Locl Fundamentals Training
Kate Jorgensen (00:03):
Hi, welcome everyone. Um, we really appreciate you joining in today’s session. Um, we are going over the local fundamentals webinar. Um, it is part of the small business marketing series developed and hosted by Travel Oregon. My name is Kate Jorgensen. I’m on the integrated marketing team here at Travel Oregon. And I’ll be your moderator today. I’m joined as well by Alexa Darrow. Um, she is the Director of Customer Success at Locl, and I am so thrilled. She is here today to share her deep knowledge and expertise about Locl and how it can make managing your Google business profile a whole lot easier. What’s more, we recently launched a bunch of new to us features that were previously premium, that she’s gonna be sharing with us today as well. Um, so anyone that’s already had an account or who might be signing up after today’s session will, um, have the benefit of those great new features. So with that, I’m gonna hand it over to Alexa to tell us a bit more about herself and to get us started. Thanks so much.
Alexa Darrow (01:05):
Thank you, Kate. I appreciate that. Welcome and hello everybody. Uh, as Kate mentioned, my name’s Alexa Darrow. Um, I’m the director of customer success here at Locl. Um, I have been on the team here for three years at this point, um, and actually come from the hospitality and tourism world, uh, used to do public relations in that industry, both here, uh, in the Portland and Oregon area, um, across the state as well as on the east coast. Um, I’m originally from the Philadelphia area. So I’ve been out here now for eight years and, um, Oregon has become home to me. So I’m super excited to be here. Um, as Kate mentioned, we have a lot of information to cover today. I’m going to try my best to get through everything quickly and also, um, not talk super quickly. <laugh>, um, as I tend to do sometimes.
Alexa Darrow (01:58):
So, um, follow along as Kate mentioned, too, if you have questions, we will make sure to save some time at the end to answer them. Um, and, uh, also just as a general note, if there’s anything that you aren’t understanding, you know, once I’m through all of my slides and demo and demo of the platform, um, or if questions come up as you’re starting to use local yourselves, then, uh, feel free to reach out to me or to Kate and we can get you set up and, you know, help answer any questions you might have. So I also wanted to just give a quick disclaimer, uh, allergy season is very much kicking in. So if you hear my throat a little scratchy, I apologize in advance. Um, so that being said, I’m gonna just jump in and get to the nitty gritty of Google and what we can do to help you and your business.
Alexa Darrow (02:46):
So, um, some of you might be familiar with Google and have used Google business profile before. Um, others might be totally new. So this is gonna be a very, um, kind of high level overview of Google and why it’s important, especially in tourism right now. Um, so more than 90% of internet searches actually happen inside of Google. So half of those searches are local in nature, meaning that if somebody is, um, near your destination, chances are they’re gonna be using Google to search for things that are nearby, not be looking for things that are a thousand miles away. So this probably looks pretty familiar to you. We do this every day. I do it even here in Portland, even after living here for eight years. Um, cuz there’s always new things happening sometimes. Um, you know, business information changes, hours change, et cetera. So, you know, think about like when you’re out and about if you’re in a new city or even in your hometown, um, you’re picking up your cell phone and you’re looking for the best ice cream shop near you, right? So best ice cream. So what’s gonna happen is you’re gonna see a list of options. You’re gonna see, you know, where, uh, the location actually is and you know, in relation to where you are and then after, um, you know, you’re searching and looking for those directions, then that’s when you or a customer will actually visit the location and then make a purchase. So this is a very traditional cycle these days.
Alexa Darrow (04:17):
Um, what you’re seeing here is essentially all of the different ways that a business will show up on Google. So we have, you know, traditional Google search up here, we have Google maps, um, and Google maps is really what we’re focusing on here today. Um, we have how you see it when you’re searching on your phone, on your desktop browser, et cetera. So all of this should be pretty familiar to you at this point. So the thing to, uh, think about, especially if this is a newer thing for you in your business, is that the way that information is put out there into the world and to your customers or potential new customers is through a thing called Google business profile. So that is gonna be what you use to actually update your Google listings, to make sure that the information is accurate. So Google business profile is actually, um, the largest source of organic search exposure for online businesses.
Alexa Darrow (05:12):
And so these profiles are a huge ranking factor in Google. Um, making sure that they’re being interacted with, um, that again, the information is up to date. It’s really gonna be the top driver for those potential new customers finding you and your business. So we are here because, um, we wanna make sure that your listing on Google map is accurate and compelling and up to date. Um, so listings that are up to date and, you know, look good to the general eye are 2.7 times more likely to be considered reputable. Um, they’re also 70% more likely to attract visits and then 50% more likely to actually lead to a customer, making a purchase. Um, as you can see here, we have a business, a tour business that’s located, um, here in the Portland Metro area. Um, you can see very clean, compelling photos. You can see, um, you know, their hours are up to date.
Alexa Darrow (06:10):
Um, and so again, just making sure that your listing is as up to date as possible is going to draw more people to it. So there are some easy things that you can do just kind of off the bat to improve your listing. Um, claiming your listing is actually the most important thing to do because without claiming and verifying a listing, um, you’re actually not able to use local the software. You have to have a verified Google listing. Um, but also then it’s not gonna be an actual credible, reputable business per Google. Um, and there’s actually, we have a slide at the end of this, uh, deck that once you get mailed, um, an email with, you’ll actually see the steps to take, to claim that Google listing, cause that’s a whole different process. Um, but once you claimed it, then you can start adding the missing information, you know, adding things in there like photos and a business description to let people know who you are and start really engaging with your customers through reviews, et cetera.
