Many businesses have, at one time or another, set up a Google My Business listing and then forgotten about it. The fact is, with a little understanding how it works, GMB can be a very effective and powerful online marketing tool.
Formerly known as Google Maps and Google Places, GMB should never been underestimated when it comes to its effectiveness when targeting customers.
It is typically used to target local customers or those seeking services within your geographic location, for example:
- A home owner is seeking a local tradesperson to fix their leaking shower.
- A day tripper visiting an area wants to find the nearest café.
- Someone planning to holiday wants to book a surf lesson at the nearest beach.
- Importantly, when correctly connected to your website, your GMB listing provides Google with helpful information about your business which helps boost your organic search engine ranking.
To ensure you’re getting the most from your GMB listing in 2021, I have put together some insights and tips that I hope will provide you with a greater understanding of its capabilities and how it works.
You can upload an unlimited number of photos to your GMB profile, providing customers with a visual representation of what you do and how great you are at doing it.
This may include photos of your premises (inside and out), staff, product images and projects completed.
You should always ensure photos are fresh and up to date and, as always, quality is important. Don’t give customers the wrong impression by uploading dark or blurry images.
Every time you update the photos on your website or social media accounts, take the time to upload them to your GMB profile too.
Most exciting of all is, when optimised to include keywords and GEO location settings, your photos are likely to appear in the Google Image Search results.
For example, the screen shot below shows the results of a Google Image Search for the keywords “web design Northern Beaches”. Of the top 14 images, only 2 photos don’t belong to me.
Don’t be shy to ask customers for reviews and make it super easy for them to do so by sending them a direct link to your Google My Business profile.
Reviews not only confirm your expertise to customers but improve your credibility with Google thereby improving your organic search engine ranking.
Business owners are often hesitant to encourage reviews in case they receive a bad one. If you do receive a bad review, the first thing to do is respond – calmly. Reach out to the disgruntled customer and ask them to get in touch with you so you can remedy the issue. I remember reading a study not long ago that said that around 50% of people surveyed said they were more likely to visit a business that responded to bad reviews.
If you receive a bad review from someone who isn’t a customer, perhaps you suspectfrom a competitor or nasty colleague, unfortunately, there is not much you can do. Sadly, Google is very unhelpful and won’t remove the review. Your best course of action is to call out the person by responding with something like “I’m sorry, we don’t have any record of you as a customer. Please contact us direct so we can resolve your issue quickly.”
If you have added your telephone number to your GMB profile, customers can contact you via the “Call” button that is then automatically activated.
Recently, Google added a “Message” button that adds instant message capabilities similar to Facebook Messenger.
After activating the feature, messages are monitored via the Google My Business app downloaded to your mobile device (phone or tablet).
Enabling Google My Business messaging
- Download the Google My Business app for your phone.
- Log in to the app using the Google account with which you’ve claimed your business name.
- Enable the new GMB Messaging feature – either in the app on your phone (“Customers” tab > “Messages”), or from a desktop computer on the “Messages” tab on the left.
Using ‘Posts’ on Google My Business is another way to lift visibility by letting customers know what you’ve been doing or what’s coming up in the future.
The different post types include:
- What’s new: Use this to provide general information about your business, helpful articles, case studies, projects completed, etc.
- Events: Promote an upcoming event within your business or, even, in the wider community.
- Offers: Promote sales and discounts.
- Products: Add product descriptions and photos so they appear in the “Product tab” of your GMB listing.
- Hours update: Keep customers informed of public holiday closures. After you update your hours or reopen your business, customers visiting your profile will find a message that confirms your recent update.
You can only have a maximum of 10 posts showing on your profile when it appears in the search results at any time – see example below. Once they expire, they are moved to the “Posts” area of your profile or when you click “View previous posts on Google.”
The screenshot below highlights where your posts show up in your Google My Business profile.
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If you have questions about how you can capitalise on the power of your website in 2021, please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime.