Up until January 1, 1983 (when the internet was invented) the only way a company could keep its customers informed about the latest company updates was through newspaper ads, TV commercials, constantly changing flyers on the street or announcing them over the radio. This was time-consuming and a bit costly, to say the least. The internet has made it easy for business owners to keep people in the loop with Google My Business – a free online business directory.
Google My Business is a simple platform to understand. You fill out an initial form with your basic business information (name, address, phone number). For every location you have, you can create specific profiles for each. Now it seems pretty straight forward, but ensuring the right information is entered is important. You don’t want to be “that business” where, because of a simple error, they called the wrong number or went to the incorrect website/address.
Keeping your profile up-to-date with what’s currently going on is why Google is great. Here are some of the features on Google My Business that you can utilize to fully inform your customer(s):
- Business Address
Imagine hitting the “directions” button on Google and being taken to the wrong location. How frustrated would you be? This can sometimes happen if your business has moved locations and you don’t get the new address verified. Make sure you are checking the directory regularly. Sometimes there can be duplicate listings for your business which may have conflicting information.
- Business Category
Depending on the business category you choose, your listing ranking will vary. When you have a Google My Business profile, you can have up to nine business categories. We recommend 5. The first one you choose will be your primary category and what your business is considered. There are lots of variations of categories, so make sure you choose the right one, so it doesn’t mislead people.
- Business Description
As your company grows, it is important to update your business description, so people get the “Coles Notes” on your business background and what you offer. Google My Business allows a maximum of 750 characters for descriptions, but just 250 show up when your listing is found in Google Searches, so the more “to the point” your description is, the better.
- Operation Hours
Apart from your weekly operation hours, you can add holidays and special events. You can let your customers know ahead of time which dates you will be closed or have limited hours. Once adjusted on the back end of Google My Business, it will be changed immediately to the public.
- Phone Number
Having the right phone number seems to be self-explanatory, but some businesses have the wrong ones. This can get tricky if you have more than one location. If you’re in a trade or an industry that uses one number only, Google will view it as a duplicate listing. Make sure if you have more than one listing that each profile has a different number.
- Website Button
When people want to gather more information to make a purchase decision, they are going to click the link to your website or whatever link is associated with that button. If the domain changes, make sure the right URL is inputted on the back end of your Google My Business profile.
However, keeping your listing up-to-date does not only involve keeping your information accurate and current. It also means you need to keep your customers informed about current events.
- Google Live Posts
Google Live Posts resemble the characteristics of a social media post (photo and caption), appearing in your Google My Business profile below the “reviews” section. Through these posts you can tell your customers about future promotions, new products, location changes, and more. The best part is, you can add a call-to-action button on the bottom that says “call now,” “more information,” “sign up now,” “get directions,” etc.
- Q and A
In this section of your profile, customers can ask questions about your business, and as the business owner, you have the opportunity to reply for the public to read. Keep in mind to regularly check this tab and answer them promptly. This will not only keep them informed, but it will show you care about your customers.
- Photos and Videos
When you upload photos and videos to your Google My Business profile, this will not only make it more visually appealing, but you can also show your customers the “behind the scenes” of your business. Think about it this way. Would you eat at a restaurant that has no photos of the food?
So as you can see, keeping your Google My Business profile up-to-date ensures that your customers will always have the right information to make a purchase decision when researching your company. Like we’ve done for thousands of businesses, we have a dedicated tech team that will do all of this for you because we know as a business owner you are busy. For more information on Local SEO listing packages visit our website and LIVE chat with our experts (located in the bottom left of our website) to answer any questions you may have!