Google My Business (GMB) is a free and easy tool to market your business. It can get you on ‘page 1’ of the Google local pack (the bit with the stars) with a little time and effort. It’s one of the best and most effective small business marketing tips I continue to give.
It is a truly effective digital marketing resource available for small businesses that can enable the content of your business and your site to appear in the local search results pages for queries related to your particular products and services.
What’s more, Google My Business can help you appear on page 1 for a local intent search in a few easy steps. It is honestly the easiest and most cost effective way for your small business to raise its web marketing presence.
When even broader queries with large volumes of content are showing local results, small business owners should take advantage of the GMB site and boost their online marketing efforts.
The benefits of boosting your local search
According to a recent survey by BrightLocal, in terms of ROI (Return on Investment), local search gives more results than any other marketing tool or technique for local businesses.
In fact, the research showed that local search & organic search deliver the better ROI than all other online channels the techniques scoring with 8 points out of 10 when it came to ROI effectiveness compared to other marketing tactics.
While Twitter and display advertising comes last with 4 points. And in between you can find direct traffic (7); Google AdWords (6); email marketing, mobile marketing and referral traffic (6); and Facebook and Bing Ads (5).
The survey also asks a large group of small business owners to choose only one digital channel to bring traffic through their channel, and 23 percent of the answer said local search. Organic searches ended in second place with 19 percent approval.
How important is Google My Business for small business marketing?
GMB is a simple social interface with a dashboard that feeds the info to the Google Knowledge Graph and Maps, it’s essential to claim your location information so that you have full control over what Google My Business displays.
If you don’t provide Google My Business with your information, it draws the information from other sources. This could have a negative impact on your brand. I have seen photos of playing fields displayed for a luxury shopping precinct just because the precinct had not supplied their own photos. The photos were drawn from somewhere else.
Because GMB adds your business to Google Maps, and because the Google search result page often priories nearby results, it increases the visibility on local queries.
If a potential client is searching on a mobile device in your local area, the top three links are Google local results, while the rest are organic searches. Consider that by August 2016, over 60 percent of Google searches came from mobile devices. That is pretty powerful stuff
What Google My Business Can Offer in Your Small Business Marketing Mix
Google My Business should be your priority as a small business. It is free and gives you fabulous visibility.
The tool displays all sorts of information about your business:
- The name, address and phone number
- You business information
- It shows your location on Google Maps
- It shows your posts on Google Plus
It serves as an information hub for your services, sites, and products, but it will only work efficiently if you’re already getting the most of these Google tools.
For example, many business owners neglect the the Google+ Page. This is a BIG mistake. Google indexes your Google + posts immediately. This means, that your customers or potential customers have more chances to see your name when they are searching for your type of product or service.
It seems counter-intuitive when you first go into Google +, however, the benefits are truly underestimated by most businesses – big and small.
Getting your reviews on Google My Business is vital for your web presence. Ever noticed how your eyes naturally gravitate to the 5 stars?
Your stars start showing once you have received 3 reviews. Bright Local has recently conducted research around the effectiveness of stars and reviews and their impact on click through rates. Here are some great stats from their research findings to help you understand why, you need your customers to review your business on Google My Business
- Going from a 3-star rating to a 5-star rating gets a business 25% more clicks from Google Local Pack
- Having a 5-star rating earns a business 39% more clicks from Google Local than having a 1-star rating
- 56% of consumers select a business if it has positive ratings/reviews displayed in Google Local Pack
- Star Ratings displayed in Local Pack results generate higher CTR than organic search results
- A positive reputation can boost search ranking, drive more clicks and build trust among consumers
One of my clients recently received a rush of inquiries and earned 3 new clients in the week she received 6 more reviews. She simply asked her past clients to write a review and they did! It’s not that hard.
Optimising your Google My Business account
Here’s a checklist that will help you with the basics in optimising your Google My Business Account:
- Confirm your address: all listings for your business must use the same exact physical and email address.
- Check your business schedule: log into your GMB account and confirm your work hours are accurate.
- List the right category for your business: You will see a long list of categories to chose from.
- Add various pictures and videos: It is vital you have full control over what visuals are connected to your account.
Consider adding a picture of yourself and your key staff, the checkout area, the reception desk, maybe some images of your retail, a couple of photos of customers being attended, and two or three photos of your defining offer.
- Add a 360-degree tour: if you’re willing to go the extra mile, add a virtual reality tour of your business or your facilities by hiring a Google-approved photographer. They will take photos that enable your customers to receive a 360 degree view of your business.
- Write an introduction: describe your business with a clear and thoughtful introduction and add links and keywords to the text. Additionally, use sub-headers, bullet points, and short paragraphs.
- Include how can customers pay you: you need to specify the kinds of payments you accept.
- Encourage reviews: Google lets you ask your clients for reviews without any kind of penalties. As always, user engagement increases your rankings and your visibility.
- Respond to the reviews: You should respond to ALL reviews. Not responding implies you don’t care. you should say thanks for the good reviews and respond to the negative ones with without emotion.
- Post to your Google+ account: finally, don’t forget to keep moving the Google+ profile of your business. Consider posting sales announcements, Q&A, news related to your field, photos, and events. Post useful and relevant information.
As you can see, there are many benefits to Google My Business. I honestly believe it is the ‘lowest hanging fruit’ and easiest way for small businesses to boost their online presence.