Updated: Feb 2
Why is Google My Business So Important?
With numerous businesses in the market it is almost likely that your business could get swallowed in the mix and will not be as noticeable. Google My Business is literally the holy grail for any small business that wishes to engage with its customers online. Oh, it’s free too!
No matter what size your business is, the likelihood of a client searching up the services they need on google are quite high. That is why it is important to make sure that your profile is top notch. This could build clientele and even allow you to gain future loyal customers. So, as a small business you might want to create your profile now as this will increase your visibility with your future prospects.
The process may seem so tedious, however, it is important to understand how this tool is very valuable. A few local companies can testify their stories of how Google My Business has helped their company in one way or another. Peace By Chocolate used it as a way to get their story heard. Between the website visits, navigation and calls for hours of service, there is a 38% chance of clients potentially visiting the store or website and a 29% rate of a client actually purchasing your product. So in essence, you’re winning.
Remember, you get to do essentially anything you want to your account that you feel will increase visibility!
The steps below are a breakdown of the whole process required to create your profile and make it sleek. For businesses that already have an account, consider this as a way to review your current profile and update specific areas where need be.
If you don’t already have an account, visit the following page: https://www.google.com/business/ or you can go to the search bar on google and search “Google My Business.”
Tap on “Manage now” or sign up if you don’t have an account ready yet.
Tip: Use your business email address to set up your profile.
It is good to remember that having an account does not necessarily create a Business profile for you. At this stage, you can edit your business name. If you can’t find it on the drop down menu, select “Add your business to google” and you’re set.
Now that you’re all set with your business name, another easy step will be to add in your business address, however, if you do not have a physical location you have the option to hide your location and notify clients that it is an online service or you work from home and do not want your address to be made public. Google does allow for privacy. The region will still be made public.
In addition to that, you may opt out of typing out your address by using the map feature and simply dragging the marker to the exact location of your business’s physical address.
This is a very crucial step and you might want to pay extra attention here. This is where you categorize your business. Now this is especially important because you’re telling google and your client exactly the type of service you are bringing forward. You will be able to set up both your primary and secondary categories.
We’re almost there!
This is another important part of the process. Adding your contact details. Despite having an address and location of where to find you, most clients like to call in order to get quick feedback, clarification and more before they may actually purchase your product or service.
When you’re editing your business website, make sure it is consistent across all platforms that you may be asked to write the URL for your website. If you do not have a “www” before your website make sure you keep it this way. If you do not have a website, you may add your Facebook profile instead.
Click next once again!
Check “yes” if you would like to be sent updates and notifications then “finish”
Now that we’re done with all this, it is time to verify your account.
How To Verify Your Business
This process may take a bit of time, nonetheless, you need not worry. You can continue to use this time to keep looking for the most effective way of tweaking your profile as you wait.
Google may give you different options of how to verify your account but the most common one would be to mail a postcard to you. Let me break down the steps.
Login into your business profile again: https://www.google.com/business/
Click “verify now”
Like I said earlier, the default option for many businesses is the postcard method. This may take up to 2 weeks to arrive. Once you have the postcard in place, go through step 1 and 2 then enter the 5-digit code that is on the postcard.
Some businesses have other options that include phone or email, make sure you find out which method your business is eligible for before picking the default option.
It may take some weeks before all this appears on google, in the meantime, do download the Google My Business app so you can manage your account from there.
Optimizing Your Business Profile
This process in itself is never ending. No matter how perfect your profile may seem, there's always room to move things around, update important information like addresses, numbers, websites and more. It is always a great way to pass time while waiting for your profile to be verified.
Here in Nova Scotia, specifically Halifax, there are a great number of restaurants that are successfully using this initiative to drive visibility forward. Many of these restaurants are local and are quite small too, however, that has not stopped them from standing out and using google to optimize their product.
Freeman's Little New York is one of many great examples of how to successfully optimize your Google My Business profile.
It is important to have as much information relevant to your product or service so that google can directly match your product to customer searches. Having the right keywords that consumers are using currently will land your service right on their screen. You need to be able to keep up with these trends, that is another reason why optimization is never ending. If you aren't completely sure how to use the relevant keywords, try Google Trends.
You can definitely stand out with photos. more often than not, consumers indulge in what looks nice or what is pleasing to the eye. If you own a restaurant, adding photos of the food, the area, the interior of the restaurant gives the consumer a vision before they even step foot into it. And surely if they like what they see, it's a done deal!
Information regarding address, hours of operation and contact information should always be up-to-date otherwise this could cost you a whole lot of clients,
In addition to that, you can add special features and amenities that make your service different. As a small business you need to have a unique selling point that distinguishes you from the rest. Again, restaurants can showcase their menus, popular dishes, and the different service options they offer.
Lastly, encourage customers to leave reviews on your profile. As much as photos and special features attract clients, there's nothing more powerful than trusting another client that has received your service before them. Always ask clients how their experience was especially after noticing they had a great time or were offered impeccable service. Once they've left a review, make sure you engage with them by actually responding to the reviews as you are trying to build a relationship. Positive interactions will build trust and loyalty. Even though the review isn't the best, you still have to issue out an apology or message them privately and try fix the issue so that trust isn't broken.
Now, go back into your profile, click on the specific area you would like to work on, select “info” and begin to update your profile. This can be done at any point and its an ongoing process. Take control of your profile!
As mentioned earlier, Google My Business is not only limited to shopping companies and restaurants! Check out these local services right here in Nova Scotia using this feature; Harvest Wines,Tax Depot,Summit Spa.
Treat yourself today with a free Google My Business checklist down below to easily create your dream profile for your ideal customer and audience!
Your free checklist also comes with a 30 minute call with a live agent to help clarify the steps for you!