Alexa Darrow (07:07):
So again, um, this is how it looks on the back end of Google. And once the information is up to date and, um, you know, updated on your end, it’s pushed out and then that’s what you’re actually seeing as a customer when you’re searching for things in Google. So this is how things start showing up and you can see yourself or a business on the map. However, if you have used Google in the past, you might know that there have been some challenges, um, while using the platform, Google is a complicated space. Um, tricky can get very overwhelming very quickly because there’s so many things inside of your profile that, um, you might not even need to be using the interface interface. It’s often confusing. Um, you know, it’s hard to manage multiple locations. If you’re a business owner that has, let’s say three locations across the city that you’re in, um, you have to sign in and out and like toggle between screens to really be managing all of those locations.
Alexa Darrow (08:08):
You can’t just do it from one place at one time. It’s just more time consuming. Um, the insights that you’re getting from Google are limited. So right now you can only see up to a quarter’s worth of data from your maps listing through Google. Um, and then also Google business profile isn’t connected to any other channels. Um, so we created local, uh, to really fill in that missing layer. So basically we’re giving you access to expanded features a platform that’s way more user friendly, um, way more efficient because of some of the tools that we’ve created, um, as well as direct customer service and support. I know countless people that have had issues trying to get in touch with somebody at Google. Um, and you know, it’s, it’s a challenge, especially these days with, you know, limited staffing because of COVID et cetera. Um, we’re here and answer questions rather quickly as it relates to local and your Google profiles.
Alexa Darrow (09:09):
So, um, just some of the key differentiators before I jump into the actual demo is in local. And you’ll see all of this in a second. Um, you are actually able to manage all of your listings in a single location. So if you have again, three businesses that you run as a business owner, you’re gonna see all of those locations pulling into your dashboard, your local dashboard, all in one. So there’s no screen toggling, it’s all there, um, with the ability to make updates to all of those locations at one time. So, you know, if business hours are the same at all three locations, you can update business hours for those locations all at once. Uh, you’re able to easily monitor your business performance with our analytics tool. Um, and then you can see 18 plus months worth of analytics data inside of your dashboard.
Alexa Darrow (10:00):
As opposed to, like I mentioned, with Google, you can only see a quarter’s worth of data. So that’s more of a history to see really what’s happening, you know, year over year in aggregate. Um, you’re able to engage with customer reviews. You’re able to create Google posts to promote events and offers and products. Um, and you’re also, uh, the nice part is, is that you can actually make updates in local that are then pushed to both Google as well as Otis, which populates travel Oregon. So that’s definitely another benefit of using the software through our partnership. So I’m gonna go ahead and quickly just stop sharing my screen and I’m gonna switch over to our demonstration portion.
Alexa Darrow (10:53):
All right. So hopefully everybody can see this. So when you sign up for local through travel Oregon, there’s a dedicated link, um, that we’ll be sending out to you after this webinar. And once you get there, you’re gonna see this main homepage that it takes you to. So once you’re here, um, you can obviously scroll through and find out a little bit more about the partnership. We are gonna click this, get started button, and it’s gonna have you enter some basic information, your name, your email address. Um, and then once you enter that, it’s gonna ask you to connect your Google business profile. So as I mentioned, um, there, the only way to use local is to have a verified Google business profile. That’s live on Google. Um, so essentially the first major step you’re gonna wanna take once you sign up for local is you’re gonna wanna connect your Google account.
Alexa Darrow (11:47):
So this is gonna prompt you right away, but let’s say you, um, sign up with the basic business of, and then come back, you’re gonna then wanna go to your manage or my account section and just, um, add your new Google account. And basically once that happens, once you connect the two, you’re gonna see which accounts are connected inside of here. So just as a note, I’m using, um, another customer’s account to demo right now. Um, so this is Orax leather, uh, in Portland. And, um, we’ve been working with them for a while. And so they currently have two locations in here. So both of their locations that are on Google maps actually, um, you’ll see, they’ve been verified and are connected to their local account. So once this happens and you’re in, you’re going to see this main page here. This is the overview screen.
Alexa Darrow (12:37):
So, um, here you’re gonna see a list of action items. So really the nice thing about local is we’re making it easier for you to know exactly what you should be doing and when you should be doing it at the right time. So anytime you have a new customer review, we let you know, um, if it’s been, you know, 30 days since you last updated photos, that’s gonna be huge. And we let you know that we really wanna take the guesswork out of what you should be doing. Because again, when you’re inside of Google, it’s really messy and can be very confusing. So we’re trying to make it as easy as possible. So, you know, as I mentioned before, this is all super important for tourism and hospitality right now, especially as the world continues to open back up, we’re heading into summertime. We’re seeing a lot of the consumer activity on the rise, and we know that running a business really requires you as a business owner or a marketer to wear a lot of hats.
