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Google My Business - What is it and why does my small business need it?

Google My Business: Why it’s a Must-Have for your Small Business

 
If you’re a small business owner, Google My Business is a must-have tool for growing your business.  It’s free to use and puts your business front and center in Google’s search results, right where your potential customers are, right when they’re ready to buy.

 

97% of Google’s users have searched online to find a local business.

* Source: Safari Digital

 

What is Google My Business (GMB)?

Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool provided by Google that helps business owners manage their online presence and connect with customers.  It helps you to reach potential customers who are searching for the exact product or service that you provide, in the location that you provide it.  And it helps you to connect with them at the exact time that they are actively looking to make a purchase or a booking.

In order to use GMB, you’ll need to first set up a GMB Profile. This profile contains information about your business location (or locations), contact details, your opening hours, and the type of products or services that your business provides.  This profile can then appear in Google’s search results when a user searches for your business, or for the products or services that your business provides.

 

Google My Business Management Service

 

GMB is far more than a simple Directory Listing

As well as helping you to reach the right customers at the right time, GMB provides the unique ability to engage with these potential customers and build trust.  Which of course, leads to more sales and more bookings.

As a business owner, your GMB profile will allow you to;

  • Display professional images of your business (GMB profiles with photos receive 42% more requests for directions than those with no photos – * Source: Google)
  • Provide driving directions to customers (86% of people use Google to find the location of a business – * Source: Backlinko)
  • Display customer reviews (89% of consumers read online reviews before purchasing a product – * Source: Trustpilot)
  • Publish answers to questions that potential customers ask about your business
  • Post regular updates about your business and promote special offers via your listing
  • And it can even allow smartphone users to call your business directly from your GMB listing, without having to copy and paste your phone number. (60% of all smartphone users use this feature. * Source: Google)

And depending upon your business type, a potential client can also perform other actions directly from your GMB listing, such as making a reservation, ordering products, or booking an appointment.

Here are a few examples of category-specific features that you may have access to;

  • Hotels can display class ratings, hotel amenities, highlights, and accept online booking directly from their GMB profile
  • Restaurants and bars can upload current menus, share photos of their dishes and accept table bookings directly from their GMB profile
  • Service-oriented businesses can display a list of services that they offer, and product-oriented businesses can display their products and pricing information

 

But the real ‘Super Power’ of your GMB Listing is this …

The real ‘super power’ of a GMB listing, however, is its ability to highlight your business to brand new customers, who are not familiar with your business and would never search for you by name.

 

84% of searches for a business are ‘discovery searches’

* Source: BrightLocal

 

A discovery search is where a user will search for a product or service type, rather than a specific brand or business name.  For example, “Lake Como Hotel” or “restaurant near me”.

This means that a mere 16% of potential customers will actually search for a business by name.   Leaving 84% of potential customers who will search to discover which businesses are nearby.

Therefore, if you’re not targeting discovery searches, you’re leaving a massive 84% of potential business on the table, right where your smart competitors are reaping the rewards.  (Hint: they’re using GMB to do it).

And while this represents an enormous opportunity for all business types in all locations, it’s even more valuable if you operate in a location or industry that services tourism.  After all, most tourists are unfamiliar with their surroundings.  They don’t know where to eat, where to visit, which tours or activities are available.

So they search for it, online.

 

Almost half (48%) of activity/tour/experience bookings happen while travelers are at their destination

 

Mobile searches for “things to do/activities” + “near me” have seen a 6X increase over the last two years

* Source: Google

 

Some other statistics to consider

 

Discovery Searches Convert

 

78% of location-specific mobile searches result in an in-store purchase

* Source: SEO Tribunal

 

Customers who perform a discovery search on Google know exactly what they’re looking for and they are ready to make the purchase or booking.  After reviewing and researching the options available to them, these customers are at the final stage of their purchasing journey and they are ready to move forward.  The businesses that appear in discovery searches are the ones who will reap the rewards from these highly motivated and qualified customers.

 

Reviews Matter

 

88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations 

* Source: Bright Local

 

Independent reviews are an essential ingredient for any business that wants to build trust and credibility with new and returning customers.  As the world’s largest search engine, Google is the first place your customers are looking – and leaving – online reviews.

Your GMB profile allows you to easily manage and respond to Google reviews, and demonstrate that you care about their experience as your customer.  Responding to Google reviews, both negative and positive is essential.  Here’s another statistic to think about;

 

Customers are 1.7 times more likely to visit a business that responds to negative reviews

* Source: Google

 

If you’re not visible, you’re not credible

 

62% of consumers will disregard a business if they can’t find them online

* Source: Safari Digital

 

Businesses that have a complete online presence provide potential customers with a trustworthy and legitimate impression. Likewise, those that are lacking a strong online presence give the opposite impression.  Online searches for business information and business contact details are now so commonplace that customers no longer trust a business that doesn’t appear in search, or is lacking a strong online profile.

 

You have a golden opportunity …

 

56% of local businesses have not yet claimed their Google My Business profile

* Source: Safari Digital

 

Remarkably, over half of all local businesses are not taking advantage of the unique features offered via GMB, by not even claiming their GMB profile.  And many, many more are not using GMB to its full effect, by not having a fully optimized GMB profile that is regularly updated.

That leaves a huge 84% of search traffic that most businesses are simply not getting in front of.

This presents a golden opportunity for the businesses that do appreciate the value of their GMB listing and do take the time to complete it fully, add photos, add regular posts, respond to Q&A’s, respond to reviews and set up the ability to accept bookings, reservations, etc. if these are relevant to your business type.

If this sounds like a lot of work, we can help you via our Google My Business Management Service.

 

How does GMB Management work?

For business owners who don’t have the time to learn how to fully optimize their GMB profile, add regular updates, respond to reviews and questions, and stay on top of spam-fighting, our monthly GMB Management Service can be the perfect, hands-off solution.  This allows you to concentrate on running your business while leaving the day-to-day optimization and management of your GMB profile to a team of professionals who know exactly how to get your GMB profile in front of the largest audience of customers possible.

We’ll start with a full audit of your current GMB profile (or set it up for you).  We’ll then undertake some competitor research to ensure that your profile is appearing in the right categories.  After fully optimizing your GMB profile, each month we’ll take care of regular posts, we’ll respond to questions and reviews, and make any necessary updates to your profile.  On top of that, we’ll even monitor and fight any unauthorized edits or spam on your listing (yes, unfortunately this is a thing), and we’ll report on your success each month.

If this sounds good to you, please get in touch to check if we have availability for your business type in your location.  Our mission will be to get your business to the top of local search, front and center where future clients will discover you, therefore we only ever work with one business type in each location.

 

Customers are looking for you, right now.  A fully optimized, regularly updated GMB profile, that takes advantage of all available features is the fastest and most effective way to get in front of them.  If you’re not using GMB, you’re not reaching the vast majority of those customers.  It’s that simple.  So get your GMB profile up and running ASAP, or get help if you need it!

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