What is Google My Business?
Isn’t that when someone searches for my business on Google? Not quite.
Google My Business is an incredibly powerful tool provided by Google, to you, for free. When somebody is looking for the service/product you provide, they’re searching on Google.
You’ve seen the effects of Google My Business in your day-to-day life. That restaurant you were checking out for date night last weekend. That store where you didn’t know the closing time. That search for “best arcade bars near me.” You’ve reaped the benefits of Google My Business. Google My Business has led you in the right direction, sometimes quite literally. (Google Maps, anyone?)
When you’ve searched, you’ve found. And when you weren’t sure, you were influenced.
You? Influenced? Yep!
When you searched, you found what you were looking for and more. That “more” is what created a good experience from the beginning. You found the restaurant, and you also found its reviews. You found the time it closes. You found the menu. You found pictures that made that french onion soup look like it was pulled right out of Julia Child’s oven, so you ordered it. And it was good. So good. Thanks, GMB.
Why Do I Need Google My Business?
You want people to have a wonderful experience with your business from beginning to end. You want them to understand what your business does instantly & make them NEED to interact with you. Think of it like a virtual storefront except instead of only seeing what you offer; they can see your credibility, pictures, everything… They can gain complete trust in you before they even set foot in your door.
With Google My Business, you are feeding directly into Google’s opinion of you, which is why you need to make sure everything Google knows about you is accurate.
Take control of your Google My Business. If you don’t, you’re literally missing out on one of the most useful tools to get found by new customers. You’re handing over everything you know and love about your business to complete strangers. You’re removing yourself from the equation, and that’s a huge no-no.
If you’re not speaking out on behalf of your business, then anyone, and I do mean anyone, can. Do you want someone’s first impression of you to be a blurry picture of the sidewalk outside your business? Because that happens, and you don’t deserve that. (Though, you might if you don’t start utilizing these free marketing tools.)
How Do I Start Using Google My Business?
Google My Business holds enormous power. And to harness that power, you must take responsibility.
- Add your business to Google. If it already exists on Google, claim it. There will be a verification process via the postal service that will give you the control over the listing.
- From there, the most important things are excellent information and accuracy. The more truths people know about your business before they get there, the better. You can set a standard from the minute someone sees your name.
Google My Business also creates a link between you and potential customers. It breaks down a digital barrier. It gives you the chance to interact with customers: past, present, and future.
The Google Business Profile
Google offers a little social window through your Google Business Profile. A Google Business profile is like Google’s version of a social media platform for business owners to connect with customers.
Like Facebook or Twitter, you can post statuses, pictures, store updates, or even special deals, right on your Google page. This is such a useful feature because it is one thing about your Google listing you have complete control over. It’s a direct message to your potential customer. If they have gotten this far in their search, this is your moment to sell them on why they should be using your business. Take advantage of that unfiltered peek into your business.
Did I mention that the more up-to-date you keep your Google Business Profile, the higher you rank in Google searches? Yeah, get to posting.
Google Maps Marketing
“I’m going to put my name on the map!” We’ve heard it in every melodramatic coming-of-age film, but they’re actually onto something.
Google Maps is such a useful app. Not just because it can help you get from point A to point B, but because you can market there, too.
“Google Maps Marketing? You’re totally kidding, right?” Nope!
It’s a location-based strategy.
You always want your business to be out there. You never know when a potential customer is right around the corner (and they may not either if they’re using Google Maps.) This is why it’s crucial to use Google My Business to get on Google Maps.
Proximity searches are very real. Google is going to tell you what’s nearby, whether you want it to or not. You need your Google My Business account to be full of information, reviews, and pictures, so you show up when someone Googles “xyz near me.”
Any questions about your location, whether it be your physical location, the areas you service, location verification…get those things filled out. Make sure they are correct. A location-based strategy that works is based on accuracy.
