Today I’m going to guide you through one of the biggest (and free) ways to promote your small business – and that is Google My Business.
I find myself talking about it constantly with clients, in forums, on webinars, so here is my rundown on why Google My Business should be playing a part in your marketing strategy.
What is Google My Business?
Well in its simplest form, it is a business listing with Google that has free tools to promote your business online.
But don’t let that explanation underwhelm you – it’s a pretty powerful listing – especially for small businesses and small local businesses.
It not only allows a local listing for your business as a free business profile, but it can also act as your website and you can manage how, exactly how, your business appears on google search and maps.
Google My Business offers small business owners the opportunity to establish their business online easily. In fact, a listing can be set up in minutes.
But what if you’re already online – I hear you say!
Having a Google My Business account is still important.
Why? It will compliment your website by adding more visibility and you can add your website on your business profile – which again, will help with traffic and being found.
If you are a local small business and you haven’t already set up and claimed your Google My Business profile – then when you finish reading this blog hot foot it to Google and sign up!
How do you a set up a Google My Business listing?
The easiest way to sign up is just simply google “Google My Business”, then follow the prompts to sign up, and fill in all the information.
Why is Google My Business important?
Here’s why, for me, I think it’s so necessary to have a listing on Google My Business if you are in a small business.
As business owners we wear SO many hats – business owner, employer, marketing and social media person, accountant, gate keeper and the list goes on and on.
We are time poor and don’t need another thing to do.
Some business owners have also been sold a Furphy of “Build it and they will come!”
They invest either time or money or both in a website and are under the illusion that people will somehow magically find them among the gazillion other websites out there.
And what seems to happen is business owners find, quite quickly, that this is not the case – people do not magically appear.
Website traffic is the piece of the puzzle people didn’t tell them about which would become yet another job to do!
The words Search Engine Optimisation (SEO); makes half of us shudder and the other half think “what’s that?” – and to most people it’s a job that doesn’t get done.
Now, I’m not going to chat in your ears and pretend that I am an expert when it comes to SEO – actually so far from it – but I do have a real appreciation for its importance.
If you want to know more from an expert – listen to episode 39 of my podcast with Kate Toon – I call her the Beyoncé of SEO! She gives some great information all about SEO, so the podcast is definitely worth a listen!
So – back to Google My Business. The great thing about Google My Business (besides it being a free tool mind you!) is that it can really help you with SEO.
Especially, as I advise to all of my clients, if you treat Google My Business like you would a social media platform.
Think of posts on Google My Business as mini google ads your customers can see if you come up in a google search.
Will posting to Google My Business consistently increase your rankings with Google?
The answer to that I can’t say it will 100%, but indirectly it will for sure. But the other thing I do know is that the more love you give Google the more it will love you back.
So, in theory, post to Facebook, post to Google My Business.
Publish a Blog, post to Google My Business.
And so on.
Give love to get love!
If you post photos to Google My Business, make sure your photos are keyword rich – make sure your photos tell the story – in words – of what’s actually in the photo.
For example, if it’s a photo of a piece of jewellery you sell, the name of the photo would be something like “18ct gold 13cm woman’s Pandora bangle”.
See how that is giving the photo a key word rich description. This is what search engines are looking for when a person is typing into the search bar.
It basically means that even if you can’t see the picture – you know what it is, right?
You might even add your business name and place within this description – like Noonan’s Cobram or something like that.
According to Google, businesses with photos see 35% more clicks to their websites and 42% higher requests for driving directions in Google Maps.
And here is another hot tip – make sure your cover photo paints a picture of who you are and what you do.
Can Google My Business help me promote my business in other ways?
The answer to that is yes – because another really cool feature of Google My Business is Google Reviews.
It gives capacity for peer reviews of your business, and Google actually encourages you to ask customers to write reviews too!
How do you get reviews? Well, that’s simple – ask! In fact, 68% of people will give you a review if you ask.
But you’ve got to make it simple! Give them the direct link and in many cases people will simply click and leave you a review.
Oh, and ALWAYS respond to reviews you get – good bad or indifferent.
And if you do happen to get a bad review – it’s ok – most of us humans would look at that, with all the good reviews also and think “mmm someone was having a bad day!”
In summary – here is my list of why you need a Google My Business account:
- To be discoverable – especially locally
- Keep customers informed (maps, phone numbers etc)
- Boost consumer confidence – reviews help build credibility and trust
- Stand out in a crowded marketplace
All for free – I say no more!
Google My Business is a little piece of untapped gold.
If you haven’t ready set yourself up – here’s your nudge.
If you do already have a Google My Business listing, then your nudge is to do the following:
- Post to it regularly – just think of it like a social media platform
- Check all your details are current and correct (especially business hours and contacts)
- Remember to ask your clients or customers to leave you a Google My Business review (send them a direct link).
- And always leave a response to any review you receive!
I’d love to hear some more about what you think of Google My Business – come and join me over on my Facebook Group of Like Minded Business Owners!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jenn Donovan is a marketing strategist and social media extraordinaire, coach and mentor to savvy business owners. Owner and Founder of Social Media & Marketing Australia.
With a passion for making business simple, because it’s isn’t easy but it should be simple or at least simpler, she’s built a reputation for helping other small business owners simplify their marketing and businesses so they can reach their goals, be more profitable and live the dream (finding the freedom they set out to achieve when they started … the illusive small business owner freedom dream …!)
Jenn believes in giving before asking and that’s why she’s the host of the popular Small Business Made Simple Podcast