As a small business owner, you already know how important it is to establish an online presence. You’ve built a website, you’re active on social media, and you’ve probably done some search engine optimization to help customers find you. But have you set up your Google Business Profile yet?
If not, you could be missing out on significant benefits. A Google Business Profile is free and provides a simple way to help your business stand out in Google Search and Maps.
According to recent studies, over 60% of people search online before visiting a local business. A Google Business Profile could be your key to tapping into this huge market and driving more foot traffic. Curious to learn how to achieve all these benefits for your business? Read on. We’ll walk you through how to get started with your Google Business Profile and unlock its full potential.
Getting Acquainted with Google Business Profile
If you are a small business owner, you need to leverage every opportunity to reach new customers and boost your visibility. One of the best ways to do this is by optimizing your Google My Business profile. This free tool allows you to appear prominently in Google Search and Maps, putting you in front of people searching for businesses like yours.
The benefits of Google My Business are invaluable for ambitious business owners looking to expand their reach. Make the most of this free tool by fully optimizing your profile today. Your increased online presence and visibility can lead to more foot traffic, calls, and sales.
Benefit #1: Improved Local SEO Rankings
As a small business owner, you always seek ways to reach new customers and boost visibility. Google My Business, or GMB, should be at the top of your list. GMB provides a free, easy way to appear prominently in Google Search and Maps, leading to:
Improved Local SEO Rankings
72% of people who search for local businesses on their phones end up visiting a store within 24 hours. Optimizing your GMB listing helps you rank higher in local search results and Google Maps, so more potential customers can discover your business.
GMB gives you control over how your business information appears on Google. You can add photos, update your business hours, highlight your products and services, and encourage customer reviews. The more complete and optimized your listing is, the higher you’ll rank in local search.
Increased Brand Awareness and Trust
An active Google Business Profile establishes your business as a legitimate, trustworthy operation. It gives you an official presence on Google, the world’s most popular search engine, which builds brand credibility.
Customer reviews, photos, and Q&A also help build trust and goodwill. Over 70% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. GMB provides an easy way for customers to leave reviews, and you can engage with them by responding to reviews and questions.
More Customer Interactions
GMB isn’t just about appearing in search results—it’s also a tool for connecting with your customers. The messaging feature allows people to contact you directly through Google. You’ll get notifications on your phone, so you can respond quickly and continue the conversation.
A complete, optimized GMB listing, along with a proactive approach to customer engagement, leads to more interest and interactions from potential clients. Take advantage of all the benefits GMB offers, and you’ll gain valuable exposure, build your brand, and connect with more customers.
Benefit #2: Managing Your Online Reputation
Managing your online reputation is critical for any business today. With Google My Business, you have the power to influence how customers perceive your brand.
Respond to Reviews
Google My Business allows you to reply to reviews left by customers, both positive and negative. Thanking happy clients for their praise fosters goodwill and loyalty. Addressing critical reviews in a professional, solution-focused manner can turn dissatisfied customers into brand advocates. Given that the majority of customers (over 70%) read business responses to reviews, it’s crucial to respond thoughtfully within 24-48 hours.
Promote Your Strengths
Use the Story and Posts features in Google My Business to highlight what makes your business unique. Share behind-the-scenes photos of your team, spotlight star employees, or announce upcoming events. Posts containing images tend to get more clicks and shares, so include visuals whenever possible. Keep content fresh by posting 2-3 times a week. These regular updates establish your business as an active, engaging member of the local community.
Build a Trustworthy Profile
A comprehensive, optimized Google My Business profile signals to customers that your business is reputable and professional. Verify your business to confirm its accuracy and gain additional features like Q&A and messaging. An established profile with lots of views, photos, posts, and reviews builds credibility and trust in the eyes of customers.
Set up Google Alerts to track when your business name, address, or key employees are mentioned on the web. This helps you stay on top of what customers and competitors are saying about your brand online. Address any negative mentions quickly and directly to minimize damage. Positive mentions can be shared on your social media or website to further boost your reputation and goodwill.
With some time and effort, you can leverage Google My Business to craft an indelible positive impression of your brand in the minds of customers. Managing your online reputation today will pay dividends for years to come in the form of greater visibility, more customers, and a loyal client base.
Benefit #3: Connecting With Customers
Connecting with your customers and building brand loyalty is key to business success. Google Business Profile allows you to do just that by giving you a platform to engage with your customers.
Post Updates and Offers
Promote your business by posting updates, events, and special offers on your GMB profile. Let customers know about sales, new products, or services. This is an easy way to stay front of mind and give people a reason to choose you over competitors. According to a recent survey, 70% of consumers are more likely to visit a business that posts special offers or coupons on their GMB listing.
