ATTRACT LOCAL CUSTOMER TO YOUR BUSINESS (WITHOUT SPENDING MONEY!)
Your customers are searching for your business and oh no! You are not listed! Or your information is outdated. If your customers can’t find you in search, they’ll spend money with your competition. You’re not alone! Hundreds of business owners have attended my classes every year with the same problem. In this article, you’ll learn the 4-step process to quickly get your business listed in Google local search results.
WHAT IS GOOGLE MY BUSINESS?
Google My Business is a free tool that allows business and organizations to manage their online local presence across Google’s platform, including Search and Maps. No website is required. No social media knowledge is needed. It’s an easy-to-use tool that allows you manage how your business appears in Google searches. Using the tool, you can update your business name, address, hours and even respond to reviews. Your mission is to be in front of potential customers who are searching for your products or services, especially when it comes to local searches.
WHERE WILL YOUR GOOGLE MY BUSINESS INFORMATION APPEAR?
Let’s pretend that I need a haircut. So I go to Google and type in “haircut delavan wi”, let’s check out the results:
#1: GOOGLE LOCAL SEARCH RESULTS
The local search results section will display three businesses related to the search terms and that is near the location. Only 3 business will be listed as featured below the map. These businesses have worked hard to claim these elite spots by gathering reviews from customers and citations (aka links) from other credible sites.
#2: THE MAP RESULTS
When someone searches for your type of business on Google Maps, Google will display all results for the search term in the listed category. As you will see here, the same 3 companies are listed, but there is an ad at the top and more businesses listed below. They are not featured like they are in the local results, but they still appear at the top of the listings.
#3: SIDE BAR (AKA KNOWLEDGE PANEL)
The side bar will appear only when someone searches a business by name and location (example: Great Clips Delavan WI). The information displayed here comes from your Google My Business listing, so if you don’t have a listing, this section will be blank.
For mobile devices, the information the bar will appear at the top of the screen, instead of the side.
Important: If you are not appearing, you don’t exist to the person who is looking for what you have to offer or sell.
SET-UP YOUR GOOGLE MY BUSINESS LISTING
STEP 1: Google.com/business
If you have a Google account, click Sign In in the upper right corner. Otherwise, click Start Now to begin.
STEP 2: SEARCH FOR YOUR BUSINESS
The first thing Google will ask you to do is search for your business. Occasionally your business will already be listed with Google. If it is, you want to capture that listing and claim it as your own. Try searching for your business name If your business appears in the drop-down, click on it and claim your business. If your business name does not appear, continue filling out the empty fields on the page.
TIP: Be very specific with your business category. The category you choose will help Google place you in the local search results for your niche, such as “bait shop in Shabbona.”
STEP 3: VERIFY YOUR BUSINESS
Next, you need to verify your business. In most cases, Google will be sending you a postcard after you confirm your information.
Double check your address and agree to the terms of service. It will take a few days for your postcard to arrive. When it arrives, open that postcard and login to your Google account to verify your listing as soon as you receive the postcard. The code is only good for 30 days!
STEP 4: OPTIMIZE YOUR BUSINESS LISTING
The final step in optimizing your listing is to make sure that your information is up-to-date.
CATEGORIES – The category you choose helps Google decide which searches your local listing belongs in. You must choose from the list of available categories, you can’t create your own. If there’s not a specific category that describes what your business is, pick a general one that still describes it accurately.
HOURS – Entering and update your opening hours, including special hours for holidays and special events.
PHONE – Google prefers you use a phone number with a local area code. Add your 800 number as an additional phone number. Don’t forget to display your local number on your website as well.
WEBSITE – Make sure your website URL (link) is correct.
PHOTOS – Photos help your listing to stand out and give potential customers a glimpse of what you offer. Make sure to use high-quality images that show off your products (if you sell physical products). Don’t forget to add a cover photo, profile photo, logo and additional photos. Pro Tip: Hire a professional to create a 360-view virtual tour of your business for customers. According to Google, listings that have a virtual tour and photos generate twice as much interest as those without.
PLACE TIMELY CONTENT IN FRONT OF YOUR CUSTOMERS
Posting lets you publish your events, products, and services directly to Google Search and Maps. When you create a new post you are placing timely content in front of your customers when they find your business listing in Search. To create a post, log into your Google My Business dashboard, then look on the left side of the screen and click on “Posts”. A pop-up will appear allowing you to create a new post. Add a photo, add 100-300 words to your post, decide if this post should be an event, then add a call to action button to your post.
Here are a few ideas for your posts:
- share daily specials or current promotions that encourage new and existing customers to take advantage of your offers.
- promote events and tell customers about upcoming happenings at your location.
- showcase your top products and highlight new arrivals.
- choose one of the available options to connect with your customers directly from your Google listing: give them a one-click path to make a reservation, sign up for a newsletter, learn more about latest offers, or even buy a specific product from your website.
Once you’ve have published the post, it will appear within moments on Google Search and Maps. Keep in mind that after 7 days (or when event date has passed) Google will remove the post from the default view. However, your customers can still see you post in the historical view under the “Posts” tab.
USE MESSAGING TO CHAT WITH CUSTOMERS
Messaging allows customers who see your Google MyBusiness or Maps listing to contact you directly with the click of a button and have a conversation with you via text message.
After you verify the number, you can set up an autoreply to respond to customers:
MANAGE AND RESPOND TO REVIEWS
Google Reviews provide valuable information about your business to both you and your customers. Reviews posted about your business will appear next to your listing in Maps and Search. Therefore, don’t forget to remind your customers to leave reviews.
To manage your reviews, click on Reviews on the left navigation. You can then sort reviews by All, Replied or Haven’t Replied. I highly recommend that you respond to customer reviews (good or bad!) by clicking on Haven’t Replied. Acknowledging the customer review and replying to it simply represents good customer service.
USE LOCAL EXTENSIONS
Local extensions will display your business phone number, address and other details like ratings and business hours. Local extension information is displayed on a range of places like mobile devices, Google Maps, Google Search Network Partner Sites and Google Search. People searching for your business on mobile devices will be able to call, get directions and visit your website in a single touch.
UNDERSTANDING GOOGLE MY BUSINESS INSIGHTS
Google Insights allows you to get a basic idea of how customers and potential customers are viewing and interacting with your listing. Insights will show you how many times you listing appeared in Search vs Google Maps, along with the number of clicks to your website, requests for driving directions, and phone calls.
DO IT YOURSELF
Attract, retain & communicate with potential and existing customers using Google My Business. Using our 6-step checklist, your customers will easily find you in Google Search and on Maps. What are you waiting for? Download your FREE Google My Business Checklist to get started today!
Whether you plan to do-it-yourself or hire an agency, you need to claim or create your Google My Business listing to ensure that you show up on Search and Maps. Google has some really great resources or if you prefer that someone else does it for you, Highlands Marketing can help. Give us a call at 262-236-5298 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.