Google looks to help local businesses with ‘Small Thanks’ program.Thank Google — something is free this holiday season.
The Mountain View, California-based tech giant (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced Thanksgiving week that it will begin offering small-business owners complimentary marketing materials to help promote their establishments.
The so-called #SmallThanks initiative allows Google-listed businesses to create posters, social media images, window clings, table tents, and stickers based on the “local love” they receive from customer reviews on the web.
Google is offering small businesses free marketing materials from its #SmallThanks Hub to gain new customers and turn existing ones into “advocates.”
“A few positive small thanks can mean the difference between a potential customer choosing your business or going elsewhere,” said Lisa Gevelber, Google’s vice president of marketing.
Considering that 71 percent of consumers say that positive reviews in search results make them more likely to use that business, it’s a noble cause, she explained. Listings with positive reviews see 360 percent higher clicks to their site.
So throughout the holiday season, Google is encouraging customers to be online “advocates” and type #SmallThanks into their reviews to help their favorite small business stand out.
But first, companies need to qualify for the free service and claim their business through the Google Business webpage. The search engine company’s machine learning technology will then pull key sentences from positive 4 to 5 star reviews.
It’s likely that some customers may not remember to leave companies a review, or realize the impact that it can have, Gevelber said. Businesses can use the free marketing materials they receive — whether it’s a sign in the windows or displayed in a receipt booklet — to grab customer attention and get more marketing materials.
Google, now under the parent company Alphabet, piloted the program in four different cities — Dallas, Phoenix, Oakland and Pittsburgh. Today, it’s nationwide.
“Reviews from your fans are like digital thank you notes, and they’re one of the first things people notice about your business in search results,” Gevelber added. “A few positive small thanks can mean the difference between a potential customer choosing your business or going elsewhere.”