How To Use Google 360 Virtual Tours To Market Your Business In A Post-Covid World

Google 360 virtual tours
As businesses emerge from our imposed Covid-19 hibernation we can use Google 360 virtual tours to showcase how the environment in which we are operating has changed and is safe. The emergence of sanitation stations and perspex screens are now common on the high street and we can help shape customer perceptions of our business with these tours. Customers have become much more conscious of hygiene regimes at places they visit.
For some businesses, reopening may be as simple as giving their premises a clean and opening the doors. For many others, there has been a huge amount of work involved in being able to open. Restauranteur Shaun Rankin highlighted having to measure the dining room to work out the maximum number of covers he can accommodate at Grantley Hall. Blackburn Gym, Fit Mill had to change their business model completely to help re-opening resulting in a 50% reduction in capacity. They may be considered the lucky ones by many businesses who have not survived the pandemic. Businesses such as The Corporation Arms, dating back to the 18th century in Longridge have cited Covid restrictions as a factor in their decision to close.

The Cost

It will take time to discover the true cost of the pandemic to businesses and our high streets. Not just lost revenue and reduced capacity but also additional costs for protective equipment such as screens. Screens do a great job of keeping staff and customers safe. It is good to see companies like The Awning Company and Ultimate Visual Solutions have responded quickly to the need. They are producing screens and supplying businesses right here in Lancashire and beyond. Print companies such as CMYK and Media Village have introduced a range of signage, floor stickers and other printed materials. These help to guide customers and keep them safe. For some businesses it’s not only changes to their environment, some had to introduce new technology. We’re being encouraged more and more to use contactless payments where possible. This meant some businesses had to introduce card terminals and others needed to upgrade to wireless solutions, such as those supplied by Get Shrewd.

It doesn’t stop there though. Companies like Hatters Promotions  help businesses access branded sanitiser sprays, mask lanyards and all manner of other branded PPE. These help businesses demonstrate that they care about customer safety. Sew Simple Workwear have responded to the change in restrictions not just by offering PPE but also personalised blankets. Restaurants such as Wilfred’s at Crow Wood Hotel want their diners to stay warm and cosy whilst dining on the terrace.

Share Your Update

It is reassuring to the public to know these precautions are in place but how are these messages conveyed? Video can of course be a great way to share a message. Rochdale Council took the opportunity to publish a public information video when their local businesses started to re-open. Video works equally well for small businesses as demonstrated by The Medicine Tap in Rochdale. Their film welcoming people back to their venue outlines the new protocols. If video is your preferred communication tool then consider using a professional. Video production companies like Bellyflop create professional, high-quality content to share your message. Another way to convey the physical changes is to update, or have a Google 360 virtual tour created for the business.

Google 360 virtual tours and Google My Business (GMB) is often overlooked when it comes to social media.  If there is one thing we know about the worlds largest search engine it is that it likes to keep users attention. Have you ever lost yourself in a YouTube wormhole? You probably have a Gmail account and use that to access YouTube. Did you know though that YouTube is the worlds second-largest search engine and it is owned by Google?

How Many People Look For Local Business Information On Maps? This image shows 2 in 3 customers looked for local business information on map sites and apps.

How Many People Look For Local Business Information On Maps? This image shows 2 in 3 customers looked for local business information on map sites and apps.

Help Google Find You

Google My Business is free to use. It allows you to collect and respond to testimonials, add photos and publish offers. You can also share opening times and important information for prospective customers. It’s partly where Google gets the information it serves up to your clients when they ask Google for details. Google says complete listings inspire trust. These businesses are almost 80% more likely to be seen as well-established. Those listings include all the information you publish as well as your Google 360 tour.

The Google 360 virtual tour is a useful tool. It may not look as aesthetically appealing as some other 360° tools but it is by far the most effective and useful. Having high-quality 360° images on your listing improves your customers browsing experience. It lets them see inside your business before they arrive. Having a 360° tour can boost your online visibility too according to Google. 62% of visitors prefer listings with photos of interiors and, listings with tours are twice as likely to generate interest. This is hugely reassuring as more than 40% of business searches on Google maps result in an onsite visit.

Let Them Know You Care

Let’s take this a step further though to when your prospective customer views your venue online. Think about how reassured and safe they feel when they see the precautions you have taken to keep them safe. This confidence will be something they will share with friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Remember the Maya Angelou quote: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. You will be making your customers feel safe and secure. Your customers will know you have taken time and effort to put safety precautions in place. That warm and fuzzy feeling when thinking of a brand is something bigger brands spend a huge amount of money on. A Google 360 virtual tour can help you create that for a very low cost.

This may sound extravagant. Creating a tour showcasing safety measures and replacing it when screens are removed. That is because you are thinking of the tour as a one-and-done task, not as part of your marketing collateral. With Bellyflop offering tours costing as little as £300, this is an affordable option. You may spend a lot more than that on printing posters and flyers and distributing them. How many of those flyers will end up ignored or discarded? The shelf life of a Google 360° tour is much longer and forms part of your passive marketing assets. More of us check opening times and addresses online before we visit a venue so the number of people seeing the tour will be more than those seeing your leaflets.

Consumers Use Search Engines To Gather Information 

84% Of Consumers Use Search Engines To Gather Information

Don't Just Take Our Word For It

You don’t have to take our word for it. Google have a large number of trusted partners (Bellyflop are a Google trusted partner too). The tours are not just a UK phenomenon businesses around the world see the benefit too. Many will tell you the reasons you need a Google virtual tour or benefits of a Google 360° tour. if you want to geek out on understanding the impact of being listed as a local business then Google has published research that gives a huge range of statistics.

Remember that Google likes Google products. It stands to reason that the worlds biggest search engine will want to keep giving users reasons to use their platform. Serving up your Google 360° tour as part of a search along with relevant video content, reviews and testimonials are all ways Google use to help embed itself in our minds as a helpful and reliable source of information. If you need help in building your presence online with Google then experts like those at Bellyflop will always be happy to help. Social media algorithms will change, platforms we use will fall in and out of favour and trends will evolve. One thing is certain though, our demand for quick, reliable and up to date information will not wane. It’s time to make sure that your information is up to date and easy to find.

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