Do you know what 80% of people do before they go shopping? They Google, that’s what. And if they’re about to head out the door to look for a local supplier or retailer, they will have looked for them on Google first. So if attracting a local audience is important for your business then you need to be on the map – in every sense.
If you’ve already claimed your free Google My Business (GMB) listing, then well done – you’ve taken a huge step in the right direction. But your work isn’t over yet.
GMB is a great way to drive traffic to your main website or social media channels but you need to put the time in. Just like when publishing a website, it’s no good sitting back and waiting for the business to come to you. You need to be just as proactive with your GMB listing as you are with any other online marketing channel.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that managing your GMB listing is relatively quick and easy to do. Here’s how.
So your GMB page is set up and verified. What next? Start posting content – short, sharp, light, easy content. And if you set aside just 30 minutes per week to focus on your GMB listing you will reap the rewards in terms of your local visibility and website traffic. Commit to making small, consistent efforts with your listing and I guarantee you won’t regret the time or effort. To help you here’s a handy To Do list for you to work through each week.
1. Update your GMB profile
There are lots of ways you can personalise your GMB listing to make it stand out from the crowd. On your profile page you can choose a theme, add your logo, your cover photo, your slogan, your tag lines, highlight your contact details, add a link to your main website and add some text describing your business or proposition. Your GMB listing will still be live even without this info but it will look pretty boring to potential customers and make them think you have nothing much to say.
2. Review your GMB Dashboard
Your GMB dashboard gives you a snapshot of your listing’s performance and you can access it from your GMB profile page. Bookmark it so you can easily find it each time. Here’s where you can update your business’ basic details such as opening times, payment methods accepted, etc. There are also some handy shortcuts to manage your page and add new content. Plus you can include buttons for booking and messaging, making the user experience as easy and painless as possible. And the more information you provide, the more visitors will engage with you.
It’s a very very important housekeeping rule that you check your GMB listing details on a regular basis. Why? Because at the moment Google views GMB as “open source” which is why it allows anyone to edit and add content to your page. That’s right, anyone viewing your GMB listing can edit the details and add photos! That’s why you must check your GMB details on a regular basis.
3. Add photos
Google – and Google users – love to see photos, even if you only upload them on their own and not part of an article or post. You can add your own photos, stock images or you can recruit the services of a professional photography service. It’s well known that online content with superb images greatly enhances your visitor engagement, and a professionally-shot video or virtual tour will do wonders for you.
HINT: These are the photos that will show up next to your GMB listing in search results so make sure they are professional and an appropriate reflection of you and your brand – another reason to check your dashboard on a regular basis.
4. Add posts
Add a new article (with a photo!) at least once a week. Okay I can hear your eyeballs rolling from here but don’t panic! The maximum word count for a GMB posting is 300 (or 2/3 of side of A4 in single spacing) so we’re not talking a full-blown blog article each time. It can literally be anything so long as it’s relevant to your business and delivers value for your page’s visitors. Here’s an overview of the types of posts I tend to create for my own GMB page:-
– A summary of and link to my latest blog post on my website
– A direct website link to my copywriting portfolio (especially if I’ve just added something new)
– A direct website link to my services
– A comment with a link to a relevant news item
– A link to a business partner or associate’s website
– A facsimile of a recent one of my own social media posts (not a duplicate) with a link to relevant social media page
– My latest “Monthly Minute” or “60 second pitch” from any networking events I’ve attended
– Or just a great photo with a comment and link to my website
You could also add a promotion, an event, an offer, or a list of new products. The possibilities are endless, and it need not be an onerous task to think of something new each week. Once you’ve uploaded a new posting you can go back in and edit, delete or share it.
HINT: Never upload an article without a photo or a link to somewhere else on the web. Google doesn’t like to see a “dead page” that doesn’t go anywhere.
5. Get Google reviews and testimonials
Your GMB page is a great way to show off all those 5-star customer reviews and testimonials. Through your GMB profile you can generate a unique link to share with your customers that will take them directly to your GMB listing to write a review. The simplest way is to follow these steps:-
1. Search for your business on Google
2. Find your GMB business listing and click “Write a review”
3. Copy and paste the URL that you see in your address bar
4. Save the URL somewhere on your desktop so that you can easily find it again to share with your customers
If these steps don’t work for you, you’ll need to use the “PlaceID Lookup Tool instead”. This method is slightly more complicated, but it gives the same result, i.e. a review link that you can share. As you start collecting reviews they will appear in your GMB listing, giving potential visitors a good idea of just how great your business is.
6. Pay attention to emails from Google about your listing – it’s worth it
Once your listing is up and running Google obviously will want you to keep it up to date. So much so that you can expect a whole raft of emails and prompts arriving in your inbox:-
– A reminder if you haven’t uploaded a new post in the last 7 days
– A reminder that there’s a Bank Holiday coming up and that you might want to review your opening hours
– A notification that someone has left you a review (and a chance to respond to that review)
– A summary of how many people have viewed your photos
– A monthly snapshot of your listing’s performance – click on the link in the email and it will take you to your Insights page. You don’t need to wait for the email to review the Insights, you can access them at any time from your GMB Dashboard.
And that’s it! I hope you can see that managing your GMB listing really is very simple, straightforward and not overly time-consuming. If I’ve inspired you to claim your Google My Business Page and you’d like to have a chat about it, then please get in touch. I’ll be only too happy to help.