Google My Business is a simple yet powerful tool that gives local business owners the opportunity to have their company information shown on Google search results.
Though you might not have heard of it, you're guaranteed to have used it before.
Picture this: You're ready to order takeout, but you don't know the restaurant's contact information off the top of your head. You turn to Google. Enter in the restaurant's name and... Voilà! A widget appears to the right of all Google search results, conveniently packaging the restaurant's physical address, phone number, photos of its food, and website URL. That my friends, is a Google My Business profile.
Aside from it making the customer's life 10x easier, what makes Google My Business so great from the business owner's perspective?
There are many benefits of having a Google My Business account- from the ability to be found easier by customers and potential clients, to being able to promote specials and other business news. But none of this is done automatically. In order for your Google My Business account to work for you, it’s important that you use it to the best of your advantage by making the most of the available features.
Whether you've got a Google My Business account already and are looking to make the most of it, or you haven't even begun setting yours up yet- this blog is for you. In this blog, we'll cover the basics to getting started, and then dive a bit deeper into how exactly you can take full advantage of all that Google My Business has to offer.
In 3... 2... 1....
What is Google My Business?
Let's start from the top.
Google My Business, also known as a Google Business Profile, is a feature that gives business owners the opportunity to be found more easily by customers and potential clients through Google search. It's a tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, in a way that is simple yet effective. But, like any tool, you get out what you put in. In order for your Google Business Profile to be successful, it’s important that you fill out all of the necessary business information.
Getting started with Google My Business
Now that you understand what Google My Business is, and a little about how it can help your business, let's explore how to get started. In this section, we'll start with what's necessary to create your profile, and then go into how to go above and beyond and make it shine.
Here's what you must have to hit the ground running with Google My Business.
A Verified Business Name
One of the first and most necessary steps to getting started with your My Business Profile is verifying your business. This means proving to Google that you are the owner of the business, and the verification process is typically done via traditional mail.
In the process of setting up your profile, Google will send a physical postcard to the business' address you provide. Once you receive the postcard, you'll complete the verification process online by entering the valid verification code from the postcard.
Once this is complete, you're verified and good to move forward with completing your GMB profile!
Primary Business Category
Displaying your business category gives clients a brief yet clear insight into who you are, and what you can do for them. For example, if you run a digital marketing company, but your primary service* is web design, you'd select 'web design' to be displayed on your GMB profile. This helps viewers instantly determine whether or not you'll have what they're looking for.
*You are also able to list all of your services on your GMB profile, but your business category should be representative of your most prominent one. Think of the umbrella term for what you do, and go with that!
Your Website URL
Having your website URL linked to your Google Business Profile makes everyone's lives easier. Ensure your website URL is accurate and in its simplest form. This gives viewers quick and easy access to working with you.
Above and Beyond
Now that you've got the basics down, let's elevate your profile and help it stand out from the rest.
Having updated photos of your staff, products, and environment is an excellent way to connect with potential clients almost instantly through GMB. Ensure your profile is updated with high-quality photos, and continue to refresh this as needed over time.
List Your Services
Adding all services listed on your website to your Google Business Profile is perhaps one of the most simple yet effective ways to optimize it. Tagging your services and even products if you have them is an excellent way to give potential clients a detailed list of what specifically you have to offer.
Once you've established your profile, it's important to keep it up to date as you evolve as a brand over time. Here are a few key ways to keep on top of your Google Business Profile over time.
Update Necessary Information
If you change addresses, phone numbers, websites, or business hours- it is extremely important to update this on your Google My Business Profile. You can do this via desktop or the Google My Business app. Having the most up-to-date business information on your website will save you stress later on.
Respond to Reviews
Responding to all customer reviews (yes, the good and the bad) is an excellent way to show the world you take customer service seriously, and value feedback. Reviews, and replies to reviews, heavily influence potential customers deciding who to give their business to. Make sure you’re showing that you genuinely care by keeping up with your review replies!
How to Reach Google My Business’ Full Potential
Now that your Google My Business page is all up to speed, here are some basic tips to note to keep it in top condition moving forward.
Use Google My Business Posts
Google My Business listings also include a micro-blogging component, known as 'business posts'. A post in Google My Business gives business owners the opportunity to share sales, featured products, special offers, and more. Posts last for 7 days on the Google Business listing, and they can be a lot of fun to make!
Google My Business Post Ideas
Here are some ideas for potential GMB posts to help your business get the ball rolling.
- Showcase a recent project that you’re really proud of
- Share a recent link to a relevant blog post with an image and text preview
- Showcase recent awards won
- Share updates on new services offered as you continue to evolve
- Share current job openings
Be sure to finish off each post with a CTA & you’re golden!
Set Up Messaging
Lastly, setting up the messaging feature on your Google Business Profile is a great way to communicate with customers who are looking for answers, but don't want to call. If you’d like to set up messaging for simple communication with customers, you can select the “Customer” card from the Google My Business Home menu, and type your mobile phone number.
Google My Business is an essential tool for the digital marketing toolbelt of any business owner, and it’s important to take full advantage of it. If you haven't already taken the time to create your My Business Profile and optimize it for success, we hope we've convinced you to take the leap!
If you've got general questions, or are looking for a professional team to audit and optimize your digital marketing strategy- get in touch today! We look forward to hearing from you.