Google My Business is the modern Yellow Pages.
In years past, when someone needed a product or service, they’d flip through the local phone book. Today, the first place people go is… drumroll, please… Google!
Yes, people use other search engines like Bing or DuckDuckGo, but Google still dominates the search engine space with a market share of over 73%.
Say you’re renovating your kitchen and need new countertops. Most people are going to hop on their smartphone, open their web browser, and type in something like “countertops near me.”
What happens next could dictate whether your shop gets their business.
What Is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool for businesses to manage their online Google presence. It’s a great tool, particularly for businesses that serve a local market. When someone types your business name in Google’s search engine, ideally, your GMB listing would show up in the top right-hand corner.
There, potential customers can call you, request directions, read Google reviews, and even visit your website all from one convenient place.
You’ve probably interacted with a Google My Business profile before, perhaps without realizing it. Let’s pick on the folks up at Precision Countertops in Portland and check out their GMB listing.
Does this look pretty familiar? This is a Google My Business listing. At the top, we can see quick links to get to the website, request directions, and save the business. We see the address, Google reviews, hours of operation, and the phone number.
The rest of the GMB listing houses more important information, such as the products you offer, questions and answers from customers, your company story, and more.
Anyone can suggest edits, and if you don’t currently have access to your own listing, you’d click “Manage this listing.”
That’s right – it’s possible that even if you’ve never heard of Google My Business, your business may already have a listing.
Google aggregates information from third parties, but that doesn’t mean the information they have is correct. If you don’t manage your listing, you’re missing out on a massive marketing opportunity that costs you virtually nothing.
Do I really need a Google My Business listing?
As a locally-owned countertop operation, the customers in your city are likely Googling you or what you do as the first step of the research process. The top results that show up on Google are likely going to set the precedent for the company they choose for countertop installation.
A great listing is often their first impression of your business. In fact, “businesses that verify their information with Google My Business are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers”.
In addition, businesses that add photos to their Business Profiles receive 42% more requests for directions on Google Maps, and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t.
Verifying your GMB information and adding a few photos takes less than an hour, and your listing is free.
Google explains there are four main things a GMB listing can do for your business:
- Attract new potential customers – for free
- Learn more about how people interact with your profile
- Communicate with your audience
- Build brand loyalty
Simply having a GMB listing is a great first step, and if you can dedicate a little bit of time to making it great, you have a wonderful marketing tool at your fingertips.
Manage Your Google My Business Listing
As we previously mentioned, if a listing already exists and you want to manage it, claim it! If someone else happens to own it, you’ll need to request ownership.
If no listing exists, create a Business Profile on Google’s Business platform. From there, you’d sign into your Google account and get started.
Make sure you or the person helping you has the following information at the ready:
- Business Name
- Business Address
- Phone Number
- Website URL
- Business Category
Make sure your business information is consistent across the board. Your NAP (Name, Address, Phone) needs to be identical everywhere if you want to rank well in organic search results.
For example, if your website says 123 Pine St but your business listing says 123 Pine Street, it’ll hurt your ability to rank. Make sure your NAP is consistent!
Verifying Your Business
Once you’re done editing your listing, you’ll need to verify that you’re the genuine representative of the business.
To do that, you can verify by postcard, phone, email, or Google Search Console. All of this will be explained when you complete the process, and it’s very easy.
Make the Most of Your Google My Business Listing
Once you have your Google My Business page set up, you can:
- Respond to reviews
- Include information about your offerings and services
- Track metrics that are the most important to you
You can also manage your hours of operation and include important updates like holiday hours or coronavirus updates.
This is an example of how you can use your GMB listing to edit your business hours and make important updates. Because of COVID-19, Jellyrolls is closed until further notice. They can communicate that information easily with customers through Google.
In general, Google My Business is a great way to communicate announcements, offers, and key information about your business with customers in your area.
View Your Insights
When you’re all set up and are logged into your account, you’ll see something called Insights. This gives you information about how people find your business online.
Here are some questions you might ask that Insights can help answer:
- Where are users coming from?
- How many people have visited our website from our GMB listing?
- How many people have called us from our listing?
- What are some common words or phrases that lead people to our profile?
- How are our posts performing with potential customers?
Example of one of the reports found in Google My Business Insights
While this data doesn’t paint a full picture, it does give you some insight – pun intended – into how your visitors are interacting with you online.
Keep Your Listing Up-to-Date
While there are elements of your listing that won’t change, like your website URL and phone number, some things need to be constantly updated. That includes:
- Business hours
Your GMB listing is like your digital storefront. You want your “window display” to be fresh and current with the season.
Businesses with photos get 42% more direction requests (Google). Posting regularly allows you to showcase new slabs, great employees, and special offers.
You can create the following types of posts in 2020:
- COVID-19 support
- COVID-19 update
- Add Offer
- Add Update
- Add Event
Finally, keeping your business hours up-to-date is obviously helpful, but it also lets your visitors know you’re active. It leaves a good impression.
You can edit your regular hours and hours for holidays right from your GMB profile.
Communicate With Your Audience
Your Google My Business listing offers up several ways to communicate with visitors and customers.
Responding to reviews – both positive and negative – is important. You want to thank customers who leave you 5 stars, and you want to address those 1 and 2-star reviews.
Whether it’s an unfounded negative review or not, responding in a calm and collected manner will give others an impression of your brand. Oftentimes, people choose to do business with a company based on how they respond to negative feedback!
According to data cited by Search Engine Journal, 82% of shoppers seek out negative reviews. Those same shoppers provide an 85% increase in conversion rate. Negative reviews – and how you handle them – can actually boost your reputation and increase sales.
Another way to connect with your audience using GMB is with Messaging. Visitors can send you messages, and once you download the Google My Business app, you can respond right from your smartphone.
People can also ask questions on your listing, and your answers can not only help that individual but everyone else who views that question and answer.
Download the Google My Business App
The GMB website is helpful when you make changes on a desktop computer or laptop, but the smartphone app is a must-have. You’ll be immediately notified when you get a review, you can turn on messaging, and you can make simple changes and updates right from your smartphone.
Just open the app, make the edit, and you’re done.
As a local business, having an online presence is essential for gaining digital recognition. When someone does a Google search for “countertop shop near me,” you want to show up at the top of the results!
Setting up and maintaining a great Google My Business listing is the fastest, easiest way to boost your online presence without spending a dime.
Do you have a Google My Business listing?
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