For many local businesses, especially those that are shopfronts or other brick-and-mortar setups, getting online is a big leap.
The thought of creating a website and learning the ins-and-outs of the world wide web can feel overwhelming, complicated, and potentially expensive.
The result? A large number of offline establishments choose to stick with what they already have. It’s easier, cheaper, and a whole lot less time-consuming.
As you know, they are missing out on a huge opportunity to reach their ideal customers. Research reveals that 50% of consumers conduct a Google search before visiting a store. In fact, if these companies don’t come to the online party soon, their businesses will wither away into extinction.
So, how can you help local businesses take the leap? Is there a quick and easy way to get online fast?
Google’s “Get Your Business Online” (GYBO) program might be exactly what you and your clients need to make this happen.
What is GYBO?
GYBO is an initiative started by Google in the United States that helps small local businesses build mobile-friendly websites, access online training, and grow the visibility of their business.
The purpose of the program is simple – to stimulate economic growth by helping small businesses get online, grow faster, and create more jobs.
One BCG report found that businesses with an online presence grow 40% faster than those without, and create twice as many jobs. So it’s safe to say that the GYBO program is nailing its purpose, having helped over 5.2 million businesses get online.
The GYBO initiative is broken down into six different tools that help new businesses start their online journey:
- Google My Business Listing
- Website Builder
- Free Online Marketing Lessons
- Local Workshops
- Website Speed Tool
- Social Media and Poster Designs
Let’s take a brief look at each of these tools and how they can help your clients increase their online visibility:
Tool #1. Google My Business Listing
As a Channel Sales Partner, we’re in regular communication with the team at Google, so we can better serve our clients and the businesses they work with. One thing they have been very clear about in recent times is that Google My Business Listings will continue to grow in importance for local businesses in the next few years. Basically, if you don’t have a listing, then your chance of appearing in a search is diminishing by the day.
The Google My Business Listing shows up in a search at the exact time people are looking for your business or similar businesses in your area. If set up appropriately, this listing will include photos of the business, hours of operation, contact information, customer reviews, and an integration with Google Maps for finding the business location.
They look like this in search results:
You can easily create and manage a Google My Business Listing for your clients using this process:
- Create or claim a Google My Business page here.
- Fill in the critical information for the business (address, phone, opening hours, and website link).
- Improve the listing with photos and customer reviews from loyal customers.
- Regularly review and update the listing with key information and new media.
Tool #2. Google Website Builder
Along with the Google My Business offering, there is a free and resource-light website builder.
This is by no means a robust website builder, it’s pretty basic. But it’s free and a quick way for your local business clients to get a presence online without too much hassle.
Some of the benefits of using the Google Website Builder to get started online include:
- It’s the most cost-effective and fastest way to meet Google’s quality guidelines for website performance.
- It’s mobile-responsive, which is critical for local businesses.
- You can create, manage, and update the website on the go from a smartphone.
- It allows you to have a custom domain so that your brand is recognizable.
- It’s search and ads-ready – being a Google product these out-of-the-box websites are optimized to satisfy Google’s SEO and Ads criteria.
Of course, the primary downfall of these websites is their lack of customization. You can change a few photos and details, but for the most part, it’s a simplistic representation of your business. But, in saying that, a great starting point if a local shop has no online presence at all!
Tool #3. Free Online Marketing Lessons
The GYBO initiative also includes a smartphone app, called Primer, with a library of short lessons that help small business owners get up to scratch with marketing a business online.
These lessons are a great starting point for someone who has little to no experience with the online world. But they are by no means in-depth enough to replace the need for your marketing services, so don’t worry about that. You can share these lessons with your clients to help them learn on the go and better understand the value of the work you are doing for them.
Tool #4. Local Workshops
Google hosts a number of free in-person workshops that aim to reinforce the lessons from the Primer app, answer common questions from local business owners, and establish a forum for strategic networking and knowledge sharing. You and your clients can watch these sessions at a later date by looking at the recorded workshops.
If you apply for and are accepted as a Google Partner, you can even host one of these events yourself, which is a prime business development opportunity.
Tool #5. Website Speed Tool
Google’s Website Speed tool helps run a diagnostic on your client’s website, determine a speed score for the website, and unlock insights for making the site run more efficiently. These detailed insights provide an itemized opportunity for pitching additional services to your clients.
Tool #6. Social Media and Poster Designs
The final tool on the list of resources from Google’s GYBO program is their free design service for posters, social media visuals, and printed stickers. All you need to do is enter a business name into the search bar, and Google will create a set of beautifully designed marketing assets using the customer reviews of that business. Pretty cool!
As you can see Google’s GYBO initiative is a fantastic resource for local businesses who are new to the online world. Most marketing agencies would look at these resources and push them to one side, thinking they are “too basic.” However, here’s why you shouldn’t be so quick to write them off:
- If you have any local clients who are struggling to start, you can point them to these resources to kickstart the journey.
- You can use these resources yourself to initiate the online journey of local businesses at a low-cost and establish yourself as the digital expert in the area.
- You can partner with the GYBO program to run workshops as a means for business development.
How are you leveraging Google’s GYBO program for your agency?