What’s the number one online marketing mistake that businesses make? If you said no SEO, poor web design or bad sales copy, you’re wrong. These are things businesses know are important and put resources into getting right. By my count, a much more common mistake is either not showing your hours online, or getting them wrong.
That’s especially true when your business has special summer hours. Lots of businesses have these, from restaurants with longer evening hours to small offices that close early on Fridays. The problem is that when your hours change, it’s easy to forget to update them online—which means they could be displayed incorrectly on Google Maps and in search results. That’s why Google has created a simple two-step tool to check your hours.
Getting Hours Wrong
Hours of operation are among the most basic information you want to communicate to your customers, so the idea of getting them wrong might sound crazy. But the truth is it’s easy for hours to be listed incorrectly. It can happen several ways:
- Missing from website. Putting hours on the website can easily get lost in the shuffle. Many business put all their focus on writing great sales copy or putting up stunning images, so small details can get overlooked. Or hours might simply be hard to find; they may be tucked on an About, Contact or Directions page instead of displayed prominently. If Google cannot find your hours, they may take them from customer-led sites like Yelp, which can get them wrong.
- Changes not communicated to web team. You might know your hours have changed, and put up clear signage in the store—but does your webmaster know? Small changes like summer hours aren’t always reported to the web team, especially if you use an outside consultant. IT can’t update what they don’t even know about.
- Changes made in some places and not others. Where are your hours listed online? Chances are they appear on several places on your site, on your Facebook page, on Yelp, and maybe even on an older version of your website you no longer use. If hours aren’t changed everywhere, the old incorrect hours could still show up.
- No Google My Business account. The easiest way to make sure your hours are correct is to get a free Google My Business account and tell them exactly what the hours are. This way you’re in control of what shows up on Google.
As common as these mistakes are, they are not minor. Would-be customers could think you’re closed and head to a competitor when really you were open. Or they could show up thinking you’re open only to find a locked door. Neither scenario is good for business.
How to Check Your Hours
One way to check your hours is to simply google your business and see how they’re listed. But Google’s new tool lets you not only check them, but also correct them.
Here’s how you use it:
- Go to this site and type in your city.
- Click the “Check My Business” options (the very first tile) and follow the directions. You’ll be shown how your business info appears online and be given easy instructions for how to fix it if needed.
It’s best to check this information on a regular basis, not just for summer hours. You’ll make your customers’ lives much easier.