Stop me if you’ve heard this one…
Nobody… because your customers couldn’t easily find you online.
**Pause for uproarious laughter.**
As a small business owner, you hopefully already have a website and social media presence to promote your products or services online. However, these tools alone aren’t necessarily enough to attract new customers and increase your visibility in search results. An often overlooked but seriously effective digital marketing activity you should do right now is to claim and optimize your Google Business Profile.
What is a Google Business Profile?
Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is a free tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Google Search and Google Maps. By claiming and optimizing your profile, you can increase your business’s visibility in local search results, regularly provide accurate and up-to-date information, and even engage with past, current and potential future customers.
Why is a Google Business Profile important for small business owners?
Your Google Business Profile can be a game-changer if you’re struggling to improve your online presence or simply trying to get more leads on the phone or locals through the door. With a complete and optimized profile, your business will benefit from:
Increased visibility in local search results
When potential customers search for products or services in their area, businesses with optimized Google Business Profiles are more likely to appear at the top of the search results. For example, if you own a bakery in Old Brooklyn and someone finishing up a trip to the zoo with their family searches “cupcakes near me” (guilty!) your business is likely to appear at or near the top of the search results.
Always accurate and up-to-date information
No offense to Bing, but there’s a reason “Google it” is synonymous with “online search.” You can use your Google Business Profile as a one-stop shop to ensure that your business name, address, phone number and hours of operation are all correct and up-to-date. You can also add photos, videos and other information that can help potential customers learn more about what you do. This information is especially important for customers who may be searching for businesses on their phone and need quick access to key information.
Invaluable customer engagement
In addition to boosting your presence, Google Business Profile allows you to respond to customer reviews and questions, which can help build trust and improve your online reputation. Engaging with customers and responding to their feedback shows that you care about your customers and are committed to providing a great customer experience. And since these are native Google reviews, guess what shows up first in Google search results?
Insight into how customers find your business
One of the most important features of a Google Business Profile is the ability to track and analyze customer interactions. With insights into how customers find your business, including what keywords people search to find you, you can better understand how your business connects with customers. You can also get a variety of metrics on calls, reviews, bookings and more to see how customers are interacting with your business and where you should spend your time and efforts to improve their experience.
How to claim and optimize your Google Business Profile
Other than the noticeable results, the best part about this marketing tactic is its simplicity. Your Google Business Profile can be up and running in four easy steps:
1. Claim your profile
The first step is just to claim your Google Business Profile if you haven’t already done so. Head over to google.com/business/ and follow the instructions to verify your business.
2. Supply your info
Make sure that your business name, address, phone number and hours of operation are all spelled correctly. Double-check and then check one more time. This would also be a great time to add a business description, photos and other interesting information that can help customers learn more.
3. Start interacting with customers
Monitor your profile regularly (weekly is fine) and respond to customer reviews and questions. You can also post occasional updates and promotions to keep your customers informed.
4. Track and analyze customer interactions
Use the insights provided by Google to better understand how customers find your business and the actions they take next. This can help you make data-driven decisions to improve your online presence and attract the interest of even more customers.
Claiming and optimizing your Google Business Profile is your must-do digital marketing task of the day. In just a few minutes, you can significantly boost your chances of getting found online and attracting more customers to your business.
So now that you’ve read to the bottom of this blog and helped to increase my search visibility… open a new tab and update your Google Business Profile now.