To many business owners, digital marketing is a foreign concept. With so much time spent building your business and trying to acquire new clients/customers, who has the time to learn and understand every area of digital.
Many rely solely on a Facebook page, inviting all their friends to follow the page in hopes that this will help them reach new people. Unfortunately, in today’s digital market, the social noise is very loud and hard to cut through. Thankfully, Google has created the ability for your brand to be found with Google My Business (GMB).
One of the many benefits of Google My Business is that no matter the size of your company, people can find you in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
I’m going to walk you through 5 simple reasons that GMB is a great introduction to digital marketing for business owners and how it can help you grow your business, improve your SEO and connect with potential customers.
1. Create a Google My Business profile.
Step 1. Let’s get this started.
Create your Google My Business profile. Here’s the link >> Create your GMB Account here. I’ll wait…
Done? Okay great!
Now that you’ve started the process (well done you nifty business owner you), you will need to fill out information about your business so users know who you are and how to find/contact you. This includes:
- Company name
- Website address
- Hours of operation
- Phone number and/or email address
- Physical address
You can verify your business with Google to confirm that you are a legitimate business. This is generally a postcard by mail with a verification code on it.
There is also the additional information you can fill out to provide further detail about your business:
- Brief description about your business
- Business features (service areas, highlights, appointment links, and service options)
- List of services you provide or products you sell
- Opening date
Don’t forget, this profile is visible to the public and is being used to attract potential customers. Try to fill it out as much as you can. If you get stuck, here’s a great resource from Hubspot to set up your GMB profile.
2. Showcase your small business with location results.
With search results readily accessible, searchers can find business they’re looking for with relative ease, with a key factor to the convenience being proximity searchers. With the rise of mobile search, it is crucial for your business to show up in “near me” local search results.
For potential customers searching for “restaurants near me”, as in the example above, your business can show up in Google Maps as part of Google’s “Universal Search”.
To help you out, “Universal search is the ability to search all content in an enterprise through a single search box. Although content sources might reside in different locations, such as on a corporate network, on a desktop, or on the World Wide Web, they appear in a single, integrated set of search results.”
That is Google’s more technical definition of what Universal Search is. To really simplify what this means, Universal Search allows Google to show images, rich snippets, local businesses, and more from a search result.
When your business’s location is clicked in the snippet by a user, your GMB profile pops up so your potential customer can learn more about your company.
Remember step 1? This is why!
3. Content and media
Many business owners opted for the classic fallback creating a social media profile before looking to Google. Don’t stress, everything will be ok.
Another great advantage to GMB is its media connectivity. You can link your social media profiles to your GMB and even feature one of them (more often Facebook), as your business’s landing page if you haven’t yet developed a website.
Developing out content and an accompanying strategy can be crucial here (sneaky extra tip). When users have so many businesses readily accessible, it can be extremely valuable to showcase your business with content around day-to-day workings, work with clients or insights to products/services.
Don’t forget, GMB is a social media platform itself and you can create posts just how you would with Facebook! I cannot put enough emphasis on posting to GMB as part of your digital strategy. It will also help down the road when you have a website, creating links to help users find specific pages on your site.
Beyond posts, GMB allows you to upload cover photos and any additional images you think could help convert users or even simply provide value. If you’re unsure of what image specifications GMB requires, have a look at GMB’s help centre.
4. Automatic and visible reviews
In a world of educated consumers, gaining reviews from previous customers should be an essential part of your sales process. Potential customers will often look through your business reviews to get a good idea of the experience they are in for and the quality of your service. If you have too many negative reviews, very few positive reviews, or even none, this can be very telling.
Actively asking satisfied customers for reviews can mean more business down the road. Thankfully, GMB simplifies the review submission process by allowing customers to post reviews directly into your business profile. You can also get a link from GMB to send to past customers and ask for a review if they had a good experience with your business.
Any review that is submitted will populate on your GMB automatically and will be visible to the public. Great for online window shoppers!
And don’t forget to respond to reviews!
- If it’s a positive review, take the opportunity to engage with your customer and thank them for taking the time to leave a review.
- If it’s a negative review, this is a great opportunity to address their issue, learn from the experience they had, and turn an unhappy experience into a more positive one.
A word of advice. Negative reviews don’t have to be bad. You can take them on as constructive feedback and engage with your customer to learn more and improve your service offering.
Check out our happy customers!
5. Results and analytics
As I’ve previously mentioned, GMB allows you to compile all your important business information, social media profiles, photos, and customer reviews into one convenient platform. What’s more, you can view all your GMB performance on your dashboard.
Once you have verified your account (as I mentioned in step 1), Google will begin to track your GMB analytics.
Login to your GMB profile and click on the “Insights” tab on the left-hand side.
You will be able to see:
- Local search queries that triggered your GMB to appear in the results
- How customers search for your business
- Where customers view your business on Google
- Customer actions
- Direction requests
- Phone calls
- Photo views
- Photo quantity
These can be valuable insights for you as a business owner to know how and where customers are finding you online and provide some direction on where to place your marketing efforts.
Not to mention, seeing consistent improvements in your analytics will help to assist the SEO performance locally.
The Benefits of Google My Business: Have I convinced you yet?
With all these great benefits of Google My Business, not to mention that it’s free, Google is doing you a favour! I strongly urge every business owner to jump on the opportunity to create a profile and build out your business information, content (including media and posts), and start collecting reviews!
Don’t wait another second, make it happen!