Think about the last time you were looking to find a barber or try a new restaurant in town.
We bet that the first place you turned to for answers was Google.
In fact, 94.4% of people in the U.S conduct their mobile searches through Google, accounting for 11.74 billion search queries as of July of this year.
Imagine if there was a way your ideal client conducted a local search, using a keyword related to your business, and you appeared in the search results.
Once you popped up, your potential client was able to see everything from your products and services to reviews and even book an appointment with you.
You can set yourself up for this, plus more, just by setting up Google My Business.
In short, Google My Business is a listing that appears when people are either searching for you or a similar business on Google Search or Google Maps. You can manage your listing through your dashboard and customize information such as business hours, services, description, answers to questions, photos, videos, and more.
By setting up your free Google Business account you will be tapping into a tool that informs customers about you in just a couple of seconds.
Google My Business has been around for quite a while now but 56% of local retailers have yet to claim their account yet. This means that by completing the simple steps we will be walking you through – you will already be ahead of 56% of local business owners.
Yes, your potential customers might be using Google for other things but according to Blue Corona 46% of all searches have local intent.
So, let’s dive into how to create and optimize your listing in order to start winning more sales.
Phase 1: Setting Up Your Account
Step 1: Start by creating an account here.
Step #2: Set up Location
Once you enter your business address you are going to be asked to fill out the following screen
Make sure you fill this out correctly and that it’s identical to the information on your website since this will affect your local SEO.
Step #3: Finish logistic information
Follow the remaining prompts like entering your service area (in miles), business category, phone number, website, etc..
Note that Google recently changed the way they handle service-area businesses, allowing your business address and service area to be different. Keep this in mind when adding your information if you deliver to local customers.
Also, pay special attention to your Business Category by choosing the most appropriate while also considering what keywords you’d like to rank for.
Step 4: Business Verification
The last step in the set-up process is to verify your business on Google and you can do this via postcard, phone, email, instant verification (if you already have a Google Console account), and bulk verification ( if you have 10+ locations and aren’t a serviced based business)
Phase 2: Optimizing
Now that you are all set up with your Google My Business account it’s time to start using its features so that you start winning more sales!
Keep in mind that most features we will be covering below can be accessed easily through your google my business dashboard.
We are going to be detailing what features to pay attention to the most and best practices within those features.
Q&A is one of Google My Business newest features that allows customers to ask any questions directly on your listing.
This is a great way to engage on a 1:1 conversation with your customers so make sure to monitor your listing since you will not be alerted on your google my business dashboard. You can use the Google Maps mobile app to log in to your account and respond customer questions on there.
We advise that you do keep an eye out for these questions for other reasons as well for ex: Anyone can answer the questions (even people that don’t work at your business) and if you need to flag any non-legitimate comments or complaints you can do so.
A business description seems like an obvious feature but Google had actually removed it due to business owners and marketers abusing the feature. Well, as of March 2018 they are back so use this space to write an up to 750 character description of your business.
Include things like:
- Who you are
- Who you serve
- The value you provide via your products or services
#3: Google Posts
This is another one of GMB newest features and it’s one of the best ways to advertise your products and services in an organic way.
Think of this as a mini-ad in which you can announce your latest event, offer, or product release along with a call to action that leads to your website.
Start creating your posts by uploading an image and a 100-300 word description by simply going on your dashboard and clicking on posts.
Social proof is important in any industry and small/medium sized local businesses are no exception. Your reviews are displayed via stars on your listing and do affect your Google rankings so make sure to turn on your notifications and respond to reviews.
As a matter of fact, 90% of customers read reviews before visiting a local business so you can see why reviews can help boost traffic as well as sales for your business.
Also, there is nothing wrong with asking for reviews as long as you do it in an ethical manner. Google My Business actually encourages business owners to actively seek reviews so here is how you can do that.
How to turn on notifications?
- Sign in to Google My Business
- Click on My Business > Settings from the left-hand navigation
- Scroll to "Receive notifications" and check the box next “Reviews” to turn review notifications on
#5: Add video
If a picture is worth a thousand words then a video is worth even more! A video is a great way to tell your story and connect with your audience.
Here are some video best practices:
- Add personality
- Don’t use actors but actual employees
- Use the allotted 30 seconds
- Upload a good quality video of 720px or higher
There is nothing worse than a profile without a picture and your Google My Business listing is no different. People want to put a “face” to the name so make sure to upload your own picture or use a “Photos tagged of your business” to set your profile picture.
Your profile photo shows up when you comment on reviews but your cover photo is the main picture that will appear on your listing so don’t skip your cover photo either.
Social media, email, and phone are not the only way customers can get ahold of you nowadays. Customers can now message you directly via the message feature on your listing so all you have to do is go to your dashboard and turn on the messaging feature.
Once you turn this on you will notice that you have to input a number so make sure to input the number you want messages to go through. Note that this phone number will not be shared with your customer so don’t worry about having your personal number exposed. If you decide to switch numbers down the road you can do so as well.
You don’t have to be glued to your phone either, you can simply set up an automatic “Welcome message” that clients will receive when they start a conversation with you.
We hope that you utilize every single one of these features outlined in order to improve brand awareness, gain social proof, connect with your clients, and of course, win more sales!