These are strange days, indeed. All of the rules have changed, and even if it looks like they might be changing again soon, they still won’t be the same as before COVID-19. Your customers, and prospective customers, need to know the new rules in terms of how you are operating your business, and have the reassurance that they will be safe in doing business with you, and that you have safe practices in place.
Why Google My Business is the Sure-Fire Way to Connect with Your Customers Now
When people are looking for a business like yours, they will almost always start their search in Google. That’s why Google My Business is more critical than ever in supporting your business. It is a FREE search tool, which you as a business owner, can control to put you at the forefront of customer searches, including information relating to what's different today with COVID-19 in terms of your masking policies, hand sanitizer, number of people allowed into the store at once, and other info that will reassure your customers before they arrive.
Have you ever wondered how businesses get listed in those top 3 listings you often see when you do a search? And have you wondered just how does Google know so much about these particular stores? And where did those fantastic photos of their shoe displays come from? If you are anything like me, you know very well that there are a LOT more shoe stores than this in this downtown slice of Calgary. Google has its favourites for a reason.
Note the differences in the business hours above: one is temporarily closed with no reopening date; one is showing closed until the next day, and one has modified hours indicating in-store pick-up. These businesses are all keeping their customers informed about their new operating procedures. They are presumably able to keep their doors open and keep their sales going within the new rules. Can you guess which ones are actively managing their listings?
All of this is managed in their Google My Business profile. Did I mention it’s free?
If I haven’t convinced you yet, here’s some more reasons why you can’t afford not to set up your Google My Business profile:
7 Reasons to Use Google My Business
1. It’s FREE
Honestly. No charge. It’s probably already partially and incompletely set up, for that matter. Google would really like it if you took over managing it, at no charge, and take it off their hands. If you do anything to improve your search results, I have to strongly recommend you do this one. The cost-benefit analysis is entirely positive!
2. Google Maps
It helps customers to find your exact location on a map. When someone goes into Google to do a search, or when they are out & about and do a quick search in Google Maps for whatever they are after, it’s the matching Google My Business profiles that show up on their screens.
3. Search Visibility – Detailed Knowledge Panel
You get better search visibility. Not only do you get listed on Google Maps, and in the "Local 3-Pack" Rankings, your Knowledge Graph Panel can appear in search results. Keeping with the theme here (yes, I’m partial to shoes), here is an example of a Knowledge Panel:
Points to note:
- Exact location on the map and full address listed
- Selection of photos, both inside and outside their store
- Review star rating, and LOTS of reviews
- Hours of operation
- Contact phone number
- Suggest an edit link – Google is open for suggestions
- *** Manage this listing *** (more on this below)
- Popular times to visit
As good as this Knowledge Panel is, it could be better! Believe it or not, it’s being managed by their raving fans.
If the store owners were managing their own Google My Business listing, there would not be a “Manage this listing” link, inviting the store owners to take control of it.
4. Call Now Action Buttons within Search Results
Include a “call now” button for mobile users so they can call by tapping your listing, or your website. Make it easy for customers to get in touch with you directly from their search results. Google My Business even gives you a way to track calls initiated this way.
5. Customer Feedback & Suggestions
Gain customer insights and reviews. You can learn a lot about where you can improve from your customer feedback. Great feedback or “needs improvement” feedback is all worthy of reflection, and acknowledgement.
6. Leverage the Power of Customer Reviews
Encourage and actively respond to reviews. Having more than a handful of reviews (i.e.: hundreds of happy customers) for your business provides social proof that you are good to do business with, and eliminates the scepticism that all of your cousins left your 5-star reviews. Engaging with your customers through their reviews validates them, can make them into fans, and shows your integrity.
7. Timely Content & Updates Appear in Search Results
Include posts of current events and updates. This is a relatively new feature which allows you to post quick updates which will be featured in your Knowledge Panel, and may increase your search rankings. The most prominent of these are "COVID-19 Updates" which can keep your customers up to date on your protocols.
Take Control of Your Google My Business Profile Today
OK, you’ve read this far. Have you Googled your own business yet? Has Google tried to cobble together a listing for you, or do you not even show up at all?
If you are convinced by now that you need to take control of your Google Your Business listing, improve your search results, and get in front of your customers for free, then I would love to help you with that.
Get Setup with my Step-by-Step Guide
I’ve put together a simple guide full of valuable tips to setting up your Google My Business profile. Get my guide and follow along to set up your Google My Business quickly and easily today!