What is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) is a free, easy-to-use tool that can help you and your business to increase your online presence in Google Search and Google Maps, to attract and connect with customers. Like us, you have most likely looked for a product or a service by Googling it. You will then see a “knowledge panel” or a Business Profile, that pops up, showing a lot of the information you are looking for.
So, let’s say your customers are looking for a local IT-supplier. By Googling the word “IT-supplier” and the city of their choice, Google will suggest company profiles that match their request. There they can see the business type, phone number, address, read reviews and even contact a company, right then and there. Take a few minutes right now and Google your company. Did you find your Business Profile? If not, and you would like to set it up, follow this link and it will guide you through how you can do it. Or you´re more than welcome to ask us in the chat, for help. If you found a Business Profile for your company but can’t remember ever creating one, you might be wondering how that happened?
How can my business have a Business Profile, if we haven’t created one ourselves?
Creating a Business Profile is much the same as adding a place to Google Maps. A Business Profile can be created automatically by someone, for example, adding your company name, category, address, phone number, etc, to Google Maps. By someone, we mean any random person or an automated listing generator. All Google needs is the business name, location, and category. Once Google confirms it’s not a duplicate, they automatically create a Business Profile for that location. The Business Profile is then an open platform where customers can leave reviews, add photos, ask questions, and even answer questions. An established Business Profile can also be filled with information that Google pulls from the internet.
This means a Business Profile can exist on its own and until you claim ownership of your Business Profile, you aren’t in charge of what kind of information is displayed, the reviews it collects or what kind of communication there is with potential customers within your Business Profile.
On the other hand, if you want to be in control of what customers are seeing, you need to have your Business Profile connected to a Google My Business Account.
What is the difference between a Business Profile and a Google My Business account?
To get more visibility on Google, many businesses create a Google business listing often referred to as a Business Profile. As we talked about earlier, a Business Profile or listing can be created randomly by someone outside of your company which in turn means you are not in control of it.
That’s where Google My Business comes in. By creating a Google My Business Account and connecting it to your Business Profile, you can immediately access, customize, manage, and enhance your Business Profile on Google – all for free.
Why is owning and being able to manage your Business Profile so important? Because, when you can manage and edit your Profile, you are the one deciding what kind of information is posted and you can communicate with your customers, answer their questions or respond to their reviews. Simply said, a Business Profile is information about your company that is visible to customers, and having a Google My Business Account, is your key to owning and editing this information.
Having a Profile without having an Account is like a random person creating a fake Instagram account for your company and posting images, information, and communicating with your customers – all without any influence from you. Scary idea, right?
So, take a couple of minutes and check whether your company has a Business Profile connected to a Google My Business Account. If not, follow this link to create and connect a Business Profile with a Google My Business account. https://fanbooster.com/blog/google-my-business-account/
Now that you have a Business Profile and have access to it through your Google My Business Account, you will want to know all about the main features of GMB and how you can enhance it and keep it updated!
What are the main features of Google My Business?
What will you get when using GMB? Just to give you a taste, here are six of the most important features:
After getting a Google My Business listing, you will see a dashboard with great insights as to customer activity. Insights showing things like, how many customers found you, how they found you and how they are reacting to any images or videos they see on your Business Profile. If you click or tap the chart on the dashboard you can see the percentage of customers that found you via:
- Direct searches: A customer directly searched for your business name or address.
- Discovery searches: A customer searched for a category, product, or service that you offer, and your listing appeared.
- Branded searches: A customer searched for your brand or a brand related to your business. This category will only appear if your listing has appeared at least once for a branded search.
- Total searches: The total number of direct, discovery, and branded searches.
How can you use these insights? Evaluating this information will help you to find out which strategies are effective and which ones need to be changed or even removed.
GMB allows customers to book your service or make an appointment with just one click. There is a built-in scheduling tool for easily organizing, tracking, and managing your bookings in one place, or you can redirect them to the contact form area on your website.
One of the greatest features of GMB is that your customers can leave reviews about your business, products, or services. Here we have one piece of advice:
This type of one-to-one communication with your customers is extremely valuable!
To create trust and establish a relationship with the people interested in your products and services, you should respond quickly and accurately to every single review, whether they are positive or negative. This shows you care and that your company is focused on creating great customer experiences. Answering their reviews or questions gives you the chance to thank them, help them, or correct something about their customer journey they weren’t too happy with.
