A Google My Business Profile is a free profile on Google – not for you but for your business. It allows you to give people the information they need about your business – trading hours, special business days, your address, contact details, and your website. It gives your business the opportunity to be discovered through the use of the internet. Google My Business is a helpful tool for all businesses, but especially for startups who need to find customers and need more customer engagement. It offers a cost-effective and time-saving way to advertise your business.
Google My Business has the potential to send your startup to new heights if you master the functions that it has to offer. That is why The London Coworking Assembly hosted an event where Sonya Whittman and Julie Firth from Story22 spoke about how Google my Business might be the best option for your business, and how to put it to work for your business.
Ensure clients click on your business
Sonya begins by explaining that when your startup has a Google Business profile it makes it easier for future customers to find you. “When you set up your profile correctly it is easy to find important information such as opening times or if there’s a variation and opening times because of holidays, or information about where you’re located. It’s quick and easy to compare local businesses on one platform and including links back to your other social media accounts will ensure that you can connect with customers in more than one way.”
Adding a button that allows users to schedule appointments makes it easy for people to let you know when they are coming. And all you have to do is to add an appointment schedule button on your profile. Google Maps Users can also follow your business, or they can make a list of places they would like to visit, or have visited, right in Google Maps and add your business as one of their favourite places. The best part of Google My Business is that it gives your customers the opportunity to give feedback, which benefits local businesses.
“So why does your business need to Google My Business?” Sonya asks. “Well, there’s an increase in the zero-click searches, which means more actions such as conversions to a sale are taking place within search results than ever before.” Sonya goes on to explain that instead of needing to visit your business website, searchers can find what they need directly within the search engine page results.
Google My Business profiles feature a multitude of functions to include links to make it easier to call the business to get directions and book appointments. Customers can also send the information directly to their phones from their desktop if they like. In this way, Google My Business makes it easier for searchers to find out about your business without ever needing to visit your website.
Optimise your Google My Business profile
“Your Google description,” Julie explains “is the first introduction that prospects will come across and you need to make sure that you make a great impression with it.” So, you need to enter a brief description of your business and include the following:
- What is the problem of your customers?
- What solution do you bring to their problem?
- What is the outcome after you have solved their problem?
To answer these questions, it is important to focus primarily on your business instead of details about promotions, prices, or sales – don’t include URLs or HTML code and do not exceed the 750 characters in the description field. Instead, really think about the words that you’re using and use them to help your business stand apart from the competition.
“The secret to writing the perfect Google description is to think of it as your one-liner,” Julie says. “Your one-liner should grab the attention of prospective clients fast, and demonstrate in a really compelling way why they should be doing business with you.” Answering those three questions and putting the answers into one or two sentences will create a good description for your Google profile.
An example Julie gave was that of a coworking space with a nursery connected to it. “Trying to work with a toddler hanging off your trousers just makes everyone crabby. At Work and Nurture Coworking, your bambinos play safely in our registered nursery, just a few steps away from your desk. So, you free up the headspace to crack on with your work guilt-free, and everyone leaves smiling at the end of the day.”
The first part of the one-liner addresses the problem that Works and Nurtures Coworking solves, the second part says how this problem is solved and the third part is the happy ending — everyone leaves smiling. This is a captivating description of your business and allows prospects to understand what you have to offer without needing to read too much information.
The importance of reviews
“While you may have pored over every word on your website and done your very best to promote the features of your service,” Julie says, “they’re only ever going to get you so far in convincing your prospective clients to come and do business with you.” Julie goes on to explain that for something to feel believable, our brains need to know that that information is authentic. Investing time and creating descriptions that show how good your business is only a start: our brains need to hear from a third party how good your business is before we can believe it.
“The magic really happens when people hear information from a third party that 100% backs up what you’ve been saying all along. It builds trust in your brand and gets people the social proof they’ve been looking for to verify your business and take the next step forward with you. Around 90% of consumers now read online reviews for local businesses, so everyone is checking you out by your reviews.”
“Google reviews,” Julie continues, “are a great space to reflect your values as a brand as well.” She says to make sure that you respond to every review with a welcoming voice and a commitment to delivering the very best for your customers. And never be tempted to ignore bad reviews. “People are watching and reading how you respond and this is going to reflect on your customer service.”
Julie points out that you can use these negative reviews as an opportunity to demonstrate how much you really care about your customer. “So, apologise for their negative experience and show humility. Then demonstrate your eagerness publicly that you’re going to learn from this hiccup and offer to fix the problem for them,” Julie says.
“Google reviews are also another way to help improve your search rankings. The more people are talking about your great service, the more Google is going to register your business as being worthy. And remember to make sure to include your important keywords in your responses to help you to rank for those.” Julie says that gathering meaningful testimonials are not just nice for our egos, they should form a critical part of your marketing strategy.