Alexa Darrow (13:30):
So managing your presence on Google maps, it’s probably not your top priority every day, but it should be. Um, and since it’s, you know, again, a hassle and time consuming, if you’re inside of Google, hopefully you’ll start us utilizing local this way. Um, just to make it easier for you, because really we wanna save you more time. We wanna get your Google listings to drive you more visibility with customers. Um, and you know, this is one way we do it is really just providing you again, that simple checklist and notifications, um, to complete tasks and about new features that will basically help you manage this in less time every day. So, um, fact tracking a little bit again, to echo what Kate said. Um, we’ve been working with travel Oregon for a while now, but we are super excited to let you know that, um, in order to provide you with more of a competitive edge and also help make managing your business profiles easier, we have expanded our partnership with travel Oregon.
Alexa Darrow (14:29):
So basically now, um, if you sign up, you actually have full access to locals plus reach subscription for free. So that means whether you’re brand new to us or you’re already using local. When you log in, you’re gonna see literally every feature that we offer now available to you to use at no additional cost. So, as I mentioned, this is what you, you see when you log in. Um, I am going to point out a few things that you should be doing when you first are in here. Because again, you can see there’s a lot of tools over here, but we wanna make sure that you’re doing the right things at the right time and really, you know, doing the things that are gonna matter up front. And then I’ll show you the tools that are gonna, um, be helpful day to day, week to week otherwise.
Alexa Darrow (15:15):
So I already mentioned connecting your Google business profile account. Something that I wanted to point out that is, um, super exciting is that we have integrations with Facebook and Instagram. So through local, you can actually connect your Facebook and Instagram accounts, either all or one, um, and basically sync those pages to your local account, which is gonna make posting, um, Google posts even easier because it’s going to essentially suck in any posts you’re already creating on these social media platforms, put it in the post section, which I’ll show you a little bit later, um, and make it easier for you to just edit and push this information out to Google, um, just with, in one file swoop. So with a click of a button, um, so the first thing, one of the first things you’re gonna wanna do is just make sure that those accounts are connected.
Alexa Darrow (16:08):
Uh, next you’re gonna wanna make sure that you are profile lock is turned on. So have you ever been in a situation where, um, you know, you’re a business owner or a marketer, and you’re looking at your Google listing and you notice that somebody random person, some public facing person, um, on Google has just changed your hours while it’s frustrating for everybody involved for you as the owner, but also for potential other customers that maybe are seeing information that isn’t correct. So we’ve created a profile lock, which doesn’t exist on Google that essentially once this is turned on, um, it suppresses unwanted edits to your Google listing. So this is a really, really cool feature, um, that hopefully you’ll take advantage of because it’s gonna just make sure that, you know, if somebody is in there on your listing and for whatever reason wants to make an edit or a suggestion, they can’t do it.
Alexa Darrow (17:05):
So after that’s done, you’re gonna wanna go over here to the managed location section, and you’re gonna wanna turn on the separate listings and map maps, traffic buttons. So basically what this means is that this is gonna help you see and understand where your top sources of traffic are actually coming from. So you’ll be able, if you are someone that’s active inside of Google analytics often, and you toggle this button on, you’re gonna actually be able to see, um, how many people are coming from Google maps directly, as opposed to things like Facebook, like Yelp, et cetera, et cetera. Um, and really, you know, this, we believe and, and know that Google maps is really a leading source of traffic. So this is just gonna help you better understand that part of it.
Alexa Darrow (17:55):
So once these basic things are done, um, we’re going to want to start to make some pretty basic updates, um, but important ones on your listing inside of this managed location section, this is gonna ensure that your listing is up to date and as accurate as possible with like that basic simple business information that you think is a no-brainer, but’s really incredibly important. So you can do many things inside of this managed location section. But the first thing I would do is just make sure that your business name is correct. So obviously that feels simple and silly, but you’d be surprised at how many times a business name on Google isn’t actually reflective of what your business name is. So make sure you’re in here and just confirming that that’s correct. After that I would scroll down and just make sure that your business hours are set and proper.
Alexa Darrow (18:49):
Um, again, there might be some changes that have happened because of, um, you know, COVID the last couple of years, maybe you have limited hours, maybe your hours are starting to expand again. So you’re really gonna just wanna make sure that these are set and up to date and that you’re in here, you know, as regularly as they change. Um, and we make it really easy for you to update them. You can also copy hours if they’re same across the board. Um, and again, you’re able to update these for more than one location at one time, if you have multiple locations. So that should be really helpful. We also have special business hours listed down here. So let’s say you’re gonna be closed for the July 4th holiday coming up. You can confirm those hours here and just update them at the bottom here.
Alexa Darrow (19:35):
So another thing I wanted to mention on this page is the category section. So we rarely run into a business who has their category set correctly, and categories can actually help inform both people and search engines about the type of business you are and who, what you’re managing. So Google allows you to set, um, both a primary cat primary category, which is this one here as well as additional categories. So the primary category you select on a Google listing is important because this is what the searchers will actually see on a listing. Um, but these additional categories are gonna help with search on the back end. So, you know, if somebody in town here is searching gift shop near me, this business is gonna start showing up more often because it’s one of the categories that are selected here on the back end.
Alexa Darrow (20:25):
We also have the business description section here. So making sure that, um, this is updated so people can learn more about who you are and what you do as a business. So I always tell people, you know, think of this as like your, about section on a bio or something, um, or a boiler plate. If you have one, making sure that you’re using plenty of keywords that really represent who you are as a business. So there’s other things you can do inside of here too. Um, business attributes can be updated. So these are things that you offer. Um, so for instance, like wheelchair service and ACC accessibility, um, you know, if you do delivery and take out, et cetera, um, and you can go in there and, and search and make sure that those proper ones are selected.
