Suzie Mills bravely served in the Air Force for eight years. While deployed to Afghanistan, she decided she wanted to offer veterans and civilians a more holistic way to keep their bodies and spirits in healthy shape. Back home in Northern Virginia, she founded Honest Soul Yoga in 2013 to give yoga newcomers a judgment-free place to explore the practice.
“Our focus is on welcoming people. We want to create a community, especially for military families,” Suzie says.
Her biggest challenge was ensuring the studio had a strong online presence and that potential clients could easily locate the studio. So, to help her reach potential customers, she relied on digital tools like Google My Business and Google Ads. Today, she’s now opened a second studio and employs more than 40 people, over half of whom are veterans and military spouses.
Veterans have always been an essential part of our nation’s entrepreneurs and business owners, and that trend continues currently with 2.5 million businesses majority-owned by veterans who employ five million people, according to the Small Business Administration.
When it comes to getting found by customers, your online presence matters. Google helps millions of businesses grow, and to celebrate National Veterans Small Business Week, we put together five helpful tips to help improve your presence online.
Use our Veteran-Led business attribute.
If your business is founded, owned, or led by a veteran, you can now identify on Google Search and Maps with a new Veteran-Led attribute that will help your company stand out, and make it easier for all of us to proactively support veteran-led businesses.
Get found on Google and post your news.
Nearly one third of all mobile searches are related to location, and that trend is only increasing, so it’s critical to have your business appear in results for local searches. This is managed through the Google My Business product. Posting through Google My Business now lets you publish your events, products, and services directly to your listing on Google Search and Maps. By creating posts, you can place your timely content in front of customers when they find your business listing on Google.
Encourage your customers to leave reviews.
Online reviews are today’s word of mouth. You can turn your best customers into advocates with free marketing materials from our Small Thanks Hub, where you can print and share your favorite reviews as custom posters and social images.
Learn how your website is performing.
Google Analytics helps you see what’s working and fix what’s not on your website. Understanding your website visitors helps you better evaluate the performance of your content, products, and more. Google also has a free Analytics Academy that helps you learn about Google’s measurement tools so that you can grow your business through intelligent data collection and analysis.
Learn more by attending a Get Your Business Online Workshop.
If you want hands-on help and learning opportunities, we have partnered with thousands of organizations across the country who offer free help and workshops through our Get Your Business Online program. You can find resources and a workshop near you at gybo.com.
To learn more, visit Grow with Google, our initiative to help create economic opportunities for all Americans, where we have tons of resources for you to learn the digital skills necessary to thrive in today’s economy.
About the author: Sean O’Keefe was born and raised in Cupertino, CA. He currently works at Google as a data scientist where he focuses on finding innovative marketing solutions through the use of machine learning out of Google’s HQ in Mountain View.
After graduating from Cupertino High School and witnessing the tragic events of 9/11 during his senior year, he made the courageous decision to forgo college and join the military. He initially enlisted in the Army as a 11B – Infantry and later spent some time stationed in Nuremberg, Germany with the 1st Infantry Division. Upon returning to the US, he completed Special Forces Qualification Course to become a Green Beret at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and served two years at Fort Carson in Colorado with the 10th Special Forces Group before deciding to return to civilian life and pursue his education.
Sean attended Columbia University where he majored in economics and political science. He was heavily involved with the university’s veteran group, MilVets — even helped lobby for the new GI Bill — and continues to be a strong advocate for the veteran community both personally and professionally.