While online shopping isn’t going anywhere, neither is buying items in-store. According to a 2022 Epsilon survey, half of respondents rely on online shopping for research, but plan to buy items in-store when they’re ready to make a purchase—especially for retail items like clothing.
If consumers shop online and buy in-store, they will need to know which retailers are located nearby. Think about the first thing you usually do when ordering: Look up restaurants near you. Once you did, you probably opened the restaurant name and found what is known as their Google Business Profile.
Here’s what you need to know about Google My Business, why you need it, and how to set it up.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is now known as Google Business Profile. This is a small box of information about your business, including the industry, where it is located, ratings, comments and photos. This is a completely free feature on Google that allows you to promote your company so that customers can find you.
With this easy-to-use feature, you can update your profile at any time, connect with consumers and monitor how previous customers have interacted with the brand.
What is the value of a profile?
Setting up a Google Business account is just one way to connect with customers that can make a big impact. It doesn’t just serve as a way to find your business (although that’s a big part) – it can also let customers know:
- Your working hours.
- How others felt about their purchase from your store.
- Exactly where on the map you are located.
- Where to comment on their experience.
From your Google Business Profile, customers can call you directly to make a reservation, schedule an appointment, ask questions, and otherwise engage with other consumers. It’s the easiest way to attract and convert customers without creating a live ad or pulling from your marketing fund.
The content marketer
Get weekly insights, advice and opinions on all things digital marketing.
Thanks for subscribing! Watch out for a Welcome email from us soon. If you don’t see it coming through, check your spam folder and mark the email as “not spam.”
Who will set up a profile?
Anyone with a business should set up a profile! It’s quick and easy to do (you’ll see soon enough). And there’s no downside to identifying your business on a map, adding information and actively contacting customers who need your goods or services.
This is a form of local search engine optimization (SEO), or keyword research based on your immediate geographic location. HubSpot Marketing Statistics for 2022 found it 72% of consumers who did a local search ended up visiting a place within 5 miles.
Creating a business profile on Google My Business is for anyone who wants to attract customers to their local storefront, optimize for local searches or drive more traffic and sales.
How to set up a Google My Business profile
Now that you have an understanding of the Google Business Profile marketing potential, I’m sure you’re eager to set yours up. We’ll walk you through a few steps to create your profile and some tips to make it work best for your needs.
1. Visit google.com/business
This is where you will either sign in to your business email account or create a new profile.
2. Enter your business name
This is your one attempt to let Google know the name of your business. Spell it exactly as it appears on your website. Whether that means uppercase, lowercase, or something in between, make sure you’ve captured your business name correctly.
If you change your business name after requesting a verification letter, you can always amend it. Just keep in mind that you need to verify your business again.
3. Choose your business type
On the next page, you’ll tell Google a little about how your business operates. Choose whether your company only sells products online, in-store or if you bring the offer to their homes. You can select more than one option here.
4. Insert your web address
People need to know if your business exists online so they can shop further, get to know your brand more and get more information. Again, you must enter your web address accurately. However, if you don’t have an online presence, you can skip this section.
5. Enter your business category
This phase is where you will identify the industry in which you work. They have many variations of the same keyword here, so you have space to type in whatever is the closest match – but it must fall within a predefined keyword. You can change it to anything else in the future.
6. Add your address and phone number
That’s the whole name of the game here, where you put in your address and phone number. If your business visits customers, you can also enter your company PO Box address.
7. Verify your local listing
So that people don’t go around creating businesses that don’t really exist (as I tried to do for this article), you need to verify that your business is real on the next page. You can choose between the phone number or email you entered at the beginning of the process.
You can update your business information along the way before you verify to make sure it’s ready for the public eye.
The best thing you can do here is to personalize your Google Business Profile as much as possible. This means creating a short description of the business (up to 2 sentences), adding your logo, images of the brick-and-mortar building, and so on. You can add your own Q&A section, host online discussions and even advertise through this feature.
Track and hit the mark
Once your profile is up and running, you can track certain metrics and set KPIs to improve your business’s online presence. Be sure to track these metrics to understand where a customer might fall off and choose another competitor, or what pieces of information are most useful in moving them further down the funnel.
Some points to watch out for:
- Average Click Through Rate (CTR): How many times someone clicked on your profile compared to others on the list.
- Impressions: How many times your business and description popped up for others to see.
- Average position: Where your business sits among the others with that keyword.
How to Optimize Your Google Business Profile
1. Respond to common questions with automated responses
Google’s Business Messages allows you to create up to ten concise FAQs with a limit of 40 characters per question and answers within a limit of 500 characters. In addition, you can include links in your FAQ answers to direct customers to relevant resources on your site. Implementing FAQs and automated responses through Google’s Business Messages helps businesses manage inquiries efficiently, improve response times and optimize available resources.
2. Avoid duplicate content
Posting the same photo, video or text is now considered spam. Furthermore, Google encourages businesses to be careful with their use of logos, as the excessive placement of logos on every photo can lead to problems. To comply with the new guidelines, you must ensure that each post published on your Google Business Profile is unique. By maintaining uniqueness in your posts, you can avoid being flagged for spam and ensure you comply with Google’s content policies.
3. Include keywords on your profile
To improve your online presence, it is recommended to add terms in your profile that people commonly use when searching for your business. However, it’s important to include those keywords organically and avoid keyword stuffing or using irrelevant terms, as these practices can potentially hurt your search rankings.
4. Post content on your profile
By creating posts, you can share a variety of content such as announcements, deals, new or popular items in stock, or event details directly with your customers. These posts allow you to provide timely information and improve the overall customer experience. Just keep in mind that including your phone number on every post is considered “phone stuffing”. So, to avoid getting flagged for this, consider adding a “Call Now” button to your posts.
5. Get Google Reviews
Google reviews are very important to your business, mainly for two reasons: first, consumers rely heavily on online reviews to make informed decisions when choosing local businesses; and second, reviews have the power to influence rankings in local search results. That’s why it’s crucial to encourage your customers to leave reviews for your business. To make it easier for them, you can create a link and share it with your customers in your emails, chat or receipts.
Making an impression on customers can be as easy as setting up a Google Business Profile. Don’t let another customer search on Google and not find you – start one today.