Alexa Darrow (21:11):
So once these basic things are updated, um, that’s when you’re really gonna wanna start to amp up your listing. So here you can see the photos and videos. So photos, um, having compelling photos on your listing makes all the difference. Um, it’s said that, uh, listing with a hundred plus photos, like good quality photos, get 20 times more views in search and populate more often than a listing without. So I’m not saying that you need to come on here and update, upload a hundred photos today. Um, but really thinking about making that sort of a goal long term, if you can be consistently updating your photos and videos on here, not only is it gonna make your listing just look better, but it’s also going to, uh, really help with, um, optimization in Google search. And again, you’re gonna just start showing up more often for things, um, due to these photos. So the cool thing with local is that you can actually add batch collections of photos, as well as schedule photos out in advance. So, um, here we have the photo upload section. Um, you can choose whether it’s a photo, a cover photo, a logo, or a video. And as I mentioned before, um, you can select multiple locations at once and then schedule these photos to be uploaded. Um, if you wanna upload them to multiple locations or just one location, you can do that here. Um, super simple.
Alexa Darrow (22:45):
And then we also have our post tool here. So I mentioned Google posts before and Google posts are a huge way for people to just know what’s happening. Um, I think of Google posts as like free advertising on the listing and that’s gonna help with optimization and search ranking. So they’re pretty similar to social media posts, like something you’ll see on like a Facebook or an Instagram. Um, but they’re able to, you’re able to either, uh, post posts from the social media accounts that you’ve already connected or create new posts. So, um, as you can see here, this company has, uh, connected their social media accounts. And so in this list, you’re gonna see the sources of where those are coming from. So this one comes from Instagram. So this was a post that was posted on the Instagram platform that was then pulled in from there that has been, um, you’re able to now edit and then push out to Google with just a few clicks of a button here.
Alexa Darrow (23:43):
So it’s really cool. Again, I’m not, not gonna go over how to do every single thing. Um, once you’re in here, it’s really self explanatory how to actually edit a post and push it out. Um, but I highly encourage you to take this step to connect these accounts and then, um, you know, just make some edits to those posts and push that out. Um, we also have a scheduler tool for posts as well. So just like photos, you can schedule a whole slew of posts in advance. So if you’re working against a marketing calendar or something, um, you’re actually able to schedule these per that calendar per your schedule. Um, and they’ll just be in a queue and will be pushed out automatically. Um, when you on the date that you’ve said it, so it’s really helpful. It’s a huge time saver. Um, hopefully you’ll take advantage of this.
Alexa Darrow (24:31):
You can also add new types of posts as well. So if you don’t wanna connect your, um, Google business profile, um, or your sorry, your Instagram or Facebook account, or if you’re not super active on there, you are able to just create new posts, um, just as you do for social media, but just on here. So really, um, you know, you’d select the location that you’re at and then you would, um, choose an image. You would write the post description. Um, so basically whatever that post is gonna be about, and then you can schedule it here. You can make a post recurring, so you don’t even have to like recreate the wheel. Um, and it just, you know, is gonna be set for you either weekly, monthly, or, you know, on custom dates or per number of posts. Um, and again, you can post something to one location or to all locations at once with just a click of a button, there are different post types.
Alexa Darrow (25:26):
Um, I just wanna mention briefly, um, there are event posts, which basically, um, are specific to if you’re hosting an event. So, you know, now that in person things are happening again, if you’re gonna start doing, um, let’s say a monthly happy hour, you can be posting of that posting about that as an event post, um, there are offer posts which are basically posts about, um, special promotions or discounts that maybe your business is offering. So let’s say like 20% off of a menu item, um, and you can actually add a special coupon code. Um, and then there’s also just general what’s new content posts, which basically is like, um, you know, you wanna showcase your staff or just talk a little bit more about, um, your hotel or, um, hotels actually. That’s I wanna make sure I mention this hotels previously had not been able to use Google posts.
Alexa Darrow (26:17):
Um, now you are able to create what’s new type of posts as a hotel or lodging property. Um, so let’s say that, you know, you guys have something special happening for summer. That would be a great way to post about it. Um, so yes, take advantage of the post tool. Again, I’m gonna, I’m trying not to dive in too, too deep, just because there is a lot to get through. So, um, if there are questions at the end about any of this, again, I’m happy to answer them, but hopefully everybody is following along so far.
Alexa Darrow (26:50):
So, um, I wanted to also mention the reputation section. So Google reviews are a huge search ranking factor, and this section of local is where you can actually keep track and manage all of your reviews. So you can, um, reply to reviews here. You can. Oh, I dunno why these reviews aren’t populating right now. Sorry. Um, let’s see. Try to refresh sometimes screens, get all any, um, so this is an example of some reviews that have pulled in for a location. I think something funny is happening with a different account. That’s um, I had open earlier and it’s thinking that we’re looking at that, so we’re just gonna pretend that’s not happening, but you can get the idea here. Um, even though it’s not Orax, it’s still, um, a location and so you can see some reviews here. So essentially, um, getting reviews from customers is important.