How Customers Find You Through Google
We don’t typically encourage putting yourself in a box, but with Google My Business, make sure you slap yourself into some relevant categories.
Whether it’s the kind of service you offer, the environment of your business, the age range you cater to, the accessibility options you provide, or just the little perks that up your atmosphere; mention them.
GMB gets very particular when it comes to the attributes of businesses. There’s an option for everything (or as close to everything as possible.) Pick several that are relevant and don’t put yourself in categories you don’t belong to. Choose the ones you think are the most important to mention to someone who has no clue what your rhyme or reason is yet.
To get an idea, here are some attributes to think about:
- Do you have a wheelchair accessible restroom?
- Can my dog hangout at your store?
- Should I be finding a babysitter, or is your business kid-friendly?
- Should we wear our nice clothes?
- Do you accept Monopoly money?
- If I only speak Mandarin, are you able to cater to me?
There are many more attributes your business may have. Just pick the ones that mean the most to you and your potential customers.
Even if your business is 100% online, it’s important to point out the things you cater to. This is what will bring you up in searches properly.
SEO & Google My Business
Google is always keeping score. With Google My Business, you want to make sure you’re feeding the internet enough relevant content to give your business the extra lift it needs to be noticed.
The higher you rank in Google searches the more often your business will be shown. Use keywords throughout all your social channels as well as on your Google My Business Profile.
Cohesiveness is something we preach often because it’s so crucial when it comes to being noticed online. Keeping everything where it needs to be is a task in and of itself.
The 6-Step Google My Business Game Plan
Keep the content coming. Encourage reviews. Answer questions. Post pictures. Post updates & offers. Keep your information current. The little things add up over time, as cliche as it sounds. Always remember your CTA (Call to Actions)
Choose your category. When you tell Google what kind of business you have, they’ll give you some features specific to your industry for customers to use. For example, restaurants or hotels can add a reservation feature. Graphic designers can highlight their expertise with book covers or websites. Keep it to the point so you’re only showing up in relevant searches. (Ah, there’s that word again. Relevancy. Such a simple concept. So, so important.) Those attributes we mentioned earlier? Those are icing on the category cupcake.
Tell people what they want to know. This might sound like a no-brainer but give people the information they need to know and leave out the B.S. Give them answers to questions they haven’t asked yet & make em’ as accurate as possible. From your Google listing alone a potential customer should be able to find your website, phone number, and hours of operation without any hiccups.
Be consistent. Relevancy & consistency. These are the two most important things in digital marketing because you’re talking to people while also trying to get algorithms to notice you. The tiniest details should be consistent across your platforms. I’m talking down to abbreviations. Otherwise, Google’s algorithm will mark it as a content discrepancy & knock you down a few pegs. There’s power in detail.
Quality photos. We’re all guilty of seeing a pretty picture and thinking “I want that.” Whether it’s a picture of someone’s nice new house, or a snapshot of a picnic by the lake, or a photo of S’mores cheesecake with a toasted marshmallow ice cream and a caramel drizzle. You can see it now.And if you could actually see it now, you might be in your car already headed to that place to get yours. Good pictures are your motivators. They aren’t necessarily a call to action, but they’re damn near close. There are few things that push people into action quicker than quality photos.Visual stimulation creates such an intense appeal that you might get a new customer from 1 single high quality photo. Use pictures that are REAL. Leave the extra posed pictures for your website. The people looking at your business on Google will be more receptive to images that show your business for what your business is. Since users can post pictures as well, make sure you’re posting your own quality photos at least once a week so the good stuff doesn’t get bogged down.
Engage. I’ve said it once; I’ll say it 100 more times. Engage with people. Answer questions. Offer useful information. Say thank you. Be grateful! Keep it relevant. Stay consistent.
Gravity Junction is a marketing agency that knows all of the little things you need to make a BIG impact. We cover the front-end & the back-end to ensure that your brand’s online presence is connected, allowing your customers to connect with you. Deeply.