Updated: Apr 7, 2021
For any small (or large) business trying to be competitive in the market, a Google My Business (GMB) account is an invaluable (but free) marketing tool at your disposal. Not only will a GMB account help your business reach more customers and prospects, it will also help you manage and maintain thriving and loyal customers, gain insights to help better serve your customers, and even employ efficient and effective online practices.
Here are 4 ways you can make Google My Business Work for You:
1. Stand out in a crowd
Having a clean, easy-to-navigate website is just the first step. Next, you need to be discoverable – and where do customers go first to find anything in this day-and-age? Google.
Having an up-to-date GMB account set-up will greatly increase your chances of being listed among the coveted “Local 3-pack,” aka. the top 3 listings on the search page, below the paid ads. Additionally, your business will show up on Google Maps, and before organic search results.
Showcase your business with a complete GMB listing
Your digital footprint never looked so good. With a GMB listing you can share contact info, business hours, directions, website link, logo, photographs, special offers, and customer reviews. By doing so, you give your business some serious clout – according to Google, customers are 70% more likely to visit businesses with a complete GMB listing. Not to mention, you have complete control over your listing, so you can be sure customers are getting their information direct from the source.
2. Engage your customers and build trust
Connecting with your customers is as easy the tap of a button. By providing your phone number or email in your GMB listing, customers can reach out with questions or concerns about your product or service direct from their smartphone. Go a step further by activating the chat feature and you can chat with prospective customers in real-time.
Encourage customers to leave Google reviews
Perhaps one of the most valuable GMB features at your fingertips is the ability for customers to leave reviews of your product/services. The more reviews your GMB listing has, the more trustworthy your business is to customers. A recent study found that 76% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations when considering a purchase, making it in your best interest to encourage your customers to leave reviews.
Connect directly with your customers and prospects
You GMB listing gives you the incredible ability to respond directly to reviews. This is a quick and easy way to build rapport with your customer base and foster goodwill and loyalty among them.
Even bad reviews have merit
Responding to negative reviews is a great way to address the concerns of an upset customer and show prospective customers that you take their feedback on board. It’s also an easy way to identify potential weaknesses or defects in your products/services and pivot your business in a more positive direction.
Achieve top rank with more reviews
Accumulating a large collection of quality reviews is also one way to rank better in search results. In fact, online reviews make up 15% of local search ranking factors. Provide quality products and services, encourage your customers to leave reviews and stand apart from your competitors.
3. Optimize your listing and online efforts
For many small business owners, gathering and interpreting data can be a very cost-prohibitive endeavour, but is often a necessary evil to achieve success. Luckily for you, GMB has some accessible analytics via the Insights function where you can discover a wealth of information about how your customers and prospects interact with your business.
Use the data in Insights to inform your decisions
GMB Insights contains information relating to your local search performance, such as:
· The number of views your listing has received
· How search users discover you
· Types of interactions users have with your listing, such as clicking through to your website, calling you or requesting directions.
You can use all this data to make changes to your listing or update your advertisements. For instance, if you find that your ‘Discovery Search’ figure is smaller than your ‘Direct Search’ figure, you’ll know you have some legwork to do to improve your local SEO. Perhaps your listing and ads don’t include the right keywords. If this is the case, it means you’re missing opportunities to reach prospective customers, and are relying too heavily on people who already know about you.
Use the data in Insights to mine for just the right keywords
Speaking of SEO, it is crucial that you use the correct keywords across your website, digital ads, and within your online content, such as blogs, if you want to achieve top search ranking. The “Queries Used to Find Your Business” tab of GMB Insights will provide you with a list of top search queries – use this data to your advantage and let the content optimization begin!
Target your ads
Pro-tip: Use the postal code and location data shown in the directions heatmap to finely hone your Google Ads targeting or geo-target your social media campaigns. By advertising directly to customers who are in your market and/or geographical area, you can greatly impact the effectiveness of your advertising.
4. Discover how your customers interact with your listing
Knowing what your customer’s search journey is provides worthwhile insights about where you should be directing your GMB efforts. GMB Insights can tell you common actions customers take on your listing, such as requesting directions, viewing photographs, visiting your website or contacting your business via phone or email.
Make sure your website is up to speed
If a common action from your listing is to visit your website, it would benefit your business to do an audit of your website’s performance. For instance, page load speed can have a profound impact on your site’s bounce rate. If your page takes up to 3 seconds to load, the probability of bounce increases by 32%. This per cent increases exponentially for load speeds up to 5 seconds, with an increased probability of 90%, and up to 10 seconds with an increased probability of 123%.
A slow performing website can make or break your conversion rate. Test your page load speed to find out if you’re losing out on potential leads.
Make yourself available
If you discover a common action from your listing is a phone call, Insights can show you what day of the week and what time of day customers are placing calls, so you can adjust your availability accordingly. If customers are frequently requesting directions, you can make sure to update your GMB listing with photos of your storefront or location and available parking. According to Google, “businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location from users on Google, and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t have photos.”
As they say, “data is King.” Dive into GMB’s various Insights and use them to optimize your listing, fine tune your digital advertising, improve your local SEO efforts and improve your overall online presence.
Make a good first impression
Today, a Buyer’s Journey can happen entirely online. From the moment a customer becomes aware they need a service/product and does research, through making a purchase decision, to becoming a loyal customer, your GMB listing has features that can do some heavy lifting for your business to help manage and navigate each step of the journey with ease – and it’s a free service.
Not to mention, your GMB listing is your first impression, so make it a good one by utilizing all the tools and features a GMB listing has to offer. Create or verify your GMB listing today.