Alexa Darrow (27:50):
A listing with 25 plus reviews is, um, makes basically makes Google think that you are a legitimate and official business. So you definitely wanna strive to have at least 25 reviews on your listing. Um, but, uh, in addition, responding replying to reviews is gonna be equally as important because Google likes to see an active listing and to make sure that you, um, are engaging with your customers. So in this reputation section, not only can you reply to reviews, um, just directly in here for multiple locations, but you can also create quick reply templates. Um, so basically that means that, you know, if you are super busy and responding to review seems incredibly overwhelming, you can actually create a list of, um, templates to use in order to make responding quicker. So we can do something like, you know, thank you so much. Um, and then once that’s updated, when you reply, that’s gonna show up as an option to select.
Alexa Darrow (28:48):
I would recommend you personalizing any quick replies that you have, just because, um, it’s gonna be more personalized as well as Google doesn’t want to see like robotic responses. Um, and if they start thinking that this is, you know, if you’re just saying thank you to everybody, and it’s all the same, they’re gonna question. So I always, um, recommend that you just make everything a little bit more personal. Um, I also get a question a lot, um, during these webinars about, uh, responding to negative reviews. And so I would say responding to all reviews across the board is going to be equally as important, respond to both positive and negative for any negative reviews. I highly recommend, um, just keeping it really short and sweet and then trying to take it offline. So, you know, thanks so much for reaching out about this. We’re sorry to hear about your experience.
Alexa Darrow (29:37):
Please contact us at info, blah, blah, blah. Um, just that way. You’re not creating UN unwanted and unnecessary, um, chatter and trouble on your actual Google listing. Um, but you’re still showing engagement to both the customer and Google. So hopefully that helps. Um, and so in addition to the quick replies, you can also toggle reviews by star rating. Um, you can see some of the keyword insights that are being used on a location, um, or all locations, just to kind of help you better understand how people are talking about you. Um, so super helpful again, in Google, when you’re responding to reviews or doing anything, you’d have to be inside of a variety of different, um, tabs in order to respond to each location. Whereas everything is just here, um, for you in one place, making it just a lot easier and more time efficient.
Alexa Darrow (30:34):
So, you know, once you start really coming in here often and making these updates with videos or photos and videos and Google posts and responding to reviews and making sure your business hours and information is up to date, you’re gonna start seeing the effects of all of that here in your analytics dashboard. So, as I mentioned earlier, we track 18 plus months worth of history on your maps listing. And here you can see you, um, can select either one location or both locations at once to look at information in aggregate, just making it easier for you to see what’s actually happening, um, in all of your businesses in one place. So we, we show you things, um, consumer actions, specifically things like website visits. So anytime somebody clicks on a website, um, the website button on your maps listing, um, we show you, you know, how many times that’s happened in this date range over here.
Alexa Darrow (31:29):
Um, something I also wanted to mention is you can get really specific with when you select the dates that you’re looking at. So you can look at one month at a time, you can look at one week at a time, one day, let’s say you’re running a special campaign for the month of, um, June. You can just track to see how things are going that month. Um, so you can also see different things like phone calls, directional requests. Um, and again, this is all an aggregate. If you have multiple locations, if you only have one location, you’ll just see the one that’s pulling here, but it will show you like, you know, that you’re up 41% versus the last, uh, the previous period or versus last year, um, which can be really helpful. You can also see how consumers have found you. So, um, discovery search, uh, this is how people are searching for you based on keywords.
Alexa Darrow (32:20):
So people looking at, let’s say we can use that ice cream example from way earlier, um, ice cream near me, ice cream in hood river. Um, that’s gonna be this number here. And then a direct search is how people found you based on your actual business name or brand name. So, so, um, you know, this, ideally you’ll start having more name and brand recognition. The more times you’re starting to show up in a search because of all the work that you’ve done over here to continue to optimize your listing. So this just paints you a really nice picture of that, and also, you know, exactly how many people have found you in that time period alone because of that work. So just from, just in may this year for those two locations, um, 79,000 more people had found them just in that month alone, um, which is, you know, 52,000 more than last year at that time. So, pretty interesting to look at. You’re also able to see, um, how, where people are actually searching from. So, uh, the zip code that people are clicking that direction or request button from as well as additional consumer actions and insights on the listing, like how many times your posts were seen that month, how many times your photos were seen that month, et cetera, et C.
Alexa Darrow (33:39):
Um, and then, you know, as I mentioned earlier, we do have this overview page and checklist to make sure that, um, everything is there for you. So you know exactly how to use it. Um, another thing that I wanted to show, and I’m just gonna stop my share screen real quick, just to switch out screens is, um, I mentioned that everybody in travel Oregon at this point now has a plus reach local subscription, which means that you get all of those premium features that I just showed you, but you also get, um, the benefit of having all of your basic business information synced and push to other directories. So those include all of these here. So anytime you update your business name or hours, that information is then gonna not only be pushed to Google, but will be pushed to Facebook, um, to apple maps, to Instagram, to Amazon, Alexa, cetera, et cetera.
Alexa Darrow (34:40):
You can see all of these here. Um, and so really the, the goal with this is a, you don’t have to do any additional work, um, basically with this, with this subscription that you automatically get, if you are listed on any of these platforms, that information, anytime you update it for Google is also gonna get updated everywhere else. So we really wanna just help you stay consistent across the internet, because that’s, again, just gonna help people find you more easily. They’re gonna understand exactly, you know, when you’re open and who you are, um, and not all of these things always match up. And it’s also just a lot of work to have to like manage all of these other directories in addition to even thinking about Google and social media. So this is just one less thing for you to worry about that’s already built in without you having to do anything.
