In an emergency, could someone find your service?
Let’s say you’re working full time, and your partner’s mum has dementia. They’re doing ok, they’ve got a good routine going, and you relax- feeling supported by the services provided by local charities and community groups. Your caring duties are in hand and you’ve got your head above water.
Now let’s say a key provider of those services suddenly has a big change in what they can offer, and your partner’s mum is left without the group sessions that you’ve seen be an absolute lifeline for them. You feel a wave of dread and anxiety. You now have the job of pouring over websites, joining mailing lists, working out what days you can take off of work to look after her, calling people up until you can find something to take its place- never mind the uphill battle of getting someone with dementia into a new routine. When this happens, how would you find help?
Now, this is tough stuff to think about, but it does come from a real-life example. People who use our services are often facing a great deal of upheaval- how can we make that smoother? How does a person find you when they’re looking for help?
We know we have a part to play in this as a council for voluntary services, and we’re working on making our directory something far easier to use for both Bexley people and professionals. This is a big job and requires an awful lot of two very scarce things: resource and time.
While we work on this, here are some practical steps you can take:
- Make use of your mailing lists. An email twice a year that lays out what you offer and who you are can be a huge help and reminds people that you exist and are here to help. People can always unsubscribe if they don’t need this information so don’t worry about bothering people. Services like Mailchimp can make these mass mailings much easier to carry out.
- Having a good social media bio. It needs to clearly direct people to finding that key info about what you do. Seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many of us use vague language to describe ourselves. Not using social media? Give us a call and we can help you get started- details at the end of this blog.
- Optimise your Google Page. 90% of searches start with Google so it’s worthwhile to have an outline of services that someone can see immediately. Even if you’re a very small charity or community group- if you’re wanting to help people you need to be visible. There’s a bit of a process to changing this, so if you’ve not done it before there are instructions at the end of this blog.
- Make your website clear. Put yourself in the mindset of the scenario above and think- how could someone find out how you can help? Is it easy or does it require ransacking through your website to find?
- Have strong internal communications about local news. Sometimes when everyone’s busy it’s tricky to keep everyone informed about what’s going on and who’s working on what. Having a good process for sharing news with the whole team can be vital.
I know, a lot of these things are digital, but there’s an ever-growing number of people who turn to a website before they call a phone number, and this can actually work in our favour. It means the calls you take are more likely to actually need your services.
This is one of those situations where if you’re doing it right you won’t really notice, but it can make all the difference for the people we want to reach.
How to sort out your Google Page:
You will need: a gmail address, a mobile device (phone or tablet), about 30 minutes to an hour.
- Go to https://www.google.com/intl/en_uk/business/ and follow the process to claim your listing.
- Download the Google My Business app to be able to make changes. Sign in with your Gmail address and answer the questions to prove you should have access to your listing. Once you’ve got access, you can update the ‘About’ section to include vital services, respond to any reviews you have so far, and make sure everything is up to date.
- Find out more about what you can update here: https://moz.com/blog/how-to-optimize-your-google-my-business-listing
Need some help? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01322 524 682.