If you’re a business owner, you understand the importance of making it easy for your potential customers to find you. You’ve likely tried many of the traditional, tried-and-true marketing methods with varying degrees of success – billboards, radio or TV commercials, newspaper advertisements, flyers, and putting the guy on the street corner to drum up business for your next mega sale.
While some of those tactics may work and still have their place as part of your overall marketing plan, the time to go digital is now. If you’re like some of our clients, you may have already started transitioning to digital marketing. Maybe you have a website (How does it look on your phone?). Perhaps you started a blog (Does it have the right keywords?). Or, you could be sending out email blasts (Are they going to the right people?).
While we help clients implement various digital marketing tactics that help grow their business, one of the most successful and affordable tools we recommend is the Google My Business (GMB) listing. Maybe you’ve heard of it and are already using it to connect with customers. If you haven’t, you should start – and of course, use it to your full advantage.
Let’s dig into what GMB is, why it’s essential for your business, and discuss some ways you can optimize your GMB listing to reach potential customers.
What is Google My Business?
A Google My Business listing is a free online tool that helps prospects and customers find your business. The location and information about your business are listed on Google Maps and local organic search results.
Setting up your Google My Business listing is an easy way to ensure your business can be almost instantly found online. Customers can access your address, phone number, website address, business hours, reviews, and photos. More recently, Google has added the capability to post a link to blog articles or upcoming events.
But will this listing really help people find your business? Well, it’s easy to find out. Once the GMB listing is set up, businesses receive monthly emails that show how many times their Google Map pin is shown, how many calls were made from the listing, how many times directions were used to get to their business, and more.
Your listing will show up in Google organic search results without the need to actively advertise. But it’s just the start of what you can do to leverage your online presence. As part of our clients’ overall digital marketing strategies, we post through listings, share offers, and showcase products and services.
Optimizing Your GMB Listing
Just setting up your business’s GMB isn’t enough to get customers knocking on your door. Now that you have this excellent resource, you need to use it to its highest capabilities. That means optimizing your listing to provide as much helpful information as possible for your customers.
The goal isn’t just for potential customers to find you. You want their next step to be contacting you, placing an order, or showing up. The easier you can make it for them to do that, the more your business will grow.
We’ve found that most businesses with a GMB listing do not use it to its fullest potential. That’s like leaving money on the table. We’re sure you don’t want that – and we don’t want that for you, either.
In this section of the blog, we’ll share some tips on how your business can maximize the use of your GMB profile.
Keep business info updated
One thing worse than not having a GMB listing is having one with outdated or inaccurate information about your company. Consumers rely on the information you provide. You must regularly check your listings for accuracy.
If you alter your business hours, make menu or service changes, have a new way to contact, or make other key changes, update your GMB listing. An excellent way to lose potential customers is to feed them inaccurate information, so update, update, update.
Regularly upload content
Your GMB listing can be much more than simply your address, phone number, and hours of operation. Did you know your business can add photos and videos to your GMB listing? You can improve your GMB Search Engine Optimization by adding pictures. Google My Business statistics show that companies with images in their listing bring 42 percent more driving direction requests and 35 percent more click-throughs than those that don’t.
When it comes to Google My Business optimization, experts also said that having more images resulted in more customer interactions.
In addition to adding photos, consider regularly including other content like:
- Sharing daily specials or current promotions for new and existing customers
- Promoting events and telling customers about upcoming happenings
- Showcasing your best products and highlighting what’s new
- Giving customers the ability to sign up for a newsletter, buy a specific product from your website or receive the latest news about your business
Allow appointment booking
Many of your potential customers don’t want to be bothered by a phone call. They’d prefer to get the information they need with just one click. Not to mention, waiting 15 minutes on hold is enough to send them looking for another business to meet their needs.
You can use your GMB listing to allow customers to book appointments if your business allows this. If your company doesn’t accept appointments, include a link to your website’s contact page. Your customers will appreciate the opportunity to request more information online rather than “wait for the next available representative” to schedule a meeting.
To make this possible, you just need to link your business’s existing scheduling service or contact page to GMB.
Here’s how to do it:
- Log in to your GMB account.
- Click on “Information” on the left side of the page
- Near the middle of the page is an option called “Appointment URL.” Paste your URL here.
- Click save.
Now your customers can book appointments or contact you with the click of a button.
Ask for customer reviews and respond
Google My Business reviews are your friend. Some businesses think it’s risky to ask for customer feedback, but it’s not so scary if you’re a successful and credible company.
According to Google My Business statistics 2021, an incredible 84 percent of online consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. It’s not that surprising. Think about how often you ask for business recommendations from friends and family. Customers often want to learn from the experiences of others before trying something new.
Google My Business reviews are essential for your business because you can learn how to improve what you’re doing. They also influence the buying decisions of your potential customers, and they can boost your visibility and reputation. Reviews will help your business rank higher in organic search and map results.
Ask your satisfied customers for a review to boost your GMB profile. To make it easier and faster for them to provide their input, send them an email with a link to your listing with step-by-step instructions.
When you receive reviews, make sure you respond. That tells them you appreciate that they took the time to share their experience. Whether the review is excellent or maybe a little negative, keep your responses professional. Try these tips for responding:
- Be nice: The last thing you want is a public argument for the world to see. You probably won’t win, anyway. So, keep it about business and don’t get personal.
- Keep it short and sweet: Just provide helpful information and move on. There’s no need to go into too much detail.
- Thank your reviewers: Thank your reviewers for taking the time to provide input – good and bad.
- Don’t be a salesperson: Your reviewers have already shown interest in your business, so there’s no need to bring your sales pitch. If anything, share something new that they may not have known since the last time they tried your product.
When used as part of your overall digital marketing strategy, GMB can provide much-needed visibility to your business and boost your online presence. To learn more about how to best implement your GMB listing into a game-winning digital marketing strategy, get in touch with us here.