Alexa Darrow (35:31):
So we’re really excited about this. This is a newer feature and a newer subscription, and again, um, through travel Oregon, you get all of it for free, um, through 2023. So, um, again, you don’t have to do anything additional, there’s nothing that you’ll need to, to do when you’re in here. Um, it’s just already gonna happen for you. I do wanna note that with a lot of these, um, information that you’re pushing to Google isn’t necessarily the same information that, um, like these platforms, don’t all have the same fields that are populated. So, you know, if you’re updating a Google post, for example, that post won’t show up on Uber, but if you’re changing your business name, it will. Um, so again, these are all very like basic business information related. Um, it’s gonna be limited information that’s pushed, but all of that really important stuff is gonna be synced up.
Alexa Darrow (36:27):
So, um, I wanted to point that out and you can find, um, per location, you’ll see this here and where it actually goes. So, um, if you have a list of locations, like multiple locations in your account for each one, you’re gonna see that this is syncing to all of them. When you make any sort of update inside of local, um, my camera or my, uh, my screen got moved. So just putting me back to where I need to be. Um, so with all that being said, um, which is a lot, I’m going to turn it back over to Kate and actually I’m five minutes ahead of schedule, which is really exciting because that means even more time for any questions. Again, I went through a lot of information here. I did not go over everything. Um, I will encourage you to sign up, dig around. If you have questions, feel free to reach out to me or Kate. We can help answer them. We can help troubleshoot. Um, that’s what we’re here for. And again, a differentiating factor with a lot of other, um, platforms, as well as just Google itself. We really wanna make this as successful for you as possible. Um, so hopefully this is all really helpful. Thank you so much for being here and I will turn it back over to Keith for a second.
Kate Jorgensen (37:42):
Great, thanks, Alexa. Um, I just wanted to hop in and share a few questions with you and then folks that are on the line, please do chime in. If you think of anything, if any of these questions come up. Um, otherwise if, um, folks get quiet, I’ve got a couple of questions that come up every so often that I can, um, ask as well. But first I wanted to ask, um, one of our attendees was asking whether or not. So in the context of reviews, when we were looking at customer reviews, is there a way to be notified when a review comes in? Um, this person doesn’t have a whole lot of time. And so trying to like go in and, um, you know, be constantly checking all the different platforms for, um, reviews. Is there a way to be notified?
Alexa Darrow (38:23):
Sorry. I muted myself. <laugh> um, yes, that is a great question. And in that overview page that I showed you, um, upfront, which I can also pull up again, that’s gonna give you notifications of when things are coming through review specifically, whether it’s a good review or a bad review, um, there is also an option to opt into email notifications, as well as web browser notifications when things pop up. And so, um, I would say as long as you’re paying attention to those things, you will see notifications about reviews coming in.
Kate Jorgensen (38:59):
Great, thank you so much. Um, and I might chime in on this one. Um, the question was around how long, you know, once we’re on the other side of, um, 20, 23, what the cost will be. Um, and I would say I don’t have an answer for that right now. Um, I mean, we can go onto the website and look at pricing, but depending on, um, if businesses are finding a lot of value and we’re using it, um, you know, we may renegotiate it later as well. Um, this is just as far out as we’re, um, you know, we’re piloting this program. So, um, again, keep us posted. We wanna get your feedback as well. If there are things that are working great or that you have questions about, please do let us know. Um, I see another question just came through, um, this person’s asking if they can use the, um, oh yeah, no, go ahead.
Kate Jorgensen (39:47):
I’m sorry. I’m just gonna answer this one too. Sorry. <laugh> so the question was around if we can use that, um, travel Oregon special URL to sign up now and yes, absolutely. Um, local.io/travel, or again, it’s important to use that URL because if you just go to local, um, unless you input, um, you know, payment information, you’ll just get a basic account, which has got some great features as well. But, um, if you wanna take advantage of all the awesome things that local has to offer to make managing your business easier, definitely use, um, our special URL. Again, that’s travel Oregon, um, sorry. Local do IO slash travel, Oregon. Um, one more follow up question to the conversation around reviews, um, and notifications. Um, could you speak to where the notifications come to you?
Alexa Darrow (40:34):
Yeah. So again, you can either find them if you have local open in the overview page or you can opt in to getting browser notifications. And so it’ll pop up in your web browser. Um, and also, uh, it will send you an email, uh, if you opt into email, so you can set all of that under your, my account page.
Kate Jorgensen (40:57):
Great. Thank you. Um, and then another question was around whether or not there’s a mobile app, um, to manage local on the go.
Alexa Darrow (41:05):
Yep. Yep. You can find it in app store, um, and use it as you would, uh, the web browser too, or the web app.
Kate Jorgensen (41:13):
Great. Thank you. All right. Looks like we’re answering a lot of the questions here, please. Don’t be shy
Alexa Darrow (41:25):
Also again, if there are questions that come up that you think of after this, we can certainly answer them via email or set up some time to chat.
