Marketing a small business can be expensive. Standing out from the crowd can sometimes require a lot of financial investment in online and offline marketing.
But in this modern world aren’t there many ways you can promote and market your business for free? Absolutely! Social media is a great way to engage with current and potential customers and keep them informed about new products, services and deals.
However, if a customer isn’t using social media, but searching online for a business like yours how can you market to these people for free?
The answer is to use Google My Business. A free listing that can inform people all about your business can encourage them to choose you.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) is a local listing service that’s provided by Google. It’s best suited to ‘local’ businesses who conduct their sales or services at least somewhat to people in a local area. For a business like ours that is local, national and global in its customer base, it’s still important.
The reason why it’s so powerful is that it’s built into Google’s search pages. As Google handles around 80% of all online searches, having your business listed on their search results really does matter!
Where GMB becomes very powerful is with maps and location. Once your GMB listing is verified you’re on the map with Google Maps. This is useful because 77% of consumers use Google Maps to search for a local business.
Potential customers don’t even need to be on Google Maps to find you. Simply by searching for ‘plumbers near Exeter’ or ‘hairdressers near me’ will pull up all local plumbers or hairdressers that Google has a GMB listing for nearby.
How can I set up my GMB listing?
The idea of this blog is to talk about optimising an existing Google My Business listing. There are so many excellent articles and videos out there to show you how to set up a GMB listing, so I decided there’s no need for me to produce yet another post!
What are the key things every Google My Business listing needs?
Once you have a GMB listing set up, next comes the task of filling out all of the details.
There are 12 key parts to a Google My Business listing, having all of these parts completed is the first key task. To help explain the key parts, I have created an ‘anatomy of a great listing’ image below. You can download it using the form underneath the image if you want to keep a copy of it and read more details about each key part.
The 12 key parts are:
1. Business name
3. Business category (e.g. cafe)
5. Business address
6. Opening hours
7. Phone number
8. Appointments link
9. Questions & answers
10. Business description
11. Posts on GMB
12. Social media links
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How can it be optimised?
Completing all 12 of the key part of a GMB listing is crucial. Then it’s important to optimise what’s there to provide the best information to entice customers. There are a few steps you can take to optimise your listing.
1. Use accurate information
Firstly, and fairly fundamentally, you need to ensure the content is correct. Is the phone number and website listed correctly? Are you listed as being in the correct business sector?
Test links and interact with the page as if you’ve never seen it before.
2. Focus on visual imagery
The photos at the top of your listing will be the first, and therefore most impactful, part a user sees. Make sure the images are accurate and show off the best of what your business does. Don’t show a photo of a mouldy bread roll for a listing of a cafe!
3. Create your own Q&A
There is an area on a GMB listing for people to post questions and get answers from you. The expectation is that you would respond to any question a user poses. However, people might want an immediate answer. How can you do that?
With the Q&A section, you can pose your own questions. Think of the most common questions people ask you or might ask. You can then ask them to your own page and provide the answer below. That way you’re preemptively solving people’s queries!
4. Provide a clear and powerful description
You need to write a great and focussed description of your business. In less than 750 words you need to tell people what you do and why they should choose you.
Just because you’ve got space for 750 words, don’t feel you need to use them all. Always write to impress people, not SEO or a Google bot. Sometimes keeping it concise and to the point is better, as people don’t want to read an essay.
5. Post updates with GMB
Did you know you can post updates on Google My Business, just like you would with Facebook and Twitter? Very few people realise this, but you can share your latest updates and social media post with Google My Business.
When you log into your GMB account there’s an option to ‘Post’. You can provide an offer, new product, an event or just a general update and create a button to link to your website or wherever is relevant.
Posting at the same time on GMB as you do on Facebook, Twitter etc allows people who find you on a Google search to see the most recent information from your business.
I need help with my Google My Business listing!
If you need help and advice fully optimising your Google My Business listing, get in touch.
We can help you optimise your Google My Business listing to ensure you get more customers and you are promoting your business in the best possible way.
A Google My Business listing is a fundamentally important part of any small business. Being found online via Google search really matters.
Having a GMB listing is a good first step, but getting it fully completed and optimised can make all of the difference.
If you need help, please get in touch today.