Ronak Kothari is the founder of RONKOT, a full-service digital marketing agency.
The digital presence of your business is incomplete without a Google My Business (GMB) listing. Lately, Google renamed its My Business to “Business Profile” to accommodate larger companies with multiple locations.
With Business Profile, you can easily search your business name on Google Maps to quickly claim and verify the Business Profile linked to it. Once your business is verified, you can change the address, store hours, photos, and more.
The former GMB was a preferred way for businesses to maintain their individual listings in search results or on Google Maps. Apart from a Google My Business account, a Business Profile may exist independently. And regardless of whether you built your Business Profile or not, you have no control over the information shown or the reviews collected.
#1. Make your profile a business identity
Your customers are no longer the ones visiting your website to get your first impression. Now, with Google Business Profile, you can redefine the way your customers. Historically, websites received a lot of traffic from consumers looking for basic information about a company, such as its address, phone number, reviews, or images of its single or multiple locations.
Now, you give them the same information on Business Profile. If your customers want key information about your business, they can get those in Google search. Under your business’s location information, you’ll find a photo gallery and an archive of customer reviews.
It will also showcase the common times for customers to visit your company.
It is common for visitors to become customers of a local business without ever seeing its website. Since your prospective customers will also compare you to your rivals, it is crucial that you complete and optimize your business listing to provide the best first impression. In turn, it will maximize your chances of turning those users into customers.
#2. Leverage Google Posts
When you put up a listing on Business Profile, it offers a complimentary display advertisement for your products and services. Try including promotional offers in your posts, as people may check those before visiting you or your site.
When users click on those posts, it displays a thumbnail picture and a short explanation that expands to a full-sized image and additional content.
Opt for a picture with a minimum of 1200×900 pixels for an eye-catching post. To avoid losing a crucial section of the image or the text, pay close attention to how the picture is cropped in the thumbnail version.
The volume of text seen in the thumbnail view is based on the design you chose and whether you include a call to action (CTA) button.
You can choose from the four post templates when creating one:
- What’s New: These posts come with a section displaying the most prominent text in your image. It does not feature a CTA button, but you get four lines of text (around 100 characters). If you choose to add a button, the link will take the place of the last line, leaving you with three lines of text.
- Event Posts: Such posts give you space to provide the name of the event and a time frame for when it will take place. However, each piece of information takes up one of four lines of text. Having a CTA button means you’ll just have one line of text instead of two.
- Offer Posts: These posts contain a title for the offer, a date period, and redemption choices such as a coupon code or a link to your website. You can opt for CTA but at the cost of text lines for the name and date period, leaving you just a single line for your description. Note that the coupon redemption procedures and coupons are only visible to users that click to read the full post.
- Product Posts: This includes a product name and pricing range. Meaning, when you add your CTA button, there is only one line of text left on the page.
#3. Collect and Respond to Reviews
Reviews are a must to improve your visibility and better the map results. The more reviews you have, the better are your chances of gaining visibility in search results. This is because local search results are heavily influenced by customer reviews that provide concrete evidence of what the public thinks about a business.
Also, these work as the general consensus of your business to your prospective consumers, enabling them to choose whether to engage with your company for a business.
One of the highly effective methods of collecting reviews is to ask them. Tap in consumers that have previously shown satisfaction with your product or service. To simplify the review collection process, draft an email template (with adequate personalization) and offer rewards in the form of discounts that build customer loyalty and trust.
Now, for the responses! Whether positive or negative — reply to all reviews to show that you care for your customer. Responding to reviews is a great way to enhance customer experience with your brand as it helps other (prospective) consumers create confidence. Acknowledge and appreciate consumers who submit positive reviews since this demonstrates a degree of involvement after the purchase.
And for negative ones, respond to their queries and apologize publicly if your business is at fault. Taking responsibility for your mistakes or mishappenings is a great way to tell prospective customers that they matter to you.
Ultimately, you should use the Business Profile reviews to analyze what people like the most about your business and where you go wrong. This helps you to make changes accordingly.
#4. Add products and services
You can leverage Google Business Profile to add items and services that help you showcase your business offers, especially when your company does not give away the offerings. Moreover, putting up products and services adds a great content depth to your profile that helps your business rank for other related searches.
Include the name, description, and service or product prices when adding them. Once the user clicks on a product, they can see the full description. Moreover, doing so increases the chances of Google including a link to your items in the relevant category as mentioned below for ‘hair salon’.
#5. Set up messaging
Use the Business Profile to connect directly to potential customers using the chat feature. This feature can help users send a text message to your Google Business Profile straight from their phone. Now that 82% of smartphone users use their device for local searches, this is an excellent chance for your business to add another meaningful customer touchpoint.
Go to the “Messaging” tab in your Google Business Profile dashboard to use this feature. You will then see an option to install it using Google Play or an Apple App Store.
Make sure to configure message alerts on your Google Business Profile dashboard. Select “Customer messages” from the options menu. Alternatively, it is best to check these Business Profile messaging guidelines before using them.
#6. Promote your listing
Even at the local level, the growing competition in digital space translates to boosting your promotional activities. As a business owner, if you are looking to promote your business better and reach the intended audience, use Google Company Profile capabilities to advertise your business. You can do so by clicking on the “Promote” button.
You can try many different methods to advertise your business using this space. To see how well your Google Business Profile is attracting the audience, navigate to Performance. This gives you an overview of how many calls you have had, how many text messages you received and how many customers made the booking or scheduled an appointment.
Additionally, you may learn more about and consider using Google Ads, upload more photographs, get a shorter URL for soliciting reviews, and publish in-depth articles.
#7. Use the Performance Planner
The all new Google Business Profile offers you the ability to manage your local campaign budget using Performance Planner. It is a powerful tool to plan out your advertising budget and analyze how certain campaign tweaks can affect your key business metrics and the bottom line.
Use this tool to forecast your campaigns, experiment with different campaign settings, and identify seasonal opportunities. Moreover, you can leverage a performance planner to plan and manage budgets across accounts and campaigns.
Next: More Improvements to Google Business Profile
One can only anticipate more powerful features and advancements in the coming months with Google’s commitment to Business Profile.
Google’s local search is heavily reliant on the business profiles in Google My Business. However, with this update to Google My Business, the online experience will remain mostly the same (except for branding).
You can anticipate additional functionalities that add value to the existing Google My Business online interface integrated into Google Search, Google Maps, and other Google products.You can create a terrific first impression now that you understand how to claim, validate, and enhance your Google Business profile. Our step-by-step guide is available to help your business appear more often in local search results and attract new consumers.