More than ever before, local businesses can benefit from a strong internet program. According to a survey by Search Engine Land, 85 percent of consumers reported using the internet to find local businesses.
Google®, the world’s #1 internet search engine, offers a number of services that can help companies grow business.
While products like Google AdWords™ advertising service can provide solid results, there are costs involved. However, one often overlooked Google feature is Google My Business (GMB), which offers many tools to help drive awareness and sales — and it’s absolutely free!
This service has gone through a few name and feature changes over the last couple of years, but if your business previously used Google Places for Business or Google+ Pages Dashboard, your account has been automatically moved to GMB.
GMB has many features that can help you communicate with your customers (and potential customers). Additionally, claiming your page helps your business place higher in Google search results — a great benefit when a potential customer might be searching online for what you provide, but has never heard of your company.
Here are just a few of the benefits GMB provides and examples of how you can use them to help grow your business:
Claiming your page (you can do that by clicking the “Get on Google”button at the top of this page and following the steps provided) automatically puts your content on Google Search, Google Maps and Google+. After claiming your page, rather than just seeing your business name and address, you can provide company or product descriptions, hours, specific items or services or other information, which will appear in appropriate areas of searches.
It doesn’t matter if customers are searching for your products or business with a computer, tablet or smartphone, your GMB information will be formatted so they can learn more and easily find you (or call you!). By automatically detecting the device, GMB delivers the precise information your customers need. For example, mobile customers will see driving directions through Google Maps as well as your phone number so they can simply click to call you—all without leaving the mobile search page.
GMB lets you communicate important information about your business. You can update your page any time and as often as you like. Information like hours and location probably won’t change often, but daily specials, sales or weather-related closings can be updated on an as-need basis as often as you like.
GMB also allows customers to rate and recommend your business. This provides a feedback loop allowing you to address customer complaints and open a dialog —which is better than just losing a customer who then talks about a bad experience.
Remember, your content will not appear on Google My Business until you verify and claim your business (see above). But don’t stop there. Add content to your GMB page to take advantage of this powerful — and free! — business tool.