Anyone who owns a business should take advantage of Google My Business (GMB) listings. These free, easy to create information blocks appear in Google search results whenever someone enters your business’s name in Google’s search engine. Because Google is the single largest search engine in existence, and because the listing is free to build and post, anyone who misses out on this powerful marketing tool is losing out potential customers.
Even though it is rather simple to build a GMB listing, there are several essential tips that first-timers can use to optimize their listing and make sure it looks professional right out of the box. Effective marketing, particularly when it costs nothing but a few minutes of your time, is a key part of any company’s overall goals.
Take Your Description Seriously
It’s important to write attractive and accurate business listings. Search Engine Land talks about how Google lets users use up to 750 characters (not 750 words) to describe a business. That’s not a lot of space but is enough to get the essential characteristics down on the page.
Entrepreneurs should use active verbs rather than passive ones and should carefully consider each key word in the description. Think of the way you’d write a resume for an important job application. The GMB listing, when created with precise, strong language, can bring in new customers quickly.
Make a rough draft just to get a feel for the 750-character limit. Try to use all 750 characters and hit every major bullet point about your company. In addition to the essential demographic data, customers want to know what you make or sell, how long you’ve been around, what your product/service line looks like, what sets your company apart from others in the sector, and why they need what you have.
Use a two- or three-person team to go through the first draft and then begin to edit it line by line. After your get all the key points in and it looks sharp, get ready to add visuals.
Podium reports that profiles with pictures will have significantly higher click-throughs. GMB listings without visuals or photos lack a key component that most online shoppers want. Words on the printed page only go so far. Of course, if you have a storefront be sure to highlight it in your listing, but also include several photos of products whenever possible. Use clear, close-up photos of products as well as a few mid-distance shots so potential buyers can get a feel for the total look of a product.
Respond to Every Review
Customer reviews are a vital link in any successful business’s marketing effort. When customers leave reviews on your GMB listing, either you or someone in your company should respond immediately. Online shoppers read reviews, especially when a business only has one or two on their GMB listing.
Respond to positive reviews in a thankful way. For negative reviews, be careful. Read the comment carefully to really try and understand what the person is saying and why they left the comment. Do your best to respond and, if necessary, offer to correct a noted problem. Otherwise, be polite and factual when explaining why the person might be mistaken or gotten what they perceived to be bad service or a faulty product. If you are at fault, offer a replacement item or maybe a coupon for future service.
Collect Feedback from Family and Friends
Get out of the “business bubble” and ask friends and family what they think of your new GMB listing. Sometimes, casual feedback from non-business professionals can reveal important points about how to improve the review.
Promote Company Events and Giveaways
An active GMB listing is the perfect place to post prizes, contests, awards and special company events. Many GMB listings contain time-limited coupons, which are a powerful sales tool. Gallimore Industries, Inc explains that coupons help marketers grow market share, increase sales volume, sell faster, cultivate loyal customers, and drown out competitor advertising.
Include Short Videos That Offer More Information
Google recently allowed for video upload on all GMB listings. Companies should use this feature for maximum impact. Many shoppers want to see informative videos before making a buying decision. Dream Grow describes how video boosts conversions and sales, has great ROI, builds trust, appeal to mobile users, and can convert even the laziest buyers.
There’s no need to spend hours and hours on a Google My Business listing, but entrepreneurs should expect to spend at least an hour or two on their first attempt. It’s also a good idea to have help. One or two extra sets of eyes, especially when those eyes belong to other company leaders, can help eliminate all sorts of common errors.
After posting the GMB listing, be sure to verify that it went up without a hitch. Do this quick audit of the listing every day for a week or so, and then only check it once per week after that. Whenever any of the details in your company’s basic data change, head to the GMB dashboard and update it as soon as possible.
A GMB listing is free advertising that provides credibility for new businesses and significant marketing reach for companies new and old.