Question: Are you taking advantage of everything Google has to offer when it comes to promoting and growing your business? If not, listen up. At Betterbunch, we’re a little obsessed when it comes to anything Google, and particularly their Google Business Profile (GBP) feature.
Originally known as Google My Business, the service was launched in 2014 to help make it easier for searchers to connect with high quality local businesses.
It’s free, simple-to-use and can have an incredible impact on your business.
If you haven’t set up your Google Business Profile yet, be prepared for a game changer. And we’re not talking about some pie-in-the-sky results either....
Take it from Google. With a complete and up-to-date profile, customers are:
- 2.7 times more likely to consider the business reputable
- 70% more likely to visit their website
- 50% more likely to make a purchase.
There's no doubt; Google is the platform of choice when it comes to people searching for local businesses – and if you want to be the business of choice, you need to show up before the competition.
So, how does a Google Business Profile help you – a local business?
1. Google Business Profile gets you seen by more customers
Put simply, a Google Business Profile is a valuable (and free!) online asset that increases your company's visibility on Google Search, Maps and Products.
Many third-party websites, also referred to as local search directories or data aggregators, also use Google to find out about your company and list the relevant information on their own domain to attract clicks. This is a good thing – as you benefit from being more widely recognised around the internet.
A complete and accurate Google Business Profile improves your chances of being featured on those websites and directories. If there’s one thing people love, it’s complete and accurate information.
So with a high-quality business profile, you provide Google with essential data about your company, increasing your overall relevance in search results – and thus, increase your traffic.
2. Google Business Profiles ensure your information is consistent
Keeping your Google Business profile information up-to-date ensures the authenticity of the information about your company – across the entire internet.
It sounds so simple (and it is), but by providing this information directly to Google – you’re inputting unique data about your business into the world’s most powerful and most popular search engine. You get to own your patch in the kingdom of search – and grow it!
Updating your information is relatively easy. If you ever relocate or change phone numbers, you can keep any current or future clients up-to-date with what’s happening in your neck of the woods.
You can also update your business’s operating hours, which has become more and more important to customers over time. In our busy world, customers want their needs satisfied as quickly as possible, so, and letting them know that you are open for business is an essential part of that. The worst thing you can do is pretend to be available online or open when you're not. It's one of the easiest ways to inadvertently mislead, confuse and drive potential clients away.
In short, consistent and accurate information is vital to ensuring that clients get in touch with you at the appropriate moments to meet those urgent demands.
3. Your Google Business Profile gives that lasting first impression
Ever heard of a “micro-moment”? Google coined the term, and it refers to moments “when people reflexively turn to a device –increasingly a smartphone – to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped.”
This is the best time to get in front of a potential customer, without a doubt. They have a clear need and will forego brand or business loyalty in order to meet it as quickly as possible. Your local Google My Business listing creates a first impression that can either make or break that purchasing process.
Setting the stage for customers and giving them a compelling reason to trade with you is what’s happening when you submit images and videos to your Google Business Profile. We find that local businesses are successful when they upload pictures of:
- The team – people love seeing people
- The location (if applicable) – your storefront looking clean and tidy, of course!
- Your service fleet (if you offer remote services)
- Your products and/or services in the real world
- Customer testimonials – more on that later.
This information helps to build a perception in the potential customers mind – and you want it to be the right perception. Providing this information and interactive elements like photos will help considerably improve the quality of your profile.
As a general rule, start with at least 5–10 photos and videos and keep adding a few each month. The more interactive items you have to discover and explore, the better the impression you’ll make.
4. Your Google Business Profile takes up valuable real estate
The search engine results page (SERP) is the most valuable real estate there is in the world of search. Play your cards right and optimise your Google Business Profile to perfection, and your chances of owning a tonne of space on the SERP is greatly increased.
Take, for example, when someone in Wellington/Poneke searches for "Mechanic.” They are far more likely to choose the workshop with good, clear photographs of the location filled with smiling team members than the unattended profile with a single dark image of a dilapidated shed.
Seriously, who would you call?
5. Your Google Business Profile enhances your reputation online
Lastly, but importantly – Google cares about its own credibility too. If you’ve got a great reputation, they’re going to reward you for that with better results in Searches, Maps and so forth because they want to promote the best of the best.
If your reputation is – less-glowing – Google is less likely to provide you with the benefits of high relevance or a position in the coveted Google Map Pack because they don't want to be seen singing the praises of an unpopular service.
This is where online reviews come in. We’ll say it like it is. In a world where customers make snap selections based on their perception of your capacity to meet their needs – you need reviews.
Reviews appear in searches, and positive reviews can influence where you sit in the SERP.
Believe it or not, research has found that 88% of customers believe online reviews are just as reliable as recommendations from friends or family. That’s 4 out of every 5 people!
In our experience, some business owners become concerned that asking for reviews could trigger a Pandora’s Box or attract unfavourable feedback. However, the crucial element of this is that bad reviews provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism and commitment to client satisfaction.
And often, that’s what separates the good from the great in the world of business.
A platform like betterbunch makes it easy to reach out to customers for reviews while giving you the opportunity to proactively identify any customers who might need a bit of extra attention – before they leave you an unfairly scathing review online.