When business owners start looking for ways to attract more customers, what is the first thing that comes to mind? The internet, right? But before they start having conversations about SEO, SMO, and social media ads, they need to make sure they have fully optimized the free online marketing platforms available, like Google My Business.
When digital platforms like Google My Business and Nextdoor are fully optimized phones start ringing, customers start showing up, and traffic increases on websites.
Sadly though, many small business owners fall under the misconception that a website, some search engine optimization and a few social media posts are all they need for business growth to occur.
Your website doesn’t need to be found by everyone; it just needs to be seen by the people who live in your community. You get this right, and the results can be significant.
4 out of 5 people use search engines to find information about your business.
Your potential customers are searching find local business information like business hours, location, phone number, online reviews, and more. Customer surveys reveal that businesses with detailed online profiles and complete business listings are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers.
Research continues to reinforce that half of consumers that do a local search on their smartphone end up visiting a store they found there that same day. Here is a real-life example.
My wife broke her foot right last summer and the doctor gave her to wear a boot to wear while the foot healed. The boot worked fine around Atlanta, but when we got to the beach for vacation she knew quickly it wasn’t going to work. While searching for solutions online she discovered Teva sandals were a good option, but she didn’t know where to find them locally. Fortunately for us, Hilton Head Outfitters had optimized their Google My Business listing. And with just a few clicks and one call, we were on the way to pick up the sandals they were holding for her.
Getting Started with Google My Business
To help business owners get started, I’ve created an 8-Step Checklist which can help them make sure their Google My Business listing is optimized from the start. Just hover over the image to enlarge and you download or print a copy of the 8-Step Checklist here.
And for the small business owners who have verified their Google My Business listing, here are 7 key areas to review to ensure you are utilizing all the features. (Make sure you perform this review on a mobile device as well as a desktop computer!)
#1. How do the photos look?
- Do they represent you and your business accurately and professionally?
#2. Now look at the map, is the pin in the correct spot?
- People will use this link to connect directly with Google Maps for directions to find your store.
#3. Now click on the website button does it take you directly to your website?
- Is this the best page on our your website to link to?
#4. Are your business hours listed? Are they correct?
- Do you have special holiday hours this year? This is especially important for your customers to know it will be open or closed on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.
#5. Do you have a phone number listed?
- Is this the best number for a customer to reach your business?
- If not, odds are the customer will click back and move on to the next business listed in the Google search results.
#6. Have you created any posts?
- My guess is no, as this is a new feature. Creating posts will allow you to feature special offers, engageable content from your blog or newsletter, and even product specific information your customers want to know.
- This will improve your search results by consistently adding relevant content about your business classification.
#7. Now look at your reviews, do you have any listed?
- Your online reviews can act as a catalyst for people are deciding between your business and a competitor.
- Do you have a strategy for harvesting reviews from satisfied customers?
- Is it easy for customers to post reviews directly to Google?
I hope by optimizing your Google My Business listing you will see an increase in your business for 2018!
Let me know if you have any questions, and as always, let me know if I can help!
Your turn, share your thoughts or comments below:
- For those already using Google My Business what has your experience been like?
- Is there information you would like to know more about when it comes to Google My Business in future articles?