Raise your hand if you Google a restaurant before deciding to actually try it? We know we do. Same goes for pretty much any other type of business, be it a shop, bar, museum, club, dental clinic, bank office and so on. And precisely because most of us turn to Google for information that impacts our decision-making process, it’s so important to know what Google Business is and how to make the most of it.
What’s Google Business?
Google Business is a business listing tool. It allows you to easily manage how your business appears on Google Maps and Google Search. This includes general information, opening hours, information about services and products, news and updates, photos and videos. A Google Business profile also makes it possible to respond to customer reviews and direct messages.
When adding or claiming your profile, you will have to verify it, which takes around seven business days. Afterwards, you can freely manage all profile components and interact with customers.
If updated regularly and optimized properly, your Google Business profile can make it so much easier for customers to discover your business and contact you.
How to make the most of Google Business?
Since Google Business is a trusted filter for customer decisions, it makes all the sense in the world to keep a comprehensive and up-to-date profile. Let’s look at the main components you can and should manage on a regular basis:
The Business Information section includes the name and description of your business, contact, location, hours, services and products. It’s probably the most crucial part of the Google Business profile because it contains all the basic information a customer may need.
Make sure your description accurately reflects what your business activity. You can expand further in the services and products tabs.
Remember to update frequently your opening hours especially in view of any holidays or other occasions, on which your business will remain closed. A helpful tool to remember these updates are the reminder emails that Google typically sends around public holidays.
In Contact, you can include a website and a phone number. If you operate exclusively online and don’t have a physical office, instead of a location, you can include a service area.
One of the great perks here is you can add a link for online appointments or reservations (if you operate a restaurant, for instance). It makes it so much easier for customers to book a call or dinner straight from your Google profile.
Images & Videos
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to add multimedia to your Google Business profile. You can share visuals that will give customers a better idea of what to expect when they visit you or when they use your products or services. On the other hand, you will have more control over how your business is projected visually. Instead of relying on user photos only or Google maps view, you can upload your brand’s most flattering images.
Depending on the type of business, some photo ideas to consider are: interior and exterior shots of your office, shop or other place of business, product images, photos of completed projects or portfolio. Giving a peek into your team can also be a nice touch.
Updates, Offers & Events
Updates, offers and events are a great way of highlighting anything you deem important and making it instantly visible to users. Use Updates to inform about any important changes and news (for ex., your business will exceptionally remain closed on certain days, you’ve won an industry recognition, you’re offering a new service). You can also use it to share content such as articles and blog posts. There’s an option to include a button and a link so yes, you guessed it – more traffic for your website or landing page.
With Offers you can put forward any current promotions such as product and service discounts. And Events allows you to make your upcoming events visible to anyone who sees your profile.
Reviews & Messages
First things first, let’s reaffirm what we already know – regardless of whether they are good or bad, you should always to respond to customer reviews. It’s a basic principle and shows your customers there’s someone out there that cares about their interaction and experience with your business. It may not be immediate, but don’t wait more than a week to reply to reviews.
In terms of the tone and overall attitude of responses, nobody appreciates arrogance, sarcasm and hostility. It’s not only the overall Google Business profile that can win over or scare off potential customers. A sole response to a review has this power as well. Trust us – we’ve been put off by review responses one too many times.
So one thing to keep in mind is always be graceful and understanding in your replies. Even if you believe the reviewer is not right. Explain the facts in a friendly way and maybe offer a compensation or the possibility to talk things through in a more private way (by phone or email). Positive attitude and constructive suggestions can go a long way.
In addition to reviews, you can also respond directly to messages and Q&A. This opportunity for direct live interaction can substantially improve customer experience.
As we’ve seen, Google Business offers a variety of options to improve the visibility of your business. Adding all essential details, photos, updates, events, and making it possible to directly engage with customers, make Google Business a highly useful and multi-faceted platform. It has all the features of a social network, coupled with the fact that it’s intertwined with the most popular search engine. That’s downright recipe for success and we foresee it will be gaining more and more value in the future. So make sure you’ve got your Google Business profile up and running to its full potential.