Share Photos and Videos
Visuals are highly engaging and help bring your business to life. Post eye-catching photos of your products, services, staff, and location. Short video clips or virtual tours are also a great way for people to experience what you have to offer from anywhere. Studies show posts with visuals get up to 650% more engagement than text-only posts.
Respond to Reviews
Pay attention to the reviews on your GMB profile and respond to each one. Thank happy customers for their kind words. Address any concerns from unsatisfied reviewers and let them know you appreciate the feedback. Responding to reviews, whether positive or negative, shows you value your customers’ opinions. It also allows you to publicly demonstrate your great customer service.
Send Direct Messages
You can message customers directly through your GMB profile. Use this feature to personally follow up with anyone who leaves a review, check in on frequent customers, or address private concerns. Sending direct messages is a simple way to build rapport and strengthen your connection with customers.
Benefits #4 and #5: Analytics and Insights + Free and Easy to Use
Google My Business also provides valuable analytics and insights to help you optimize your marketing strategies. The built-in analytics are free and easy to access, giving you data to make data-driven decisions.
The analytics provide an overview of how customers interact with your business profile. You can see the number of views your profile, photos, and posts receive, allowing you to gauge the effectiveness of your campaigns. The search queries report shows the specific keywords people use to find you, so you know which terms to target.
The engagement metrics give insight into how people interact with your posts by showing shares, comments, and likes. This helps determine what content resonates most with your audience. The audience summary outlines the age, gender, and location of your followers so you can tailor content to their interests.
Most importantly, the analytics show the number of clicks on your website link from your business profile. This quantifies how GMB is driving traffic to your site, which can lead to increased sales and revenue.
Easy to Use
Google My Business is free, simple to set up, and requires no technical skills to optimize. You can easily add photos, posts, promotions, and events to engage your audience. The platform is intuitive, with prompts to guide you through the process.
GMB does not require a large time commitment to manage but provides huge benefits for small businesses. The platform amplifies your online presence, helps you rank higher in local search results, and gives you valuable data to make informed decisions. For a free, easy-to-use tool, Google Business Profile offers an incredible opportunity to connect with more customers.
Getting Started with Google Business Profile
You’ll need to get started by claiming and verifying your business listing to unlock the benefits of Google Business Profile. This free platform allows you to manage how your business information appears on Google Search and Maps.
Claim Your Business Listing
Head to google.com/business and enter your business name and address. If Google has already created a listing for your business, you’ll be able to claim and verify it. If not, you can add a new listing for your business. Provide details like your business hours, contact information, and website to help customers find you.
Verify Your Business Information
Verifying your business information confirms you are the owner of the business. You can verify in a few ways, such as by phone, email, or postcard. Verification typically only takes a couple of days and is important for improving your business visibility and credibility.
Complete Your Business Profile
Add engaging photos, posts, and promotions to bring your listing to life. Share details about your products, services, and special offers to give customers a sense of your business. The more information you provide, the more likely people are to connect with your business.
Check Your Listing Accuracy
Double-check that all the information on your business listing like your address, hours of operation, and phone number is correct. Inaccurate information could negatively impact your business by misleading customers or causing confusion. Make any needed edits to ensure all details are precise.
Ask For Customer Reviews
Reviews are key to building trust and ranking higher in search results. Politely ask your happy customers to leave a review on your listing. Their positive reviews and high star ratings will give you more credibility and visibility. Dedicatedly and tactfully respond to all criticisms.
By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to unlocking the benefits of Google Business Profile and reaching more potential customers. Consistently keeping your listing up-to-date and optimized is key to success.
You’ve now learned about the power of Google Business Profile and how to unlock its benefits for your business.
Leveraging these benefits will help establish you as the go-to provider in your industry.
The stats speak for themselves – with a free and optimized profile, you’ll gain more visibility, generate more traffic and leads, build credibility, and connect with your customers. What are you waiting for?
Take action today to claim and enhance your business profile. Start by adding engaging photos, a detailed business description, and your business hours and contact information. Respond to reviews and check your insights regularly.
The rewards of an optimized Google Business Profile are huge. You have everything to gain by leveraging this free tool to boost your online presence and take your business to the next level. The possibilities are endless when you unlock the potential of Google Business Profile.
However, Managing your GMB listing for busy business owners like you can be time-consuming and complex, especially if you’re not familiar with the ever-changing algorithms and best practices.
That’s where Waterfront Graphic Design’s GMB management services come in. We take the guesswork out of GMB optimization, so you can focus on running your business.
Contact us today for a free GMB consultation and see how we can help you achieve your online business goals.