Google My Business, now known as Google Business Profile, is a free listing platform you can take advantage of so potential customers can easily find you in Google Search and Google Maps.
There are many online directories out there for local businesses so why use Google My Business to get local customers?
First – it is free.
3.5 billion searches are made on Google every single day and 46% of it or 1.6 billion searches are specifically for local information.
In fact, 97% of users used search engines to find a local business.
Creating a Google My Business profile gives you exposure on the most popular search engine and the most visited map online for free. Yes, absolutely free!
Second – you are capturing buying intent.
When someone Googles a product or service – that person is interested to buy because he either has a problem that he wants to be solved or a desire he wants to be fulfilled.
For example, your car broke down. What do you do? You Google “car repair services near me” to get your car fixed.
Or let us say, you are in Los Angeles for vacation and you want to eat cookies for your sweet tooth craving, you search “best cookie shop in LA” in Google to find out the best place to grab a cookie.
Long story short, listing your business on Google will help you capture hot leads a.k.a. people who are very likely to buy.
Now, you know the why – why you should take advantage of Google My Business profile.
Let us move on and talk about the how – how can Google My Business help get local customers for your business.
1. Make Your Business Visible Online
When Google show local business search results to users, its algorithm takes into account three things:
- Relevance – how closely related is the business to the user’s query
- Distance – how near is the business from user’s location
- Prominence – how popular is the business
If you want your business to be discovered by users online, first, you need to be visible.
Think of it this way, by listing your business on Google, you are providing them your information and location. So, when a user makes a query online, your business will be a part of Google’s search results.
2. Earn Customer’s Trust
A lot of users place their trust and confidence in Google. In fact, a survey showed that 65.7% of Americans see Google as the most trustworthy digital platform.
To win and keep people’s trust, Google ensures that their search results are accurate and credible. That is why to appear in Google’s local business listing, you have to undergo multiple verification steps.
If your business appears on a trusted platform, it only means one thing – your business can be trusted and as Zig Ziglar said, “If people trust you, they will do business with you.”
3. Visually Appeal to Customers
In Google My Business, both customers and business owners have the ability to upload photos and videos online.
When a customer uploads an image or a video, this helps other customers get a glimpse of how their experience went and how the actual product looks like.
When business owners upload a picture of their office and location, this fills in the curiosity of customers on what goes behind the scene and the business’s work environment.
In short, photos and videos are powerful as this helps customers connect with your business.
4. Provides Credibility and Proof
Customers can leave star ratings and detailed reviews on your business in Google and these are powerful – why? Four reasons:
First, customers can leave unbiased comments for everyone to see.
Everybody knows that the reviews on your business’s website are biased. Reviews on third-party platforms like Google will show that your claims are legit.
Second, in case a negative review is left, you can address it head-on.
You have no control on what customers will say about your business online. How you address negative reviews online will show what are your values as a business and how much you care about your customers.
Third, you can use it to better your services.
Listening to customer feedback will provide insights on how you can improve your business’s weak spots and this will help set you apart from your competition.
Lastly, reviews influence customer’s buying decisions.
Reviews serve as social poof. 92.4% of customers use reviews to guide their purchasing decision because at the end of the day, people like to buy but they do not like to be sold.
5. Engage with Customers
Building a relationship with customers is the key to attracting more. Fortunately, Google My Business lets you do this.
As a business owner, you can create posts, events and offers to keep your customers informed and engaged.
By communicating frequently with customers, you cultivate loyalty. Loyalty leads to customer retention and repeat purchases. Why? Customers buy from businesses they feel connected and engaged with. In fact, 73% of shoppers cited that their customer experience influenced their purchasing decision.
Here’s another thing. When customers have a positive interaction and experience with a business, they are more likely to recommend it to friends and family.
So, engage with customers to not only attract new ones but to keep the existing ones from coming back. Customer relationships are the key to having a successful long-term business.
Listing your business on Google hits two birds with one stone – your business will be visible in Google Search and Google Maps.
Being visible on these platforms will not only improve your web traffic but your foot traffic as well.
Keep in mind that Google revolves around SEO – what does this mean? When your customers look for something in Google, they enter words and phrases a.k.a. keywords. Keywords are the building blocks so the right customers will discover your business online.
So, creating a Google My Business profile is the first step. The second step is to learn local keyword research.