Marketing is huge for any business, and these days, it mostly seems to be online. Of course, people think of marketing as strictly advertising, but a lot of it comes down to how your business is presented as well. One way to really stay on top of things without spending a dime is to use Google My Business to manage your local business appearance in Google searches.
What Exactly is Google My Business and Why Do You Need It?
I didn’t really know much about Google My Business myself until a few months ago, when a friend informed me that it’s huge for any local business. If you are operating a smaller, local business, chances are your online presence could use at least a little bit of work. Setting up a profile allows business owners to dictate exactly how they look and control the narrative a bit more.
A Google Study shows that roughly 50% of people who search locally for a product or service will visit a store or set up an appointment that day. Being close to a sale and then missing out because of a poor local search presence can be detrimental to a local business.
How to Set Up a Google My Business Profile
Filling out Google My Business is really just about as easy as filling out a survey. You need to claim your business, and then fill out basically any information that that you would think of if researching a local business. Complete the entire profile as possible, because those questions are asked for a reason. Google is trying to make it as easy as possible for customers to find businesses that fit their needs, so the more information, the better.
Some of information required for a Google My Business Listing include
- Name, Address, Phone Number
- Delivery area (if applicable)
- Business address
- Business type (also known as category)
Not only is it recommended to fill out this information yourself, but it can be pretty costly if you ignore it. Google actually allows for anyone to suggest an edit to a business listing, so a competitor can make some changes for you that probably won’t look all that great. There is no approval process really, as these are user-generated changes. That means they go live, sometimes without notification. That is why it is important to stay on top of everything once you have it set up.
After you have everything filled out, you will be required to verify your listing. This just ensures that you are the rightful owner of this listing and you are not a competitor or someone looking to spam the search engines. Verification is easy and can usually be done via a phone call or text message.
How to Use Google My Business
After having Google My Business set up for a while, you can really have some fun with it and treat it like a social media page in a lot of ways. There are Google My Business Posts available, where owners can post updates, upcoming events, sales and more. There is even an option to add pictures, which always goes well for online business listings. No one wants to just read a huge block of text.
It is recommended to add photos of your location including photos of your exterior and interior to really give customers a feel for where they are going. You wouldn’t want a customer to miss out on stopping into your business because they couldn’t spot it from the outside.
Also, seek out reviews from current customer and past customers. Having a fully optimized listing with a lot of reviews will help your listing stand out rank better than competitors.
A cool, final tip I’ll leave my readers with is that, Google has recently announced that they are allowing for emoji searches. That means, simply sending a pizza emoji can bring up the local shops in the area. Want to be on the cutting edge with your local business? Include a few relevant emojis to your posts and profile. Just don’t overdo it or you will come off as trying too hard to fit in.
So, Should Your Local Business Use Google My Business?
Absolutely! Google My Business also provides insights so you can track online actions traffic from your listing including clicks to website, clicks to calls from your phone number, and direction requests from your listing among many other insights.
If you are not using Google My Business you are losing out on a lot of potential foot traffic into your store or business. Local business is far from dead and Google My Business can be just the tool your business needs to thrive in today’s competitive marketplace.