Recently, Google hosted an insightful Google Partners Connect session on how local businesses can grow their local presence using Google My Business. With the help of members from their Get Your Business Online Team, Google shared insights and strategies that small businesses can easily implement to make the most of your online advertising budget.
Jessie, a Partner Enablement Manager at Google, discussed the current landscape of users and the importance of mobile, and shared information of how Google can help small businesses stand out and reach the right people.
The Current Landscape – Mobile Is Key
Online only and brick-and-mortar stores alike, they both understand how mobile is important. People are looking for nearly instantaneous answers today, so it’s important to be visible to customers right when they’re looking for you or your services. Mobile has become a game changer and pre-requisite to doing business.
- A local restaurant menu and hours – because I’m hungry RIGHT NOW
- A local locksmith – because you’ve locked yourself out
A Super-Empowered Customer
After evaluating last year’s data of customers using mobile, they determined that a super-empowered customer took place – today’s customers are:
Let’s look at these 3 features more closely…
Today’s Customer is Curious:
Customers today have become research obsessed and want to know everything about everything – immediately! People are curious about even small details and are searching for the answer because they know they can get the information quickly.
What Does This Mean for Local Businesses?
Every choice a customer makes is an informed decision. We are seeing an increased growth for the search term “best”, such as “what is the best travel pillow”.
We’re also seeing that specific search terms are growing. For example, in previous years searchers may have simply searched for “best laptop “, whereas today we’re seeing more specific search terms such as “best laptop for 3D animation”.
This means that the importance for small businesses to become available online has become more important than ever before. It’s important that businesses stand out and make their products and services available to the customers who are looking for them – when they are looking for them.
Today’s Consumer is Demanding:
Customers are expecting a seamless experience where they don’t have to re-introduce themselves. They don’t want to have to spell out their requests, and they want apps and sites that are customized to their location. They are checking that a product is available and in stock before they go in to buy. Customers are also expecting businesses to interpret their actions, the business that can do that better can expect to see more results.
Today’s Consumer is Impatient:
Today, customers are willing to take their time to research purchases, but they want their experience to be seamless, especially on mobile. Because mobile is facilitating the way customers are making purchases, it’s driving the expectations higher. Customers are making more last minute and impromptu decisions, searching at the exact moment that they need it. Customers are searching for businesses that are ‘open now’ or ‘near me’ to solve their problems quicker.
Reaching Local Customers Using Google My Business
Anastasia, the SMB Lead Educator joined the presentation to discuss how Google can help business reach local customers using Google My Business. Google My Business is a great tool for businesses to reach local customers because it allows local business to appear the very moment someone searches for your business or the products and services you deliver.
Google My Business allows businesses to share updates and information using fresh content, it allows businesses to engage with local customers and allows businesses to discover and make themselves available to new customers.
A Complete and Updated Google My Business Listing Adds Value
A Google My Business (GMB) listing is a great tool for local business and allows businesses to easily be discovered. Creating a complete and updated listing, will facilitate that task. Add as much information as you can to your profile. The complete listing shows more value and provides more useful information. Google can see that complete listings have more views and customers are more likely to visit and make a purchase.
1 – Stand Out by Sharing Fresh Content:
Businesses can share more than just standard business info such as hours of operation, menu etc. You can also share fresh content and updates such as upcoming events, new products releases and more. These are known as ‘Posts’ and expire after 7 days, so you can share timely information quickly.
Examples of GMB Posts
There are currently 5 different types of posts that can be shared on GMB:
- Business Info
Creating the Perfect GMB Post
To make the most of your GMB posts, make sure they are informative and insightful. Don’t bury the lead, make sure the purpose of the post is clear and understood by your customers. Make sure that you’re including a call to action so your customers know exactly what to do next.
Google My Business Insights
GMB is also offering some information about how successful your posts are and how they’re performing through their ‘Insights’ feature. You can see which posts resonate with people, provide value, and see what posts are being engaged with. Allowing you to develop more concise and informative posts for your customers as time goes on.
Videos on Google My Business
Videos have become a popular and innovative tool for digital marketers and they’re growing in popularity across all social media platforms. GMB allows businesses to share video content on their Google My Business listing, but how do you make it effective? Anastasia shared a few tips to creating optimal video content.
- Attract your customers from the very beginning
- Brand placement is important, being too salesy can be ineffective. Instead, show customers how your products are used in a natural setting.
- Make a human connection with your viewers. The more of a connection you can establish, the easier it will be to communicate with your viewers.
- Lastly, but, very important nonetheless – include a call to action. Tell your viewers what they should do next; call, make a reservation, or click to find out more.
Google My Business Websites
For new business who are just starting out, it may take time to develop a full, comprehensive website. GMB offers a new feature that allows businesses to quickly create websites in a matter of minutes that can be added to your GMB listing. Businesses can choose from website templates, upload photo’s, add business details and contact information and create posts.
Google My Business listings that contain a website, get more clicks than those who don’t – so this makes for a great solution for businesses that are just starting out.
2 – Engage with Your Customers Using Google My Business
After reviewing all the great ways to share fresh content with local customers, Anastasia shared some helpful tips to properly engaging with your local audience using the platform.
Businesses that can quickly answer questions, provide solutions to issues and answer positive reviews will see a more loyal customer following in the long run. Start asking customers to share reviews of their experience using your services – the more reviews you have, the more likely new customers will be to convert.
Customers Can Book Appointments Using GMB
As stated, customers are becoming more impatient and demand solutions to their problems quicker. Google My Business works with booking agents to allow users to book quicker, right when they are searching.
Using the Questions & Answers feature on your Google My Business listing, you can quickly answer questions customers may have regarding your products and services. You can flag and highlight common questions such as, “do you offer gluten free options” and list your response directly on your listing for future customers to see.
3 – How to Connect with New Potential Local Customers
Now that we’ve shared how to best use the tools available, Anastasia shared some insights into how you can use GMB to connect with new potential local partners.
This great tool that we mentioned briefly earlier, which will help you understand how your GMB is performing. It will allow you to see how many people you have reached, and how they came to find you. You can also compare direct searches to discovery searches.
Customers who may not have known your business by name, by were looking for a product
People who searched for your business by name.
Google My Business and AdWords
You can connect using your Google AdWords to fine tune your online advertising campaign. You can focus your ads on the audiences that matter while tracking and measuring your ad campaign.
Verify and Manage Your GMB Listing
It’s easy to claim your Google My Business Listing and start using these great features. Here’s how you can get started:
- Gyob.com/business – then search for your business
- Search for the name of your business and add your business details.
- Verify your business; you can do this a few ways:
- By Phone
- By Postcard
A certified Google Partner can help you claim your GMB listing. For more information about how you can get started using Google My Business to reach a local audience, contact the Google Partners at Ontario SEO today.