Like most businesses, you’re probably “conveniently located” somewhere, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go the distance when it comes to helping customers find your storefront. Google My Business, formerly known as Google Places for Business, is an easy and free way to do just that—let people know where you are, when you’re open and what you have to offer. And did we mention that it’s free? There’s no excuse for not using this valuable tool to increase your online and in-person traffic!
What exactly is Google My Business?
When you search for something local on Google, say a restaurant or a gas station, several listings pop up first with locations on a map. Those businesses have Google My Business pages. Then, when you click on a business’s page, you can see all of the details, a small photo gallery and even links to posted articles or upcoming events.
Why should I be on it?
Unless you expect all of your customers to just drive by and stop in—which admittedly some may do—you need to be searchable and findable online. The vast majority of consumers today research you on the web before they grace your doorstep, and if you’re not showing up at or near the top of the search rankings, the likelihood that you’ll gain any sales from tech savvy clientele is low. Google My Business allows you to quickly and effectively put yourself out there, at no cost, so they can find you.
How do I set up a page?
First, search your business to make sure there isn’t already a listing for it. If not, simply log in to Google and create a page. That sounds fairly easy—and it is—but there are a few tips we need to mention to ensure you make the most of your profile.
- Write an accurate description (think elevator pitch) that includes a few keywords. Descriptions can be up to 750 characters, but remember to keep the most important information at the top, like a press release.
- Post product information, articles, upcoming events and photos. Think of your page as an extension of your social media and repurpose your content to increase engagement. A post stays on your page for seven days, so put together a weekly schedule of what information to post as well as photos to include (as many as 10 per post).
- If your business and/or location has already been verified, you can submit a request to claim the business through Google and gain access to the profile once the current owner agrees.
What do I do with my profile after it’s been created?
As with your social media pages and your website, you want to keep the information up to date and periodically revamped so that Google knows you’re serious about your business.
Post on a regular basis, change out your photos, respond to reviews, and put your best foot forward. When a potential customer finds you on Google, he or she may make a split-second decision on whether to do business with you or go on down the road. Thus, your Google My Business profile is often your only chance to make a solid first impression. So, keep it updated and use it to your advantage. After all, it’s free!
What if my business isn’t fully open right now?
In light of social distancing guidelines, many businesses have adjusted their hours, placed limits on the number of people in the building and/or added a curbside delivery option—all the more reason to make sure customers have accurate information about how they can still do business with you. Your Google My Business page is likely the first place they will see such information, so making sure it’s correct and regularly updated shows how dedicated you are to customer service.
Can you help me with this?
We thought you’d never ask. Of course, we would be glad to work with you on creating, managing and updating your profile—just give us a call anytime!