When it comes to successful marketing strategies, you must first choose the right “tools” for this purpose and understand how to use them properly.
For local businesses, one of the best tools you have is Google My Business.
But first, let’s answer two short questions:
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) is a free, easy-to-use tool that helps businesses manage their online presence, Google search, and Google Maps.
If you’ve ever looked up a business name, you’ll often see the GMB ‘s dashboard, a card that contains important customers who want to know about the local businesses that come first.
If you are mobile, it will often be the top result before the organic results.
If you’re off the computer again, it will appear right to the organic and advertised search result.
As you can see, the info card displays tons of valuable information that customers will want to know such as:
- Company name
- Type of business
- Opening hours
- Phone number
- Link to the site
- Connect to Google Maps
- Overall star rating
- Popular times to visit
- Related searches
- And more
With a quick glance, you can learn a lot about a business and decide whether or not you want to visit it.
This is the important tool that gives you: the ability to provide customers with enough data about your business, this way you help them determine if they want to deal with it.
Why should you care about Google My Business?
The benefits of Google My Business are threefold:
1. Increased search visibility
2. Better shopping experience for customers
3. More traffic to your site and social media
A GMB optimized page helps Google understand more about your business: who you are, what services / products you sell, where you are and what your site is (so they can crawl more information).
The more Google knows about your business, the more types of searches may appear in the GMB list.
In most cases, when people type in your business name, it displays your information table alongside the site links (if you did not try it, add your site to the search).
However, when Google knows more about what you do and market, it can help match other types of search queries. the most valuable of these is Google’s 3-Pack.
Can we finally go ahead and talk about these 5 tips? Yes, we can.
- Fill in your business information and add a description
If you have a local business, I hope you have at least updated your business name, address, phone number, opening hours and business category.
Have you ever looked for a local business on the map, seen it open, driven there just to find the business closed? Me yes!
How would that make you feel about this business? At best, it would make a bad impression on you, right?
The expected reaction would be to turn to their competitor.
And if you have a strong sense of justice, maybe you would call to let them know you were there, leave and then turn somewhere else to serve you.
Next time you would probably double check all the seemingly boring information on the Google My Business page and cross-check it with the information on your site. Make sure your business data is consistent.
This is not a tip, it’s exactly what everyone should already be doing.
1. Now you can add descriptions about your business
Previously at GMB, the most notable way to inform Google and users about your business was through the Google My Business Category list, which has more than 2,300 options.
However, this does not always provide enough information, especially if you have a niche business.
A friend of mine owns a local shoe, pants and e-commerce boutique. It sells products for parents and their children, such as cloth diapers, cloth diaper accessories, and very good quality baby products and toys. When he went to fill in the GMB information, he came across a problem: there was no category for products like cloth diapers, not even one with diapers.
The baby store is the closest, but still not the right category.
It is especially difficult when you can not communicate to buyers who exactly you are and what you are really marketing.
This problem was solved with the descriptions. Google now gives you 750 characters (~ 250 characters before the “Read More” separator) to describe your products, services, value, or anything else you want to communicate to your audience.
I suggest you fully use each character, with a description between 730-750 characters. Each sentence, phrase, word, character gives the buyer more information about your business and more.
Descriptions also improve Google search rankings.
Just as you are able to better communicate who your customers are, you can tell Google this information so that they can rank you in more searches.
If you have not yet added a description for your business, you may need to seriously consider doing so now.
- Upload more images of better quality
Businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for directions to their site from Google users and 35% more clicks to their site than businesses that do not have photos.
Take as an example that you want to buy some jewelry from a local jeweler. A jeweler’s GMB listing only displays their showcase, logo, and Google Street View. How likely is it that you will drive there just by looking at these photos?
On the other hand if you could see pictures of their showroom, products and photos of sellers you may come across, it would give you more confidence to get there, right?
If you sell products, show them in the GMB listing.
Take indoor photos of your office / showroom. Also use exterior photos of your building so buyers know which building is yours. Upload your team photos so people know who they will be looking for when they visit you. Make your space and staff look familiar to your customers.
If you have a restaurant, ask users to tag your photos on Instagram and Facebook. Why not the GMB?
Customers who have had a pleasant shopping experience from companies, often become “fans” of these brands. So give them such an experience and it is very likely that they will promote your brand and advertise you for free, adding photos to the GMB page, tagging your business on social media, leaving positive reviews and much more.
If you have users who share photos, do not forget to separate these photos, sorting them by the name “Images from Customers”.
You may also find pictures you need to remove:
- Images that were posted by mistake and have nothing to do with the business
- Poor quality images that you do not want to represent the business
- Images that may be offensive or should remain private
- Respond to all reviews
The reviews on your GMB page can be crucial as to whether or not a buyer will choose your brand. Just look at some of these consumer reviews statistics:
- 97% of consumers searched local businesses online in 2017
- 85% of consumers trust online reviews as well as personal recommendations
- Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more
- 68% of consumers left a review on a business when asked
- 30% of consumers say they have judged a business based on their responses to reviews
When people decide on a purchase they always look at the opinions of others about the products they are going to buy. We all do it and we do it often. We want to learn from the experiences of those who bought before us.
Based on these, always respond to your reviews. Positive reviews give a good picture of your business.
But what about the inevitable 1 star rating and negative reviews? Many companies avoid answering, hoping that they will go unnoticed or even worse, end up participating in a public speech contest behind the screen. This is not good for anyone. Certainly not for the other potential customers.
- Use public posts to promote events, promotions and new content
In June 2017, Google introduced Google Posts for Business. Before Google Posts, if you wanted to share content, you had to do it on your site or social media. Now, though, you can display content in Google search and maps in your business info panel.
The type of content I am referring to is:
- Blog articles
- Company news
- Upcoming events
- Special offers
- Promotion of products
Really, you can publish everything you want buyers to know about your brand, products and services.
If you’re not already convinced about the impact that Google Posts can have on your audience, see this excerpt from Google:
“70% of people look at a lot of companies before making a final choice. With posts, you can share timely, relevant updates directly on Google Search and Maps to help your business stand out from potential customers. And by adding custom invitations to action directly to your business listing, choosing how to connect with your customers. ”
- Upload video
There is no better way to attract, interact and communicate with your customers than using video.
It is no longer something new in marketing. It is a powerful weapon for any business, necessary for its development. If you’ve already shared some marketing videos, why not upload one to your Google My Business page.
The ability to post videos on the GMB page, just started last January 2018. So it is still relatively new. Which means it’s about to be the most delusional time of the year, as well.
There are two ways to view your video with Google My Business:
- Upload photos (after clicking the “upload” button, it will ask you if you want to upload photos or videos)
- Upload videos as a post
One problem I have noticed with posting videos this way is that they do not always go to the top of the page (which I think should). Also sometimes, the image is “hidden” in the photo album (unless you click on it). Fortunately, as you scroll through a company’s GMB photos, the videos will automatically grab your attention.
The maximum duration of a video should not exceed 30 seconds, but I have seen clients upload videos up to 90 seconds without any problems.
Post videos as posts
There is another way to promote your videos through GMB without “hiding” them between the images. You can upload a video as a post. You can even upload a video in the form of a Google post and view it directly on your GMB card.
So quickly get some of the videos you already have and upload them to the GMB page. It only takes a few minutes and can be the deciding factor in whether the buyer chooses you or your competitor.