Responding to GMB reviews actively and quickly is so important that it can result in either winning or losing a customer. Why? Because up to 91% of consumers depend on online reviews to make purchase decisions. Another 84% say that online reviews are just as important as personal recommendations from friends.
So be a good “friend” and respond to ALL reviews!
4. Questions and answers
When talking about engaging with customers, the Q&A function for GMB is an amazing way to attract interest and interact with your customers. Responding to questions means your customers learn more about your business, your products, and your services. By listening and answering questions your visitors have, you learn more about what customers are looking for and how you can help them. Google My Business Q&A also allows you to highlight frequently asked questions, by pinning them.
Posts provide an easy way to give customers updates on your Google My Business listing. Posts are the perfect place to announce new products, available offers, promotions, or company updates.
When written correctly, posts can massively increase engagement and lead to returning customers. The good news is that you can publish posts at any time, from your computer, tablet, or smartphone. For example, here at KOGGER, we have recently used this part of our GMB, to publish what actions we have taken to keep our staff and customers safe during the Covid-19 situation. Maybe you should too? Let them know what changes you have made and how this can benefit them.
You can also post about new services, products, or tell them about a webinar or an online event you want to invite them to.
6. Photos and videos
No matter what industry you are in, strong visuals will create a good first impression. You can post both photos and videos on your GMB account.
Always pick the best ones, so you really get those customers interested!
How can Google My Business help my company?
GMB increases your visibility in search
An updated GMB will drive more traffic to your website, social channels and lead to more customers contacting you directly.
Again this is like having a social media account. To get views and attract customers, you need to show up and be visible. If potential customers Google your area of expertise, you want your company name and information to show up, because if you aren’t there or the information there is outdated, they will quickly move on to a company that gives them the information they are looking for. If you have a Business Profile you will get higher up on searches but having one that is fresh and updated will give you an even higher search ranking.
Your business then becomes more visible, and instead of only being shown organically or by paid results you´re shown in local results. If you then combine this with SEO, using words that consumers or customers will search for, you will rank even higher and be even more visible.
This is a great way of using inbound marketing to rank nearly as high as ads. Instead of spending money on a lot of ads, have you investigated all the possibilities you have for inbound marketing or what we like to refer to as “free” marketing? We highly recommend that you explore all the options you have for free, before paying for external help or ads.
By updating and making your GMB as informative as possible, you are giving your customers the information they are looking for.
Here at KOGGER, we believe in implementing the They Ask You Answer (TAYA) methodology, throughout everything we do. This goes for our Business Account too. Ever driven to visit a company or a store thinking they were open, because you Googled them, found their opening hours on their Business Profile, just to arrive and find out they were closed? That company could have saved you the trip if they had updated their opening hours on their Google Business profile.
An updated and relevant GMB Profile can help you create trust and show your customers that you not only are up to date regarding your products and services but you care about the information they are looking for, so you update pages that don’t necessarily affect your website but contains information that affects customers like them.
Why Should You Care About Optimizing your Google My Business?
By optimizing and continuously updating your GMB, Google automatically understands more about your business – what you do, what services or products you deliver, where you are located, how satisfied your customers are, etc.
The more you update your GMB, the more Google knows and will match you with other search queries. This is usually called the Google 3-pack. The 3-pack is where Google pulls up a 3–choice possibility of companies when someone searches for a certain product or service.
The Google 3-pack makes it easier and quicker for customers to choose a company that matches what they are looking for. The 3-pack is often a quick way for customers to evaluate which companies are the best – by looking at the star rating and reading reviews from other customers. Think about the last time you Googled a company. If you could choose between a company with 2-stars or a company with 5-stars. Which one would you choose? Statistics show that people in general, choose the company with the most stars. So, if you, when buying, choose companies with higher ratings and read the reviews, you should assume your customers do the same.
To sum it all up:
- Create a Business profile with updated and relevant information.
- Connect it to a Google My Business account so you are in control of what’s there.
- Answer every single review.
- If a customer leaves a negative review, reply to it in writing but also contact them directly, to find out what your company can do to correct whatever part of their customer journey they are unhappy with.
- Make use of the free tools we have to be more visible
Hope this article comes in handy, and that you can use some of this information when creating a better customer journey.