Looking for a free way to boost your small business online? Google My Business is your ticket to driving traffic straight to your (real or virtual) doors!
Google My Business is a business listing site like hundreds before it. The difference is, it’s optimized for local search. It helps you connect with people right in your own backyard who are looking for your products and services.
With Google My Business, someone two blocks over looking for a new restaurant to try for dinner tonight or a refrigerator repairperson who is available between 2 and 4 p.m. can find you, see what your business looks like, read reviews and ultimately decide to offer you their patronage.
Getting started with Google My Business is as easy as making a free account and adding your contact information, photos and even videos.
You can use your listing straight out of the gate; however, to get the most bang for your nonexistent buck, you’ll need to verify that you are the owner. Google says verified businesses are twice as likely to be considered reputable.
To verify your business, Google will mail a postcard (yes, actual mail!) to the address on your account with a unique verification code. Enter this code and you’re all set.
Some businesses may be able to verify in other, quicker, ways, including text, email or Google Search Console. If you’re eligible for one of these methods, the options will show up automatically, and you can choose the one that works best for you.
Tips to Optimize Your Results
As with any marketing strategy, there are things you can do to increase your odds of success.
Add plenty of pictures. People are visual creatures. It’s not enough to tell them that your topiary skills are phenomenal — they want to see all the lions, tigers and bears that you’ve sculpted for other customers. Bonus points if you add photos that include the smiling faces of your staff, interior and exterior shots of your location, if applicable, and even a short (up to 30 seconds) video.
Read and respond to reviews. Google My Business allows customers to review your site. These reviews are public, and they shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Did a customer have a five-star experience? Thank them for their business and for taking the time to share their review. Have you been unfortunate enough to cross paths with a Negative Ned or Nancy? Issue a sincere (and public) apology, and do what you need to do to make it right. Your audience can forgive a one time slip as long as they see that you’ve taken the correct measures to remedy the situation.
Unlike Yelp, Google My Business allows you to solicit reviews from your customers, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask them for their two cents.
Keep your site updated. Local search often means people are looking for something in real time. Their car won’t start right now, so they don’t want a mechanic sometime next month. Always make sure your business hours and contact information are correct. It’s all too easy to miss out on a new customer because you forgot to switch your summer hours to winter hours or to inform people you’d be closed the week of Thanksgiving.
Optimize your introduction. Your introduction sets the tone for your business, so make sure it describes you to a T. Tell your story, add some links to your website and social media pages, and sprinkle in a targeted keyword or two that will make it even easier for your customers to find you online!
Google My Business helps drive traffic to your small business — and when the traffic is coming to you, you get to spend more time making money and less time actively marketing!
From Google My Business to social media and beyond, Mischa Communications has you covered for all things marketing! Contact us today and let us know what we can do to ease your pain points!