In the digital era, the value of search engines in our decision-making process has become undeniable. In fact, a 2016 survey showed that search engines have become our most trusted online source for finding information. Compared to the other marketing channels, local searches have a higher chance of generating in-store visits and offline sales. However, the value of having a strong business profile listed on a search engine results page (SERP) is more underestimated than many realize.
Maintaining a strong business profile on Google, a.k.a a Google My Business (GMB) page can add value to your local marketing efforts by generating foot traffic and driving online traffic to your website, and it costs you nothing but your time.
One question you might be wondering is: how do I optimize my listing locally? Here are some tips to help you make the most of your GMB page:
Whether you are new to Google My Business or not, treat it as your digital real estate on Google. Keep it as fresh and welcoming as your home by updating your business information on a regular basis. This should include:
- Business name, address, phone number (NAP)
- Website URL
- Appointment URL
- Business hours
- Business logo
- Profile photo
- Property photos
- Virtual Tour (if applicable)
(Google My Business Community)
If your business has over ten locations, no worries! Through bulk verification, you can manage all of your listings quickly, although it does require managing a spreadsheet.
While you are setting things up, make sure all the content has as much detail as possible, now is not the time for shortcuts. This is important because in order to serve your business, Google needs to understand your business.
This newly released feature allows businesses to get social with the public directly on Google’s search result page and it is no doubt a huge benefit for startups and small brands to get wider exposure online.
(posts can be seen in Google search result page and Maps, both on desktop and mobile)
Mimicking how you would execute your social media posts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, you can decide what and when to post on this platform. Although posts will only be “live” for 7 days and used for sharing purposes only (no commenting or likes), here are some highlights:
- Posts will show on the Google search results page and Google Maps, but also on desktop and mobile device.
- You are not limited to plain messages, you can also post events, creative images, new promotions, announcements, etc,.
- You can choose to include a call-to-action button in your post, like “order online”, “learn more” “sign up”, or “get offer”. Treat this opportunity as an extension of your digital ads.
This is a breakthrough for online business listings – brands and businesses are finally able to start the conversation with users on Google rather than passively waiting for someone to show up at the door or send them a message.
Nurture Customer Relationships
Aside from business listings, using GMB for customer service can elevate your local search ranking and drive your customer retention to the next level.
– Customer Reviews
People leave reviews on Google to share their positive/negative experiences not only with the business but with future customers too! In fact, 90% of today’s consumers rely on these reviews to make final decisions. So, having a communication strategy for your Google reviews helps you to capitalize on positive customer experiences, and provides an opportunity for outreach in case a customer had a less than ideal experience. Over time, your efforts spent on GMB help to increase your brand visibility and boost local traffic from Google.
If you need more reviews, here is a BONUS TIP: you can send people a link connected directly to your Google business review page. We recommend issuing a follow-up email to guests and clients, asking them to kindly leave a business review via their Google account after their experience with your business.
To take this to the next level, you can generate a shortened URL or QR code through Google URL Shortener. Feel free to display it on your social media profiles, in your newsletter, on your receipt or your printed menu card wherever customers are likely to see and leave a review. The best part of doing this is that you can track how many people end up clicking your link!
Other than leaving a review, people can also leave a question directly on your GMB page. If questions are being answered, users can upvote answers that are helpful to them.
Again, like customer reviews, if you have a bustling Q&A section, there is a higher chance of ranking for your key search terms on Google, and that is a big deal!
– Direct Messaging
Direct messaging is another field for you to exceed your customer expectations: you can set up a phone number on your GMB page for customers to text you. You can manage these messages from the device of your choosing. You can also create a welcome message (exactly how you would for your Facebook page). Once you download Google’s messaging app Allo, you can chat with your customers anytime, anywhere.
– Monthly Analytics
Whether you are doing the GMB page on your own, or someone is managing it on your behalf, all effort will be measured and a visually presented in a monthly report delivered straight to your inbox.
In the report, ‘insights’ will show you how customers interact with your listing across all devices, including:
- How customers find your listing
- Where customers find you on Google
- Customer actions
- Direction requests
- Phone calls
We highly recommend our partners utilize this report, as it is helpful for understanding your customer journey and behaviour like:
- What are the top search terms leading customers to your business listing?
- Where do they find your business listing? On Google Map or on Google search result page?
- Which location are they looking for your services? For how many times?
- How many customers have called you during a certain period?
- Which photo gets the most attention?
Infusing these insights into your digital marketing strategy can mean the difference between a less than impressive website performance and clicks that consistently convert.
If you’re currently looking for a way to get more support from your local market, as most businesses are, Google My Business is a great place to start. Just remember – consistency is key. If you’re going to do it, do it regularly, strategically, and always referencing your analytics and insights.
In the digital age, there’s more to running a long lasting business than having an incredible location or product. If you stuck with your marketing strategy, we are here for you.
Contact Web Toaster for your free online presence audit today!