For the uninitiated, Google My Business (GMB) is a free and easy-to-use tool by Google that helps businesses to manage their online presence, including Maps and Search. By verifying your business information, you can not only tell your customers the story about your business but also help customers find you. Let your customers see what you offer before they look at your competitors.
If you are a small business and want more sales and leads, you should work on creating, optimizing and promoting your GMB profile. About 44% of businesses have claimed their listings on GMB. As a business owner, you must leverage GMB and grow your business.
Google offers a free business listing that will help increase your Google search results before your competitors.
How does GMB help optimize your business?
Share the latest and useful information: Most users search for information such as opening hours, directions, compare businesses, etc. You can use GMB to share the latest information and offers and tell your customers what makes you special.
Engage with customers: Most users share stories, write reviews and reach out to local businesses from their mobile phones. GMB lets you join the conversation and respond to the comments, reviews, messages, etc.
Set up a free mobile optimized website in few minutes: GMB lets you build a free website. It also makes it easy to create and edit your website from your smartphones and desktop. Additionally, GMB gives you information about which photos get noticed and where the customers are from.
Lets you know how your customers find you: Google My Business lets you know how your customers find you and interact with your listing. You can track information about incoming phone calls, searches fro your business and direction requests.
Here are five new features that will help your business get better exposure.
1. Google Posts
Google posts are a great way to stand out in crowded search listings. It enables you to write posts with text, images, event titles and call to action buttons. An advantage of Google Posts is that it amplifies your optimization power on mobile as customers can sign up or buy directly from their mobile devices.
Google posts are visually more appealing than the usual listings and encourage better interaction. It also helps businesses share their daily specials, showcase products, promote events, and connect with customers directly. Local businesses can invite people to be a part of any special or charitable events that they organize.
Google My Business will help you show the searches in your area. You can use Data Highlighter or schema mark-up on your events page in search console to let Google know about your event.
2. Appointment bookings
This feature is a boon for service providers such as salons, restaurants, healthcare, etc. It is a handy tool to book appointments. Appointment booking can be used to promote the Booking Calendar page of your website. Your customers will be able to see a link and click on it in order to reach your Booking Calendar. In case you do not have a booking calendar or a website, you can choose from Google’s list of scheduling providers.
To choose a provider;
Go to the Booking tab in Google My Business app. If you are unable to the tab, it means bookings aren't available for your business niche or area.
Choose a booking provider by tapping the menu on the top-right
Sign-up with the provider
Within a week, your scheduling account will be linked to your Google My Business account. Once you are linked, you can receive bookings through Google.
3. Question and Answers
You can use the Question and Answers section of your GMB account to answer users' queries about your products, services, pricing, and business details. Google offers you full control and also gives you the power to remove complaints and irrelevant questions from your Q and A section.
This is a useful chat service feature that allows people to send you an SMS. You can download the Allo app to answer the questions.
Follow the steps to download the Allo app on your phone;
Go to the Android Play Store or iOS App Store and download Google Allo
Use the same number that you use for messaging on Google My Business to register on Allo
You will receive messages on Allo instead of SMS
Do note, if you turn the messaging on, your response time will be made public. It is therefore imperative that you respond to your users quickly.
5. Business description
Add a well-written business description to your GMB profile to promote your business. You can include how your brand can make a difference and why do you want to bring about the change.
A well-written description will set you apart from your competitors.
GMB allows a description to include up to 750 characters( roughly 250 words) Therefore, you stand a chance to write something unique and provide your users with some informative content. In short, treat this business description page like your website page and give your best shot.
How to list your Business on Google?
You can list your business by following these simple steps;
Sign up on Google My Business and create a new listing
Enter Your Business Name and Address in the Search Box. Select a listing from the suggested matches or create a new one and provide the details.
Google will verify your business. You will have to wait for 10- 15 days for a postcard with verification code.
Complete the verification and start sharing all the latest information about your business.
Google My Business is a great way to promote your business. It is more than just a review aggregator and as a small business owner, you must leverage it to connect better with people in your region.