We recently hosted a holiday live stream from Google with SCORE Montgomery County, and there was some great information and tips on having a successful holiday season. If you weren’t able to attend, here is the replay and our recap of what was covered.
- Google My Business holiday post ideas
- Small Thanks Free Promotional Materials for your business
- Google Ads Smart Campaigns
Google also had some business owners on the program to share what works for them.
Start early. Last year shoppers said 30% of their holiday shopping was completed before Thanksgiving. Realize that when shoppers consider a new purchase, they spend 13 days on average shopping for the item.
How do you create a holiday promotion to drive traffic? What is your sales goal? Just saying you want to drive business is too vague a goal. You’ll want to develop specific offers and goals for your success.
Use the SMART framework to create goals. Make them Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Once you have your goal, identify important dates that you can use as you promote your offer to track and measure your progress. Did you know about 20% of all store traffic in December actually happens in the 6 days after Christmas?
Google My Business
Claiming and verifying your free business listing on Google is one of the best ways for a local business to increase your online visibility in in Google Search and Google Maps.
For the holidays, you can set special holiday hours and create posts with special offers, promotions and events. These posts appear right in the Google search results and on maps.
Google posts help you promote timely offers and help your listing stand out in search results.
Seasonal Post Ideas:
- Business Announcements – Any holiday events or news about your business
- Promote Products – Add photos, product names, price or price range, description, and call to action button
- Promote Coupons and Offer Codes – Track offer codes that are redeemed in your online boutique
- Highlight Important Business Information – Special holiday hours
Posts stay live for 7 days by default, but if you have a specific event, these posts are active until the event date.
If you haven’t created or verified your listing yet, go to https://www.gybo.com/business and search for your business.
Small Thanks with Google
This free program from Google uses information from your Google My Business listing like reviews or hours of operation to create promotional graphics and display materials. The graphics can be downloaded in high resolution files that are suitable for printing for offline marketing materials or shared digitally on social media platforms. You need to have a verified Google My Business listing before you can create a materials kit. Verified businesses with a physical location can order one free printed kit from Google. The printed kit can take 4-6 weeks to receive.
To get started, go to https://smallthanks.withgoogle.com/.
Search your business name, and select it. The Small Thanks marketing hub will automatically create your free marketing kit based on your reviews and other information. The kit includes things like:
- Social images – You can use for GMB posts and other social media sites
- A custom poster
- Window decals
You have the option to choose different reviews and styles by clicking the link on the page. Select the customer review you want to use on your marketing materials. Then choose the look that best represents your business. There are 4 options and different color options within some style options.
As you receive new positive reviews you can recreate promotional assets with new reviews.
Google Ads Smart Campaigns
Your business benefits if it appears along consumer digital touch points through channels like online advertising and social media posts. 91% of mobile shopper purchased or planned to purchase something after seeing an ad they described as relevant.
Smart Campaigns are a Google Ads campaign type created specifically for small businesses. They give you the flexibility of choosing your goal and customizing your content for your needs. There is no contract, minimum commitment, start-up or cancellation fees.
Where can ads appear?
Ads appear on both Google Search Network and Google Display Network.
The Google Search Network
The Google Search Network is a group of search related websites and apps. Your ad can appear when people search for products and services you promote. The Google Search Network includes Google.com, Google Maps, Google Play, plus search related sites that partner with Google to publish ads.
The Google Display Network
The Google Display Network is a large group of websites and apps that show Google Ads. These ads can reach people a lot earlier in the buying cycle. They appear alongside content that is related to your business. Ads appear when browsing websites, watching YouTube videos, checking Gmail accounts, or using apps. Ads on the Google Display Network can also show images. These images can be from your Google My Business listing. The image that is selected is chosen automatically by the system. Google is working on a way to choose your own image from your Google My Business listing.
How to Setup a Smart Ad Campaign
To set up a Smart Campaign, you will choose your goal, create your ad, and set your budget.
Sign in to your Google Ads account. If you don’t have an ads account yet sign up for an account here.
Once you’re signed in you’ll see the Smart Campaigns option by default. Select start campaign.
Choose Your Goal
The first step in creating your Smart Ad Campaign is choosing a goal for this campaign. There are three goal options:
- Call Your Business – Choose this if you get customers primarily over the phone or if you want to talk to customers before setting up an appointment
- Visit Your Storefront – Choose this if you have a physical storefront that you want customers to visit
- Take an Action on Your Website – Choose this option if most of your business is conducted online or you want customers to complete a trackable option on your website. This is a good option if customers can buy your product online or complete an action like signing up
You can only select one goal per ad campaign, but you can create multiple ads with different goals if more than one goal applies to your business.
Create Your Ad
Choose Your Ad Location
The first step in creating your ad is choosing where, geographically, your ads appear. There are two options for choosing your ad location:
- Selecting a Radius – This allows you to highlight a distance around your business address to target customers. This is ideal for local businesses whose customer base is in close proximity.
- Specify Specific Locations – You can also identify particular cities, regions, or countries as your target area. When you make adjustments to your ad location, Google tells you your estimated audience size. The option you choose depends on your business and target audience.
Choosing a Business Category
Describe your products or services you have to offer. The way Smart Ads are different from other ad campaigns you may have had in the past is you don’t create a list of keywords, you just select from a list of key phrases suggested by the Smart Ad campaign based on your business category.
Create Your Content
Your ad usually contains the following:
- Two Headlines – 30 characters max, each
- One Description Line – 80 characters max
- One Display URL – Choose the most relevant page on your site. Be specific to the ad you’ve created
Set Your Budget
Figure out how much you want your budget to be and drag the slider to adjust your budget. The cost per click varies depending on the keywords. As you make adjustments to your budget you can see an estimate for your audience views.
Schedule Your Ad
Choose the days and times you want your ad to run. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to drive phone calls, but don’t want customers to call after hours.
Search phrases are automatically generated based on the products and services you provide for this particular ad campaign. You can’t manually add search phrases, but you can remove phrases that aren’t a good fit.
Link the Ad to a Relevant Landing Page
Where are potential customers directed to after clicking on an ad. Sending potential customers that has all the important information about your promotion is crucial.
The Live stream finishes up with a Q&A session with business owners of a yoga studio who use Google to drive traffic to their business.
How will you increase your online visibility this holiday season?