 

It has never been a better time to upgrade your online search presence. Contact us today to see how we can help you do this with your hearing health practice.