Kate Jorgensen (41:35):
Sounds great. And I did drop our emails. Alexa dropped your email, my email, and then integrated at trouble, oregon.com. Email, um, is a shared inbox that Cecilia and I both manage. Um, so if you aren’t sure if you send it to that, you’re definitely gonna get us. Um, they’re real people that are managing that alias. So, um, please do reach out. Let’s see here. Any other new questions that came through? All right. Well, um, let me pull up, I’ve just got a couple little questions here. Um, Alexa, when you were talking about connecting, um, your Google business profile with local, I’m wondering if we can talk a little bit about that I’ve seen, um, in, in the past, um, after having a training like this, um, most folks will go all the way through, um, but then we’ll see a few folks who don’t quite make it through and I think it has to do with, um, the, um, there’s some pretty, um, strong language when you’re connecting your Google business profile with local, um, around, you know, local can edit, delete, do all these things. Can you speak to that a little bit? Would local ever edit anyone’s information?
Alexa Darrow (42:45):
No, absolutely not. Um, we would never touch your accounts, um, in terms of updating information. Um, so really, you know, connecting your Google account is the only way that you’re gonna be able to actually use local. Um, but rest assured we wouldn’t ever do anything without your permission. Um, obviously if there’s an issue that we need to help troubleshoot, we might go in there and do some testing, um, and, you know, let you know what we’ve done and what updates we’ve made, but we’re never just in there on the fly making updates to any of your listing information. So, um, don’t worry about that. And I would say that it looks, it, it can be daunting when you start connecting it, cuz there are a couple of steps that you have to walk through, but we try to make it pretty easy and user friendly. Um, and really, it just means that, um, you know, you’re giving us the permission and connectivity to pull in the information from Google that you already have, that you’re already using, um, that you’ve given to Google to make those updates on the maps listing. So again, this is just pulling things in, in a, a much cleaner and easier to use way. So you don’t have to worry about, um, doing it through Google, but, but we won’t touch anything of yours. <laugh>
Kate Jorgensen (43:59):
I really appreciate you clarifying that. It is that that language is sort of boiler plate. Um, and so it, it does sound scary, but that’s what we need to do in order to push all of those updates. So I appreciate you speaking to that. Um, while we are chatting, another question came through, um, asking if your CEO has an account already. Um, well this person need to request access, um, in addition to, um, if she wants her to learn and edit, um, content, uh, for travel Oregon, would you mind speaking to that?
Alexa Darrow (44:29):
Yeah, that’s actually a really great question. I’m glad that you brought it up. Um, so with your premium account, you actually get our team member functionality and that’s something that I did not go over. And so I’m glad we’re talking about it now. So, um, basically what will happen is your CEO. If they have an account, they’ll be able to actually add you as a team member, um, inside of their main account. And then from there they can give you permission to either one location or all locations, as well as customizing the permissions. You have to update things. So if they want you to have access to update absolutely everything inside of local, they can do that. If they only want you to be responsible for, um, reviews, review management or up uploading photos or posts, they can be very specific with how they do that. So you’re gonna find that under, um, my account. And actually I can go ahead and share my screen real quick so you can see what I’m talking about, cuz that will be easier. Can you see my screen? Kate
Kate Jorgensen (45:30):
Can. Yep. Okay,
Alexa Darrow (45:31):
Great. So under my account, um, when you scroll over, you’re gonna see this section here that says, invite your team. So you’re gonna click on that man, or they’re gonna click on that manage button and then they’ll just enter your email address and they can send the invite to you. So once you’ve accepted that, then you can go in and create your own account, um, under there. So you’ll still have your own like dedicated password. Um, and then once you’re in there, again, they can set all of the team, uh, the permissions for you. So you can do all of the things, um, with their main account.
Kate Jorgensen (46:05):
That’s really exciting. I can see some use cases for us as well with the welcome centers. Yeah,
Alexa Darrow (46:10):
Kate Jorgensen (46:11):
Question came through. Oh, go ahead.
Alexa Darrow (46:13):
I was just gonna say, um, uh, main account, like a main team member or owner account, um, can have multiple team members. So it’s, you know, if there’s three of you on the team that are managing your marketing or your Google listings, all three of you can be in there.
Kate Jorgensen (46:31):
That’s really handy. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, sorry to interrupt there for a minute. Uh, the other question that came through, um, coming back to the example, um, that we were speaking about earlier, the business name was more than just the name. Do you recommend using the business name for more info?
Alexa Darrow (46:49):
Uh, meaning as like a description of what the business is like, um, salt and straw ice cream shop. Like would that be,
Kate Jorgensen (47:01):
This is the part where I think webinars get a little tricky. <laugh> tricky.
Alexa Darrow (47:04):
Kate Jorgensen (47:05):
Um, on the leather store example, um, thank you so much B
Alexa Darrow (47:09):
Oh yeah. So, um, I believe that their brand name is actually Orax leather. Um, and so like I think that’s like their official business name. Um, so that would just be how it was listed. But if it’s something, um, we have a lot of like dispensary users actually that will do this sometimes. And we’ll add like the word cannabis to their business name. Um, I do feel like Google is cracking down a little bit more on things like that because it’s basically like a, a cheat to draw more attention and search from those keywords. So I would try to optimize your listing with those keywords that describe your business in other ways before you add it to your business name. Because I do think with regular like uploads and content, et cetera, um, you’re, you’ll be showing up for those searches anyway, especially if you’re making sure that that’s like a category that’s listed. Um, and again, if you’re talking about it in your business description, I think that’s great. Um, I wouldn’t default to adding it to your business name. Um, that’s just my personal opinion, but, um, you could always try it and see what happens, but I, I, I don’t know, I’m not super sold on that idea anymore.
