There are many ways for your quilt shop to be found online. The easiest is to set up your own website and a social account for your shop. Add an email newsletter and a blog and you are doing great. All of these online sites are great to be found online but what about locally?
If a customer searches 'local quilt shop' on Google, will you be found? Your site might come up in the long list of findings but you have a better way of reaching the top of that list. Create a Google My Business account!
When you search for a local business on Google, Google will show you a lot of information beyond the website. If the business has a My Business account, along the right side of Google you will see the business name, location, photos, contact information, reviews, and more! So much information for the customer to find them, know when to find them, and reviews along what they will find at the location.
Setting up a My Business account on Google is easy and free! First you need to claim your business. From your own Google Account, click on the 'Nine Patch' on the top right of Google. (It's like Google wants us quilter's to be online!) Select the My Business icon, which you might need to click 'more' to select. You will need to fill in your contact information for your business and verify that you own it.
Once verified you will be taken to your new dashboard which will look fairly similar to other social networks. Complete your listing by adding additional information for your shop. The main element is to assign your shop category. Quilt Shop is even a selection! You can add in additional categories such as Fabric Store, Yarn Store, or perhaps something else you are known for. You cannot customize this category so choose what fits best.
Add in your store hours so customers know when they can shop with you. Once you have hours for your shop set you will be able to set special hours as well. Perhaps a holiday is coming up? You will be able to fill in custom hours for special days and let customers know you are open.
Add in a brief description about your shop next. This is where you can customize and use key words that people who search for you will use. List items you offer in your shop like specific fabrics, classes, services, and options that makes your shop special in your area. Do you have parking for bus groups and shop hops? Let them know! Does your area of town have a nickname locals would use? Work any of these little details into the description to help be found.
Google will auto populate your location with Google Maps. You need to assist your map by adding in photos of the exterior and interior of your shop. We all know quilters are visual people and if they can see your great fabric selection, it will be a great incentive to come into your shop!
Your Google My Business page is a social listing. Once you have your main information and photos listed, add a post! Similar to Facebook, you can create a post about items you sell, services your offer, upcoming events, and special offers. You have the ability to set a time limit to your posts or if you leave it at the default your post will appear for a week and then expire. Remember to come back and add a new one! When customers search for your business on Google, if you have a post it will show below your contact information. If you have a Google Ad, it will also show with your listing.
Google My Business allows customers to leave reviews, just like Facebook. Have your current customers help you attract new customers! Add an incentive in your email newsletter for people to leave reviews on Google or even set up a little sign by your register. We all know how highly a review can sway people to come into a store.
Creating a Google My Business account will help your local customer reach you better. Having this additional outlet of your store hours, your contact information, and what you sell will further engage your customers and help locals find you faster.
Editor's Tip: Of course, activating your membership on QuiltingHub and adding your events will help as well.
Check out the most popular tool on QuiltingHub. Use the search 'Map Of Resources' or the 'Resources Trip Planner' to the right (or below).
Ellen Ault is a professional long arm quilter. Her quilts have been in national quilt shows and in numerous publications. Ellen is a graphic artist and assists local quilt shops with social media.