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A Google My Business listing (GMB) is a free, powerful marketing tool provided by Google that can be quite simple to tackle. It’s designed for companies with brick and mortar (physical) locations, and not restricted to retail businesses. Think of it as a mini website for your company with much of the pertinent information your customers seek front and center:

  • Your address
  • Website link
  • Map/directions
  • Open hours
  • Phone number
  • Products
  • Services
  • Pricing
  • Reviews
  • Photos

“I have a great website with a lot of wonderful information and content. Why do I need to spend time on a Google My Business listing?”

Great question. One, your GMB listing may be the first impression a potential customer gets of your business when they do a Google search. Two, GMB is a Google tool, and Google will prioritize its own results over yours. Plus, Google will always own the box in the upper right of the search results page with the most pertinent information. One of Google’s primary goals is to solve challenges and help answer questions for users searching on a Google browser. A robust GMB listing that answers questions is going to land near the top of the search page. You want your GMB to rank high in searches relevant to your business.

Here’s an example of how a potential customer might see your GMB listing. I’m itching to (safely) get out of the house for a change of scenery, and I heard that some drive-in movie theaters reopened recently, so I Googled “drive in theater near me,” and here’s a screenshot of the search result:

The theater at the top of the list is the one nearest to me, and the block in the center is its Google My Business listing. There’s a lot of helpful information right here for me. One, I see a box labeled website that likely links to this business’ site where I can hopefully get more information about movie selection, times, prices, etc. Two, I see a positive rating for this location, 4.3 out of 5 stars with more than 300 reviews (the high number of reviews indicating it’s probably not just friends of the business reviewing it, but legitimate customers).

Claim your stake!

I also quickly discovered something this business should know right now: it has not claimed its own listing. The photos tipped me off, as the three on the screen are not images of what you’d expect to see for a drive-in theater, such movie screens, customers in line at the snack bar or rows of cars lined up ready for a show. Instead, the photos are tangentially related to the location, the main one resembling a carnival or car show with the theater in the background. A click lets me know this is a customer’s photo and not from the business.

“How do I claim my Google My Business listing?” is a common question. See in the middle of the GMB box where it says, “Own this business?” That’s where business owners can start to claim their listings. If you click the box, and the business has been claimed by:

  • the business owner
  • someone associated with the business
  • or someone not from the business,

you’ll see a message that the business has already been claimed.

If your business has been claimed and not by you or one of your associates, there’s a Request Access link to alert Google and get the process started to get the listing reassigned to you.

If your business has not been claimed, that’s the first thing you should do! Claim it! Click the Manage Listing button. Google offers several ways to verify you’re associated with the business, such as getting an automated call to the phone number associated with the business or an email sent to an address related to the website associated with the listing. A snail mail postcard can also be sent to the business address with instructions on claiming the business listing.

Unfortunately, it’s relatively easy for someone not connected to your business to claim your listing, and it may be a time-consuming hassle to get the listing back, so claim it as quickly as possible.

I don’t see my GMB!

If your business does not already have a Google My Business listing, it’s easy to create a basic listing. You just need a Gmail address. Just visit Google My Business and click the blue Manage Now button in the upper right corner. Sign in with your Gmail address (or create one if you don’t have a Gmail address), and Google will walk you through the basic setup. Once you have the primary information for your business on the listing, you’ll want to bolster it with some content to attract more customers.

One thing to consider regarding Gmail addresses: if your GMB listing (or any other Google properties) are associated with an individual’s Gmail address, you could potentially lose access to those assets if that person left the company. That’s probably not a huge deal if the individual is the owner or founder, but it does merit consideration. We find it’s usually best to create a corporate Gmail address and attach all of the Google properties to it. That allows you to share access to that account, either with other people on your team (to make GMB updates) or with external partners like Savoir Faire (to work within Google Analytics or to do advanced setup of GMB).

Marketing tools within GMB

When I click the Manage Now button at google.com/business, here’s what I see for our Savoir Faire Marketing/Communications listing:

Look at the center of the screenshot where it says, “Stay connected during COVID-19.” Google updated GMB for the current pandemic so businesses can list their new/temporary hours and share updates related to the pandemic with customers, such as “We’re offering curbside pick-up.”

That’s an easy-to-use value add, as lots of your existing and potential customers have more questions about the status of your business during the pandemic.

Here are some other tools to take advantage of within your GMB listing:

Posts: This is a new feature where you can let customers know what’s happening within your business with posts on the topics:

  • COVID-19 updates
  • Customer offers
  • General business updates
  • Events
  • Products you want to highlight

These posts can – and should! – include images to attract more eyeballs. You can use these posts to link back to your website where customers can gain more information about your products or services.

Savoir Faire uses GMB posts for our clients, and in just a few weeks, those posts helped their GMB listings become a top source of referral traffic back to the clients’ websites.

Photos: Images, static and moving, hold powerful attraction for customers and Google. You can include a wide variety of images, exterior and interior, of your locations or add some of your products or images of your services in action. You can upload a 360-degree view of your location or videos of you and your team, your shops, whatever you feel is pertinent to the business. Your customers can add images to your GMB listing, too. A robust selection of images will help increase your visibility with Google searches.

Reviews: You can use GMB to reply to customer reviews, but we urge caution. Of course it’s easier to respond to a good review. “Thank you so much for the wonderful feedback!” But, here’s a post on thoughtful approaches to responding to bad reviews.

One more tip, when you change information related to your business, be sure and update your GMB. You don’t want a customer showing up when your GMB says you’re open and the sign in the window says “Closed.” There are some deeper tactics for strengthening your Google My Business listing  – some might even call them “hacks” – and we’re here to share those with you.

What is a Google My Business listing?

A Google My Business listing (GMB) is a free, powerful marketing tool provided by Google. It allows businesses to claim and add information for their locations in a listing. It’s designed for companies with physical locations, and not restricted to retail businesses. It can be relevant for local businesses that travel to client sites as well with new features allowing you to put in coverage areas.
Some use it as a mini website for their companies, as it provides information customers seek such as the business address, website link, map/directions, open hours, phone number, reviews and photos.

How do I create a Google My Business listing?

If your business does not already have a Google My Business listing, it’s simple to create a basic listing. You just need a Gmail address. Visit google.com/business and click the blue Manage Now button in the upper right corner. Sign in with your Gmail address (or create one if you don’t have a Gmail address), and Google will walk you through the setup.

How often should I post on Google My Business?

A Google My Business Post is a free feature of Google My Business where business owners share information with customers about what’s happening with posts on the topics: COVID-19 updates, offers, business updates, events and products you want to highlight. These posts can include images. Posts can also link back to a business website where customers can gain more information. Posting routinely can have great benefits for any business looking to stay top of mind and in front of their customers. You have the ability to post updates, promos, events and many other type of relevant information to help your customers learn about your business and more easily find you.
Don’t have a Google My Business listing and need assistance setting it up. Contact us today and we can help you get started.

 

Don’t have a Google My Business listing and need assistance setting it up. Contact us today and we can help you get started.

 

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