Kate Jorgensen (48:25):
Thanks so much. Hopefully that answers, um, the question CB, feel free to chime in with additional context if you’d like. Um, I was, um, thinking I might ask another, this is sort of a trick question. So I don’t mean to put you on the spot here, Alexa. Um, but going back to when we were talking about reviews and making sure that we respond to them, um, I feel like in a, a, a past training, um, I had heard that it’s good to do that, but to not go all the way back through, like to stay kind of focused in the present and maybe going back like maybe a week or two, but not going to like the effort of going all the way back through any review I’ve ever had. If it’s like three years old, it’s not necessarily worth the time. Do you agree with that?
Alexa Darrow (49:06):
I, yeah, I do agree. I would say, um, you know, if you wanna start replying to reviews that haven’t been responded to in the last like month, I think that’s fine. Um, but going back further, yes, it’s a waste of time and also it’s like, I think if you just make it practice moving forward to respond to all of them, you’ll be fine. Um, there’s no use in going back that far.
Kate Jorgensen (49:27):
Great. Thank you. Um, and we did buy some time for a little more context. Uh, um, so the context being, or leather company Portland made leather goods is how it’s listed and yet their name is just ORX leather company.
Alexa Darrow (49:38):
Gotcha. Okay. Yeah. This is definitely like a special case, um, because I don’t necessarily, I’m not like working for the business. I don’t know what their logic was. Um, I don’t think that it’s an issue and obviously they haven’t been flagged for it. And so I think that’s fine. Um, again, it’s just one of those things that like Google is looking at businesses more and more with a fine tooth comb these days. So, um, you know, they’re an established business they’ve been around for a while. I think if you’re a new business and you’re, you know, brand new to Google maps and you’re trying to populate keywords into your business name, maybe don’t do that. Um, but I, now I understand what you’re saying and I think, I mean, yes, it is helpful and it does help with search because it, you know, you are coming up in searches for more of those names when people are looking for you. So Portland and leather, et cetera. I, I’m not gonna say whether or not you should do it. I think like you can, you can decide that for yourself. I would advise that it’s not necessarily the best practice right now.
Kate Jorgensen (50:42):
Gotcha. And I’ll just chime in with the follow up. Um, they appreciate it. And their company is a pet food S gets confused as a winery <laugh>
Alexa Darrow (50:50):
So, oh, I understand. Okay. Yeah, that is confusing. I’m sorry. Um, yeah, I would say, just make sure that your categories are all set and you have as many as possible that are related to a winery, um, or, sorry. It is a pet food store. It’s a winery
Kate Jorgensen (51:07):
Pet food store.
Alexa Darrow (51:08):
Okay. So yes, related to as many pet food things as possible, um, you know, adding more photos of the shop of the products that you’re carrying, um, as well as you know, in your business description, obviously. Um, and anywhere you can just like peppering in those words, pet food store. That’s maybe not your business name right now. Um, again, you can try it. I, I can’t say for sure whether Google will flag you, sometimes they do and they’ll suspend you and you’ll have to go through the process of getting the listing back up and running because they look at that as like, again, like gaming the system. Um, but, uh, I don’t know for sure. So you can always fight back and say, if they do flag, you say like, you know, this is why this is what’s been happening. We just wanna make sure that we’re differentiating ourselves. I don’t work for them. So I can’t say for sure.
Kate Jorgensen (52:01):
Great. Thank you so much. I am not seeing any more questions come in. I will say this was maybe last call for folks. If you have any questions, there are none too random. Please do drop them into Q and a. Um, if you think of something after this session, please do reach out. Um, again, it’s Alexa, local.io, Kate travel, oregon.com integrated at travel, oregon.com. You’ll get a human and we’d be happy to help you with any questions you have. Um, I guess with that, maybe I’ll just go ahead and call this. Oh, Nope. We got another one. All right. How does Google know that a business is busy in real time? That’s a good
Alexa Darrow (52:41):
Question. Ooh, that is a very good question. Um, I don’t have the specific details to answer that one right now. It’s definitely something that I can look up for you. We don’t have any integration about like timing and like, and, and populated, uh, busyness right now in local. So that’s definitely an area that I’m not as well versed in. Um, it’s a great question though. <laugh> and
Kate Jorgensen (53:07):
Again, it’s a great question. My response is black magic. No. Yeah. So Charles we’ll look into it and we’ll follow up with you. Yeah. Um, for sure. Offline, good question.
Alexa Darrow (53:16):
Kate Jorgensen (53:19):
Okay with that. I think I really will call it a wrap. And I just wanna say thank you to all the attendees who made it today. A reminder I will send out, um, links to this recording and to the presentation. Please do follow up. If you have any questions, we are here to help. Um, and thank you Alexa, for being here today. We really appreciate your time and walking us through all these great features, really excited to get to using some of them ourselves over here at travel Oregon. Um, so yeah, again, just, you know, reach out if you have questions, everyone, otherwise, thanks again for everything. Really appreciate you all being here.
Alexa Darrow (53:51):
Kate Jorgensen (53:54):
Take care. Have a good one. Bye-bye.