While you may have developed an excellent marketing strategy with a strong focus on social media optimization and diverse marketing, overlooking the importance of optimizing your Google My Business listing is a big faux pas that could cause your metrics to plummet.
So what exactly is Google My Business?
It’s a free online tool for organizations and businesses to help them manage their online presence through Google, among Google properties such as Google Maps and Google Search.
Basically, it helps customers find your business and helps you tell them your business’s story. To make your listing more legitimate, you can even verify your Google My Business listing.
With over 90% of Americans owning a cell phone, tapping into the depths of online directories has become one of the easiest ways to boost audience reach, engagement, and retention.
Let’s look at it this way:
- Are you constantly on the lookout for new restaurants to try with your beau or family?
- Do you jump at the thought of stumbling upon unique tech-savvy products that make your life easier?
- Does the thought of coming across an affordable and trendy local online clothing store make you grin from ear to ear?
- If you answered at least one of these questions in the affirmative, Google My Business has already impacted your life for the better.
- If you’ve ever sought out a business that can help you meet your needs on Google, Google My Business has helped you find that business.
- Like you, the majority of American consumers are actively seeking modern solutions to their needs—both consciously and subconsciously.
- And let’s face it—nobody wants to crank open the yellow pages to find businesses that offer their desired products or services.
This is where Google My Business steps in.
By creating a profile laden with operating information and engaging text, photo, and video posts, businesses can give customers exactly what they’re looking for—and more.
With over 97% of U.S. consumers using online platforms to shop locally, Google My Business is the most popular and effective online tool for businesses to leverage in 2020.
But how do you kick things off?
Start by creating a Google My Business Account To Optimize For Greater Brand Visibility
Each month, Google receives:
- Over 5 million searches for restaurants
- Approximately 3 billion searches for hotels
- 1 billion searches for clothing shops
- Close to 600 million searches for cosmetic salons (hair, nails, makeup, skincare, and more)
- 5 million searches for coffee shops
As the most popular, efficient, and easy-to-use search platform across the globe, Google offers businesses a plethora of opportunities to make their presence felt among consumers.
So give your brand visibility by getting on the map!
You can claim your business by creating a Google My Business listing.
We also recommend linking your profile to your Google Ads account to increase engagement on your ads. Once you’re done, your profile will show up whenever users run local search queries.
A study conducted by Google revealed that 50% of users who searched for a local business on their smartphone visited the store within a day. As you optimize your Google My Business profile, your business will begin to climb SERPs, thereby helping you reach a wider audience.
Despite this incredible advantage, over 56% of local retailers haven’t claimed their free Google My Business listing. If your business is part of this percentage, it may be time to give your brand the boost it deserves by creating an engaging, informative, and creative listing.
Include the following information:
- Phone Number
- Business Hours
- Types of Payment Accepted
- Frequently Asked Questions
Not only will an updated and relevant online listing help your business attract new customers, but it’ll also enhance credibility, reputability, and authenticity.
This will allow you to retain old customers and solidify your customer base, thereby boosting business metrics.
We also recommend applying for verification to utilize all the tools available on the GMB dashboard and enhance visibility across Google Search and Maps.
Increase local traffic by ensuring NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) consistency across your Google My Business profile, website, and social media platforms.
The consistency will add an air of professionalism to your business while helping users find accurate information across all digital platforms.
For instance, if your number is listed without area codes or prefixes (e.g., 1-800)on your website, it’s essential that your Google My Business page follows the same format.
Listing accuracy also establishes trust, making customers feel more inclined toward completing a transaction with certain businesses. Imagine opening a brand’s Google My Business page, only to be confronted with inconsistent information, informal writing, and slipshod uppercase and lowercase usage.
The informality is very likely to put you off and compel you to browse further until you find a competitor that may not have an equally impressive range of products but offers a seamless and professional Google My Business profile.
While these details may seem negligible, they have a transformative—albeit subconscious—effect on the consumer buying process.
Make Your Listing Stand Out From the Crowd by Using Local SEO Services for Optimization
Struggling to get more traffic from local visitors? It may be time to optimize your Google My Business account by recruiting help from local SEO services.
Digital marketing companies are equipped with years of expertise and the latest insights into organic Google My Business optimization, social media marketing, and lead generation. Not only will their cutting-edge marketing strategies help you climb SERPs, but you’ll also notice an improvement in key performance indicators.
Request Customer Reviews and Actively Respond to Them
Research indicates that over 91% of potential consumers read online reviews. Out of this, approximately 84% trust this information.
It goes without saying that customer reviews are a great way to increase brand reputability while doubling or tripling sales!
Leverage Google My Business by requesting reviews from your customers. You can do this by sending them a link via email or text. We also recommend actively responding to reviews—both positive and negative! Here’s how you could express your gratitude for a positive review:
Hi! Thank you for your feedback, [customer’s name]! We’re thrilled that you enjoyed our products/services. We look forward to delivering more quality products/services in the future and hope to see you again soon! It’s customers like you that keep us going. Hope you have a great day and continue to share your feedback with us in the future.
Not only will each customer feel individually appreciated, but they’ll also establish a virtual connection with the brand, thereby continuing to rely on their products/services. While you may feel compelled to leave negative reviews unanswered, responding to them in a diplomatic and reassuring manner is a great way to make things right.
Here’s a glimpse of how you could go about it:
Hi, [customer’s name]! We’re so sorry our products/services didn’t meet your expectations. While our product/service is great for normal skin, it can irritate sensitive or eczematic skin. Our product/service is a great alternative that’ll recalibrate your skin’s pH while promoting a fresh and rejuvenating glow. If you’d like to return your product/service, please get in touch with our customer service team, and we’ll process a replacement or return right away! Keep us in the loop so we can suggest the best-suited products/services for your skin type and ensure you have a great experience this time around!
