A study shows that there are over 3.5 billion searches made on Google every day. Hence, whether you are a local or globally renowned business all your customers and prospects can be found online. Although, if you are a newly emerged local brand, standing out on a highly saturated site such as google is improbable but not impossible.
Showing up high in Google search is essential to improve your company’s online presence and visibility. Henceforth, you need to choose and employ the right tool for successful inbound marketing and SEO strategies for your business. For local businesses, one of the best and yet free tools that gives your brand more exposure, while enhancing your customer experience is Google My Business.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free online tool that manages business’ online presence and listings on google. Once you register an account on Google My Business, it will ensure that someone finds your company when they search about it on Google Search or Google Maps.
In addition, you can further optimize your account by adding attributes and relevant information like geographical information, pictures, specific features, etc. that will help your customers understand your company better and leverage it for more transactions.
Using Google My Business can be highly advantageous for an upcoming local business as it not only makes the business highly discoverable and visible online through the right-hand side google sidebar also known as the Knowledge graph but also improves the shopping experience for your customers. In conclusion, the tool also helps bring more traffic, both to your website and your front door.
Here are a few features offered by Google My Business that you can use to improve your business:
For every business registered with Google My Business, it provides a knowledge graph i.e. the right-hand side panel that you see on your desktop or the topmost pop up on your mobile when you search for almost any restaurant, clothing brand, or any other business.
The panel provides a plethora of information such as the company name, description, category, phone number, a link to their website, hours of operation, reviews, FAQs, pictures and so much more.
As anyone can suggest an edit to your business listing, all you are required to do is regularly log into your Google My Business dashboard and ensure that all the information is relevant, accurate and up to date. Apart from that, the panel also lets you add additional information about the business’ attributes or the amenities provided.
For example, if you search up a restaurant, the panel shows you a list of amenities provided by it like ‘free Wi-Fi”, “kids friendly”, “outdoor seating”, “wheelchair friendly” or “bar seating”.
Additionally, restaurants can upload menus, showcase their bestselling dishes, or add a link for online orders and reservations, or hotels can show service menus, list of amenities, and add a booking button. As a business owner, you should know that this panel not only increases your brand’s visibility but also optimizes sales in the long run.
Improve local searches
Google’s algorithm ranks business listing for viewers according to three factors: Relevance, Distance, and Prominence. With Google My Business your business will be ranked higher and will be easily accessed through the first page of the Google dashboard.
You are required to provide an appropriate description using the right keywords that describe your type of business as this will improve your relevance.
People either search for terms related to what you do or sell like “grocery store” or “coffee shop” or for listings for local searches like “restaurants near me” or “nail salon near me”. So, if your profile is complete and up to date with all the relevant information about your business including your attributes, geographical location, photos, phone number and hours of operation, it will be listed higher in the google search.
Chat with your customers
Customer support is a feature that can either amicably boost your sales or run your company into the ground. It provides a sense of transparency and additional support to your customers that make them feel personally connected to you.
Google My Business provides features like “Click-to-call” buttons on your profile that may directly connect your customers to you but apart from that it also introduced a new messaging feature that allows you to have one-on-one communication with your customers. You will just have to input a phone number and furthermore verify before being able to connect to your customers.
You can control this feature and turn it on and off accordingly and update the number if necessary. Additionally, you can also tailor a welcome message that the users will receive when they send you a message. Google also calculates an average response time i.e. the length of time it took you to respond to your customer’s messages. This is then shown on your listing.
Respond to Reviews
Want to nudge prospective customers in favor of your business? Initially encouraging your customers to leave reviews as reviews not only increases your ratings but a good review also attracts more customers. Nothing builds a business’s credibility better than reviews and feedback received from your customers.
Google My Business offers businesses access to a free marketing kit that includes social posts, stickers, and printable posters for showcasing your reviews. Furthermore, to build your business’ loyalty towards your customers have positive and reinforcing interaction with them by responding to their reviews, whether they’re positive.
If the review is negative, address the issues raised and give the customer reassurance and an apology when it’s warranted. If the review is positive, acknowledge your customers’ experience and express your heartfelt gratitude. Additionally, be sure to answer the questions left by the customers as well.
Although, anybody can respond to a question left on Google My Business profile but try your best to respond first. You can also personally add some frequently asked questions in the Question & Answer section as it’ll help clear up most of your customer’s queries and make your page seem more engaging. This is a minute effort, but it prevents the spread of misinformation and portrays your business as active, transparent, and reliable.
Upload pictures and videos
Everyone has heard the saying that “A picture is worth a thousand words”, so why not use that literally in our advantage. Tell your prospective customers about your story and your vision through the pictures but apart from that virtually walk them through the experience your business has to offer.
Google My Business lets you add a profile picture, a cover picture and separate additional pictures. Take this opportunity and add pictures related to your location like the google street view, the interior of your building or the amenities offered by you. If you sell products, upload up-close pictures of your display cases and your products as it will give the customers an idea about your product before they visit your store.
Just like on social media networking sites like Facebook and Instagram customers can tag the businesses, Google My Business encourages customers to directly upload images to your Google My Business page.
Although you can moderate these uploads and remove anything inappropriate or something that does not represent your business in a just manner. You can also portray your business better by uploading a video to your Google My Business dashboard. This will help showcase your business as you want and would also let the customers experience your facilities and services.
Google Posts allows you to connect directly with your customers with blog articles, company news, eBook downloads, Upcoming events, special offers, and Product promotion all under your Google My Business listings.
You can hence create posts of a maximum of 300 words and upload relevant pictures. Although the post is time-sensitive and will disappear after seven days or if you choose a time frame before that. So, anyone who searches for your business within that time frame will encounter this post both on google search and google maps.
The mere purpose of these posts is to boost your marketing, keep your profile fresh and active, drive more sales, and increase both virtual and actual traffic to your business. Google also provides in-depth insights and engagement metrics for each post; hence you can see what is most liked by the customers or what attracts them the most.
Google My Business is a free and user-friendly tool that positions all the relevant information about your business in front of the eyes of your prospective customers in the form of the Knowledge Graph. You just must make a few minuscule efforts here and there while adding the information and responding to the reviews, but Google My Business gives genuine results in the long run.