Google has just made life a whole lot easier for local business owners with the launch of its exciting new tool, Google My Business. It combines Places for Business, Google Local and Google+ Business under one easy to use dashboard. Now, managing multiple Google accounts has never been simpler and the marketing advantages are endless.
What’s more, it’s free with no hidden costs. Here is a quick summary of some of the services included:
Google+ (Google Plus): This is Googles answer to Facebook and is a social networking platform. You can share messages, photos, videos and links to your followers, directly from the My Business page.
Reviews: Google has an entire review platform which gives businesses ratings based on their reviews. This is all manageable through the main page.
Google Analytics: You can very quickly and easily see all of your websites stats right on your business dashboard.
Insights: Insights gives you vital information on your visibility, engagement and trends in the market.
Maps: Manage your businesses location and information available on Google maps.
Hangouts: Video chats with your customers.
As mentioned earlier, this is all a free service. If you currently use Google Places for business or Google+ Pages to manage your online presence you will already have been upgraded.
Not only that but they are fine-tuning the My Business platform for mobile use too and it is available in both iOS and Android.
6 Ways That YOU CanTake Advantage of My Business Right Now and Quickly Overtake Your Competition
Be easily found on Google
Brand Awareness is vital for any business. How can you gain customers if people don’t know who you are or what your product is? As a local businesses, you will know how hard it can be to get high rankings on Google, especially if you are in competition with bigger and more well-known brands.
So in order to create better brand awareness your first step would be to create an effective search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy to make your site more searchable on Google. Research has proven (and you probably know from your own personal experience) that 75% of Google users never scroll past the first page. This highlights how having a poor Google ranking can have a detrimental effect on your business and branding because potential customers won’t be able to find you.
This is where Google My Business steps in. When you create a My Business account, fill out your information as thoroughly and accurately as you can, it will help your business to show up on Search, Maps and Google+.
Remember to include information such as the location of your business, your opening times, contact information, website address and pictures of your business.
Ensure that the information you put on Google is the exact same information that you have on your website and any other places where your website is listed. Consistency is very important in SEO and it can affect your ratings if there are any contradictions.
The more information you add, the more Googles search algorithms will work to help with your ranking.
Together, all of these features will give your customers an inside glimpse of your business and make it easier for them to make the decision to engage with you. As a result of doing this, when potential customers are searching specifically for your business or simply doing a broad search on business within your industry, they will be more likely to find your information and visit your website.
Connect with existing and potential customers
As well as making your business easier to find in Google searches, you can also manage your Google+ page from your My Business dashboard. It has taken a while for people to get used to the Google+ social media, and most people still prefer and use Facebook and other social media sites but bear in mind that your Google+ business page gives a significant boost to your SEO and increases trust in your brand.
Google measures who comments, shares or +1’s your post, the captures the information and identifies your audiences identity, activity and interests and then delivers your content in front of this demographic in organic search results.
The other advantage of using Google+ is this; while other social media sites place a “no follow” tag on any link you post, Google+ doesn’t. So if you posted a link on Facebook for example, any links that you put in your posts (to your website or special offers etc.) they would not influence your business page ranking. Google on the other hand, treats them as web pages which then helps increase your sites visibility and page rank.
But even without the SEO benefits, Google+ is also a brilliant way to engage with your audience and build a long term relationship with them which will make people trust your company more. We all know that people trust word of mouth recommendations, especially if it is from people that they know. So when followers and customers are engaging with your content and reposting it on their own pages it won’t take long for others to notice that you have a brand and reputation that can be trusted.
Just as on any other social media platform, if you expect any kind of results on Google+ you need to be consistent and post regularly. If you have a company blog, post the links on your page and ask your audience to read and share them. Post fun pictures of your and your employees so that your followers can get to know you better and have a clearer picture of who you are. It will encourage brand loyalty.
It is worth reminding you that any content you share should be relevant and interesting to your audience. You don’t want to keep posting promotional sales messages all of the time. The point of Google+ is not to push your products or services on people but to create a close knit community which will inspire trust and loyalty in your brand.
Hangout with your customers
If you are not already familiar with it, Google Hangouts are another fun way to connect with your customers. You can hangout with up to 15 customers at a time. Another cool feature is the fact that you can make it a Hangout on Air, which allows you to stream and archive your video directly to YouTube so other customers can watch you either now or in the future.
It is the perfect way to build engagement and a loyal community. Use it answer questions, share information about your new brands or even give online demos of your product or service.
Check the Performance of your activity
It is all very posting on Google+ and hosting Hangouts with your customers, but if it could all be a waste of time and effort if they are not producing the desired results.
This is where the Insights tool comes in for your Google+ page and Analytics for your presence across all Google platforms. Both of these tools make it very easy for you to see how many views you are getting not only in general but you can even see how many people are reading your specific Google+ posts. It even gives you information on how many people have checked out your business on Google Map searches.
But that’s not all. The Insights and Analytics tools will even show you who is engaging with your brand, what kind of content they like and how frequently they want to see it. This allows you to target your information at the right people, knowing that they will read it. After all, there is no sense in putting a lot of time and effort over a web presence that nobody is even going to engage with.
Encourage and Respond to Customers Reviews
Whether you love them or you hate them, customers will want to leave a review about your business. It is part of online culture and people will either want to rave or complain about any customers experiences that they have had.
If they are going to do it, you might as well make it easy as possible for them. They could also generate many more sales for you too as many customers decide to purchase a product or service based solely on what other people are saying.
My Business makes it easy by allowing you to register your business so that customers can add their rating simply by Googling your name or company.
The dashboard even makes it easy for you to promote the reviews on your Google+ page and even monitor reviews on other platforms like Yelp. This will help you to easily respond to positive reviews, while professionally and politely dealing with any negative reviews. You will know exactly what people are saying about business and no review will slip through the net. It is a very valuable asset for your business.
Create an AdWords Express Account
It probably won’t surprise you to discover that at the bottom of the My Business dashboard there is a button that will bring you to an AdWords account. After all, advertising is where Google makes most of its money.
The express version is a very useful new feature for small business owners as it will allow you to quickly create campaigns. It is very similar to the Facebook Advertising set up, where you simply write your ad and set your budget and then AdWords will do the rest by making sure that the right customers will see your advertisement at the most relevant times.
Just as most of your customers are likely to visit your site while browsing on their mobiles, Google My Business will allow you to do the same with iOS and Android apps. The mobile streamlined dashboard makes it easy for you to simply swipe through all of your tools and data allowing you change date and manage your online presence from wherever you are.
Claim Your Page today
With Google My Business, you will find all of the best Google tools all ready and waiting for you simply by logging into your dashboard. It makes management of your online presence fun and easy with the added benefit of working along the most powerful search engine in the world.
As you can see it is easy to use, but as with all aspects of online marketing, your web performance is only as good as you can make it. It is very important that you include as much relevant information about your business as you can. If it is done right, it really can make a difference between your online success or failure.
If you are in any doubt or would like more helpful tips and advice on how to make the most from this great tool, please don’t hesitate to contact us.