Tact? Check. Excellent customer service? Double check!
Smart, empathetic, interactive, and remedial responses will undo the damage while highlighting positive Google My Business reviews. This practice will create healthy engagement on your page while making customers feel heard and properly tended to.
We recommend maintaining professionalism and courteousness to ensure customer satisfaction instead of driving away potential customers. When done right, healthy engagement will increase local traffic and help consumers feel safe and assured about proceeding with a purchase.
Make the Most of the Platform’s External Features
Leverage Google My Business to get your company on the radar by utilizing the platform’s external features. For instance, Google recently unveiled a new feature for service area businesses.
By keeping an eye out for new developments, you’ll manage to boost metrics and increase local traffic.
In addition, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a new announcement that requests businesses to update their information—especially new hours of operations owing to the global quarantine.
This established the importance of visiting the official Google My Business update page for the latest developments so you can optimize your page while complying with the requirements.
Create Engaging, Creative, and Compelling Posts That Leave a Lasting Impression
Google My Business posts are easily one of the best ways to connect with your audience and increase sales. Post engaging, creative, compelling, and original content to captivate your audience. Not only will this help regular customers continue to return to your business, but it’ll also engage new customers.
In addition, satisfied customers are very likely to indirectly promote your business to their friends and family through word of mouth. Whether you highlight a new clothing line with rich, high-quality images or showcase a recent launch or event with an engaging video, your page will garner more traction, thereby increasing local traffic and helping your business climb the SERP.
Google recently revealed that businesses with images receive 42% more requests for directions to the outlet and 35% more clicks than brands with low-quality or no images.
We recommend uploading a captivating profile photo and cover photo. In addition, share powerful text, image, and video posts on a regular or semi-regular basis—including content that captures the storefront, interior aesthetic ambiance, products/services, and customers having a great time.
Whether you showcase business colleagues diving into a delectable brunch or capture a middle-aged couple treating themselves to a relaxing couples massage at your luxurious spa, you’ll manage to engage audiences and increase clicks!
Don’t forget to ask for photographing consent before you embark on your photography adventure, though.
Hire a professional photographer to ensure heartwarming and exuberant images that make customers feel excited about trying your products/services! You can also share GIFs and make the most of Google My Business’ call-to-action button.
Strike the perfect balance between engaging a range of audiences. We recommend focusing on millennials because of their unparalleled technology use compared to other generations.
Regularly Visit and Update Your Page
Thinking of creating a Google My Business account, only to abandon it within a few weeks? You may want to rethink that.
One of the most effective ways to leverage Google My Business is being consistent and investing a little bit of hard work that’s bound to go a long way. In addition, leaving your page unattended could prevent you from getting back to negative reviews and strengthen your brand identity.
Review your listing on a frequent basis to update information, share engaging posts, respond to customer reviews, and answer FAQs.
By answering pending questions and interacting with your audience, Google will process your listing as operational, thereby helping it show up in search results.
We also recommend posting on a frequent basis as Google My Business posts disappear after seven days. To ensure interactivity with new customers who may not have engaged with previous posts, produce fresh, timely, and hyper-specific content.
Engaging and SEO-Friendly Description
Imagine coming across your favorite home furnishing store only to be let down by a bleak description that offers little to no information. While your eclectic bohemian rug may have sparked joy, a drab description could be enough to leave a sour taste in your mouth that may alter your buying habits.
Customers are always seeking fresh, engaging, and invigorating content that informs them without making them doze off.
To attract audiences while boosting metrics, we recommend writing a witty, informative, and SEO-friendly description. Keep things short and fun to prevent consumers from losing interest—which is very likely since Microsoft revealed that the average attention span has dropped from 12 to 8 seconds.
Incorporate keywords that online searchers actively use. Not only will this increase local traffic, but it’ll also help customers find exactly what they’re looking for. Your listing may not even qualify for the top searches by virtue of its irrelevance.
Keep your description snappy, exciting, and SEO-friendly to ensure it shows up on Google Maps and helps customers find your location.
In short, your description should abide by the following rules:
- No URLs/links
- Focus on how your business stands out from the competition
- Avoid keyword stuffing at all costs
- Avoid adopting a heavily promotional tone
- Including a phone number/email address is acceptable
- Win customers over with ingenuity, wit, humor, and a concise yet compelling description!
Actively Track and Learn From Google My Business Insights and Google Analytics
Use Google My Business insights and Google Analytics to track demographics and audience reach, engagement, and retention reports, among many others!
This information will help you fine-tune your SEO strategy and get more traffic from local visitors. In addition, the insights will serve as a powerful indicator of how you can boost your revenue, improve rankings, and generate more sales.
Closely track your customers’ conversion path for an understanding of their preferences to concurrently tweak your marketing strategy.
Use the Platform to Actively Interact With Your Customers
Google My Business messaging is a powerful tool that helps businesses interact with their customers and establish a strong connection that goes beyond review interactivity. Customers can easily ask you a question by clicking on the message icon on your listing.
Yes, it’s as easy as that!
Make the most of this feature by actively responding to queries, positive feedback, and constructive criticism. Google cleverly tracks average response time to help customers determine your response rate in advance.
Add a welcome message prior to engaging in the conversation to prevent leaving customers in a state of limbo. As an excellent way of promoting business transparency and boosting reputability, this feature will help your brand gain greater recognition and make its way to the top of search results!
You can also use posts to your advantage in order to promote events, offers, discounts, and content. You can essentially have this new information appear on Google Maps and Google Search within your business knowledge panel.