Raise your hand if you’re in the 50% of business owners who have claimed their Google My Business (GMB) listing, entered the required address information, waited the interminable period for the verification PIN to come through the mail, and then moved on to the next high-priority item on your to-do list?
With an already busy plate, it’s no surprise that half of local businesses have not claimed or created their GMB listing. Still, you are missing an opportunity to drive more traffic, get more customers, and communicate key information to current and potential customers.
Here are five features of Google My Business you should be using.
Google Posts are GMB’s version of social media posts. They live on your listing and knowledge panel. You can use Google Posts to communicate many things, including:
- Timely information such as holiday closures
- Sales and promotions
- Company news
- Upcoming events
- Blog posts
To learn more about Google Posts and how to leverage them, read my recent article on the subject here.
If you are data-obsessed, you need to be taking advantage of GMB insights. Here you’ll find information about how customers search for your business:
- Direct – searches for your business name or brand
- Discovery – searches for a category, product, or service (like roof repair or Italian restaurant)
- Branded – searches for a brand related to your business, but not specifically your brand. For example a search for Nike will return a list of shoe stores.
Additionally, you will find a list of the most popular queries for your business that triggered your listing. This will be a mix of the above, direct, discovery, and branded keywords such as “roof repair near me” or “Sport Chek.”
Next, you will see which Google services customers use to find your business, usually a mix of search and map listings.
Then, you can gain insight into the most common actions taken by customers on your listing, including calls, direction requests, and website visits.
From here, you can analyze these actions. First, you can explore the geographic location of direction requests, sorted by postal code. Then, you can analyze phone calls by day to see which day of the week is driving the most action. Finally, you can learn more about photo views and photo quantity compared against other businesses like yours.
These insights can help you make more informed marketing decisions. For example, you may wish to set ad scheduling based on your most popular times, or set a bid modifier for postal codes you do not currently have traction in to raise more awareness in these pockets.
Trust is critical to customer experience these days. The more you can communicate the expertise, experience, and authenticity of your business, the better. You will stand out from the crowd and attract more qualified customers.
In addition to the standards like uploading a brand logo and cover photo, use every opportunity to communicate your value with GMB photos. Include images of the exterior and interior of your place of business (you can even schedule a photoshoot, which will allow users to complete a virtual walkthrough of your store or office).
Include product photos, service techs in action, pictures of menu items – whatever tells the story of your brand and what sets you apart from competitors. Upload new assets when you can so your photos are not outdated and stale.
Depending on the type of business you operate, you can take advantage of a range of additional fields. For instance, under the “info” tab you can add special hours, like if you offer take-out at different hours from your dine-in services.
You can also drive more leads by linking directly to your appointment booking page.
Additionally, you can indicate if your business belongs to any special categories, such as being woman-led.
Finally, you can list any key services or products using those tabs. Pro tip: if you link Google Merchant Center with Google My Business, your products will automatically sync and display images, descriptions, and prices.
Reviews are central to Google My Business’ purpose and value. Your listing will display a star rating with a list of all customer reviews, good and bad.
You can encourage customers to leave a review through various avenues, whether that’s providing a link on your website, sending a link via email, or asking them in person.
Be warned that you must be compliant with Google’s policies. You cannot offer any rewards for reviews, and you should not selectively solicit positive reviews only.
Respond to reviews, both positive and negative. In fact, a timely, thoughtful (and sometimes incisive) response to a negative review can help you earn a customer.
With Google My Business, you now have an additional platform to get in front of customers and tell your story. You bypass the website altogether, so you have to make use of the limited but valuable real estate Google is providing. Take advantage of the five key features, and you will get more customers.