Google, and its expansive product offerings, can often intimidate small businesses; leaving them missing out on things that can truly help them improve their sales and reputation management.
It hurts my eyes every time I see it when I search for a prospective or new client’s business on Google.
“Own this business?”
It’s worse than nails on a chalkboard to me, for so many reasons.
Claiming, verifying and completing your Google Business Profile is one of the most important tasks/mini-projects that you can do to help your business look better online. With Google currently owning nearly 90% of the online search traffic, it’s not that difficult to see why having your ducks in a row with Google Business Profile is important, but let’s break down the top 4 reasons why I personally think that having a super-spiffy Google Business Profile is important to the success of your business.
Reviews & reputation management
Unless you have gone completely off the grid, it’s likely that you have used online reviews to influence or at least help you make a decision. In fact, 91% of consumers aged 18-34 trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations from friends and family. That’s a number that is too big to be ignored. If you haven’t claimed and verified your Google Business Profile, you could be missing out on a treasure trove of positive feedback that you could be using to help your business succeed! Or, you could be neglecting people that have had negative experiences and it looks like you’re ignoring them. These negative reviews could keep you from acquiring new customers, just because one person had a less than stellar experience.
Who, what, when, where & how?
Google Business Profile lets you complete and edit all of your business’ information in an easy-to-use and attractive interface. It’s changed and evolved over the years, but you can essentially turn your entire profile into a small website of sorts where you can include your opening hours, where you’re located, who works for you, how to contact your business, what services you offer and more. When you consider that so many potential customers and clients are finding you for the first time through your Google Business Profile, it’s increasingly easy to see why having this information completed –and up to date!– is important.
Analyzing who has found you and from where
Love it or hate it, Google has somewhat forcefully carved its way into our every day lives. If you have an Android device, you’ve likely been prompted to review places that you have been at — or places that you have even been close to. Anytime anyone accesses your business profile on Google, it uses your location information to show the business owner where you are and what actions you have taken; whether that be looking for directions, visiting your website or calling your business.
This information can be incredibly important to your business’ marketing efforts and can help you to emphasize areas of your business that are already interesting your customers. If you see that people from a certain area code are finding you more than from another, a Google Adwords campaign could help you to further expand your operations in that geographical area, as well as familiarize others with who you are and what you are doing. The more people that know about you the better your chances are at growing your customer base and increasing sales!
It’s all about being social
I would feel great remorse if I didn’t mention Google’s failed social network, Google+. What seemed like a great idea at the time, Google never really was able to establish the network in a way that it could compete with Facebook, Instagram or even Twitter. Although Google is a powerhouse, they still have had their fair share of failures and duds, but with Google Business Profile they have taken the remnants of Google+ and made them incredibly functional and practical.
Posts made through your Google Business Profile are visible for a week and then they kind of “disappear”. This is good for a few reasons. First, it requires businesses to be more active and engaging with their customers, which is exactly what the modern customer wants. Second, your Google Business Profile allows you to see what your competitors are posting and talking about, too. Is a competing tour provider running a promotion for a day-tour? Do you have something similar or even better than what they have? Throw it into a post, create a call-to-action and see how it performs.
Like all social media, it’s a process of trial and error, so don’t be afraid to play around and get creative. This is an extremely handy feature that allows you to create a dialog with your customers that allows you to build trust and a solid reputation with the public.
Do you have questions about Google Business Profile and how it can benefit your business? Do you need help getting your business claimed, verified and looking pretty on Google? Give me a call or drop me an email today, and let’s talk!