With the days of phone books coming to an end, businesses are moving their local marketing efforts online. Not only does it make your business easier to find, but, with online directories such as Google My Business, you can reach potential customers that would otherwise have to drive by or look you up in the prehistoric Yellow Pages. Google has reported that a staggering 46% of all searches have local intent. Yet, despite knowing this information, many businesses fail to take advantage of the free-to-use Google My Business platform.
What is Google My Business Page?
Google My Business is a tool that enables you to connect with your customers, post updates to your business profile, and see how customers are interacting with your business on Google. Business Profiles appear in Google Maps and the local results of Google Search, making it easier for customers to find information about your business online, including hours of operation, contact information and directions. It’s free, which makes it an affordable marketing tool for small and big companies alike.
When customers find themselves in a moment of need, they turn to Google search to fulfil that need as quickly as possible. If you have a Google My Business page, the potential customer may very well find and contact your business to satisfy that need.
It’s important to note that Google My Business does not replace your website; instead, it’s a complementary marketing profile to help drive more eyes on your website.
Setting Up Google My Business Page
Setting up a Google My Business page is relatively straightforward. It’s free to set up. If you have no page, please follow the following ten steps to set up your Google My Business Page.
Step 1: Start by going to google.com/business
Step 2: Log in with your Google account. You can either sign in with a pre-existing Google account or create a new one at google.com/accounts. If you have a business email domain, it is recommended you use it.
Step 3: Enter your business name
Step 4: Enter your business address, so Google can verify that your business exists.
Step 5: Choose whether you’re a storefront or a service provider. Here’s where you choose whether you want customers to visit your storefront or work from home or prefer your customers don’t visit your office.
Step 6: Choose your Primary business category. This is very important because it dictates where and when you will show up on Google searches. Google is all about relevance, so if a potential customer searches for “Pizza Restaurant” but you’re a ramen noodle place, then you may not show up. If the customer searches for “Best ramen noodle near me,” then you’d have a much better chance of your business profile showing up in the search results.
Step 7: Add your phone number and website. Google My Business tracks both phone calls and website clicks, so make sure your information is correct here.
Step 8: Verify your local listing. According to Google, to manage your business information in Search, Maps, and other Google properties, you must verify your business listing. The verification process helps Google make sure your business information is accurate. Until you have completed verification, you have only limited access to edit the business information that appears on Google. Postcard by Mail is the default verification option. If your business is eligible for other methods, such as phone or email, choose the one you prefer. It can take a few days to two weeks for the postcard to arrive.
Step 9: Complete populating your Google My Business profile with information about your business. Businesses with listings that are complete with contact information, photos and reviews have a much better chance of getting customer’s attention when searching online.
Step 10: Optimize your profile by listing your business on other third-party directories listings, like Yelp, Trip Advisor, Citysearch, and other smaller high-quality sites to get found by people outside the specified SEO range. Google’s goal is to help people find businesses close by to where they are located. This can make it difficult to attract customers from a location outside the boundaries set by Google. You will need to make sure your Name, Address and Phone (NAP) information is consistent across all these sites for the best results in search engine rankings.
The benefits of Having Google My Business Page
Benefit #1 – Show Up in Google Local Searches
A Google My Business Page ensures that when someone looks at your company up on Google Search and Google Maps, they find it. Once they do, your listing shows searches where and how to visit your shop, whether you have a web or physical address. Google My Business accounts also improve your local SEO and allow people to see your businesses’ proximity to their location to encourage them to visit you. This listing in Google My Business offers a form of fast and free advertising on Google.
Benefit #2 – Keep customers informed
Don’t leave customers guessing about your business’s important details. Or leave them up to review sites over which you have no control. Make sure that when someone searches for your business, they find legitimate information, straight from the source. Your Google My Business listing includes contact information, business hours, and other essential details. You can post updates to share that you’ve expanded services, temporarily closed, or fully reopened (a handy feature during movement control order situations like COVID-19).
Keep your information updated and accurate as your business evolves. Misinformation can lead to bad customer experiences and missed opportunities. Imagine the letdown a customer feels when they make a trip to your store only to find that it’s closed. Or maybe you are open, but a prospective customer chose a competitor because they weren’t sure.
Benefit #3 – Builds trust to boost consumer confidence
Trust is a key factor when it comes to making purchase decisions. The more confident a consumer feels, the more likely they are to buy. With a Google My Business listing, customers will be able to review your business and leave feedback for others to see. In doing this, not only will you get honest evaluations about what you’re doing right and what you could be doing better, but you’ll also get that nifty star rating system next to your business on Google.
As long as you’re delivering quality products and a quality experience, you’ll start to collect more reviews and a higher overall rating over time. Keep a steady stream of reviews coming in and respond to them. This is especially helpful when there are competing businesses nearby, and you need to gain a competitive edge.
Benefit #4: Increase Website traffic and sales
Having a Google My Business listing can greatly help increase quality website traffic. By listing your links to your website, visitors to your Google My Business page are more likely to click the website link and visit your site for more information. This is a great way to get more free traffic to your website.
Benefit #5: Learn More About Your Business
No matter what kind of product or service you sell, the more you know about your customers, the better you’ll be able to appeal to them. From your Google My Business page, navigating to the “Insights” section will give you a wealth of valuable analytics that breaks down how visible your brand is, who your target customers are, and how they’re engaging with your business. You’ll be able to see how many views your listing has had, how and where people find your listing, how they respond once they’ve found it and any other interactions they have. By learning more about the kinds of customers your business is attracting, you’ll also be able to modify and improve marketing strategy performance.
How we can help
Imagine a new customer coming into your store and telling you they found you on Google. They found YOU. Now, stop imagining because it’s all possible with Google My Business. Take advantage of this free tool brought to you by Google, so you can start attracting, engaging, and converting new customers right away.
The platform is designed to be easy to use, giving users the freedom to make changes to their business info as they need. If you have any questions or want help with setting up and optimizing Your Google My Business Page, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions.
We look forward to helping your business thrive online.