If there’s one thing to add to the to do list before your holiday break, it’s updating your business hours everywhere you can. As we head into the holiday season it’s important to let your customers know when you’ll be available. Updating business hours is often overlooked or forgotten by small businesses. To help, we’ve listed some places where you should update your opening hours:
You should have your opening hours listed on your about page, contact page or in your footer. If you don’t, add them in.
Communicate your updated opening hours by adding additional information in these sections, or by linking to a blog post or announcement elsewhere.
You might be inclined to add a pop up to your site to communicate this information but keep in mind that Google doesn’t look at pop ups positively, use a top bar on your site if you want to make sure people see your hours.
Google My Business
Google is arguably the most important place to update your opening hours. This is where people go for a quick overview of your company and for directions in Google Maps. Once you’ve updated your hours in Google My Business, visitors will be notified that you’re closed if they request directions to your location.
Here’s how you can update your Google My Business Listing:
- You should already have a Google My Business account set up. If not, do that now: https://business.google.com/create
- Sign in to Google My Business: https://business.google.com/
- From your dashboard, navigate to either “update business hours” in the middle section, or “info” on the left panel (see the first image below). We’ll select “info” for the next step.
- On the “info” page, scroll down to the section with custom hours. This is separate to your standard opening hours section. Select the edit icon.
- Update the custom hours using the dialogue box that opens, then select save.
Social Media (Facebook)
You can update your opening hours on Facebook, but unfortunately there is no “holiday opening hours” functionality (such as there is in Google) which means you’ll need to update your standard hours just before closing and once again when you open in the new year. If you get a lot of business through Facebook, we recommend updating this or pinning a post to the top of your feed about your changes.
It’s also a good idea to share a post through your other social media channels just before closing up for the holiday – when your social channels will likely become quiet anyway.
True local, Yellow Pages, Yelp, Trip Advisor, and any other online business directories
These are particularly important to update if you’re a restaurant of other business that could be assumed to stay open during the holiday period. If you’re giving your staff some extra time off, let customers know through these directories.
Don’t forget the all important storefront! This can be as simple as a hand written note displayed at the front of your premises (office window, shop door, workshop entrance etc.). Or, take it up a notch and design a holiday themed notice poster.
Tell customers your business hours through email
Don’t forget to reach out to customers too. Make use of that email list that may be gathering dust to let previous customers know when you’ll be open and closed. This a great opportunity to touch base with clients. Not only will it put your brand front and centre during the gift giving season, but it will create a sense of urgency for customers to take action before your office, store, or service is closed.
Another great way to tell customer you’re closing is by creating an email footer image that sits within your email signature. This way, every email you send out between now and the end of the holiday period will be another touch point for customers to get the information they need.
If you’re not going to be checking emails frequently, it’s a good idea to turn on ‘auto replies’ with a pre-written out of office message. This can include how long you’re closed for, when you’ll be opening again, what services are operating or an emergency contract number for businesses that have more pressing services.
Not closing for the holiday period?
Even better! Email your customers, share on socials and talk to them in person to let customers know you’re open and excited to see them. You might be in the minority of businesses open during the holiday season, so make the most of it and encourage customers to come visit you during their free time.