A business’s presence is comparable to meeting someone for the first time. During the first impression phase of meeting someone new, our brain quickly sorts and analyzes the experience, ultimately determining if it was positive or negative. We tend to be more drawn to people who provide a positive first impression—wanting to know more about them and steering clear of someone that did not provide a positive experience.
Businesses’ online presence works the same way. In the current digital age, if your company does not provide a strong first impression to a potential customer on Google, the business that you’ve worked so hard to build will ultimately be buried amongst your competitors on the world’s leading search engine.
I bet you’re asking, well what is the #1 way for my business to not fall into this lost space of potential? Google My Business (GMB) is your answer. Now, you’re probably wondering “what is Google My Business?” or “what is Google My Business used for?” Think of Google My Business as your 30-second opportunity to make a positive first impression on a potential customer. Your company’s GMB profile reveals pertinent information about your business that potential customers consider when deciding whether or not they want to convert to an official customer. These profiles are found by conducting a local search on Google; where we use terms such as “best restaurant near me” or “local HVAC company” in order to find the local product or service we’re looking for.
The more information your GMB profile provides, the better impression it will leave on a potential customer on their buyer’s journey. In fact, recent research shows that fully optimized GMB profiles are twice as likely to earn the trust of a potential customer. For example, if I’m hungry for a slice of pizza and search “pizza shop near me” on Google, I will be inclined to order from the restaurant that provides accurate hours so I know when I can visit or have my pizza delivered, a menu and pictures of the pizzas so I can decide which type I’d like, and glowing 5-star reviews so I can establish trust that I will enjoy my pizza. A competing local pizza shop that lacks these decision-making details will have trouble standing out and attracting new customers.
The key to a GMB profile that generates quality leads is to ensure that it is fully optimized. Keep in mind that different industries have varying optimization opportunities. For instance, a GMB profile for a restaurant will give the option to add menu & payment options, and details on reservation requirements, whereas a GMB profile for a physician’s office will provide the option to list insurances they accept and appointment requirements. For more on top optimization strategies for restaurants, click here. Pro tip: make sure you fill out all the information regardless of the industry your business is in.
Here, you’ll find a basic optimization checklist that will help your GMB profile stand out against its competitors:
- Ensuring all information is accurate and up to date (hours, address, contact information, service areas, etc)
- Adding at least 11 photos. Pro tip: these photos should include your logo, header, interior & exterior of your store, mission statement, example work, products, staff, and any other photos that provide a strong depiction of your brand
- More than 5 reviews, as 88% of people trust online Google reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Pro tip: always respond to both positive and negative reviews
- List any and all services/products your business offers
- Keyword-dense business description
- Weekly posts that include keywords, a picture, and a call to action
Why It’s Vital For Your Google My Business Profile to Be Fully Optimized Now More Than Ever
It’s no secret that the past year has taken a toll on small businesses. Now more than ever, your company should be outranking its competitors online to showcase your resilience and eagerness to welcome customers back. As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and guidelines are adjusted, both potential and recurring customers need to know how your business is operating before they make a decision to visit or make a purchase.
Here’s what to make sure you’re updating as COVID-19 policies change:
- Is an appointment/reservation required?
- Are masks required for both customers and your staff members?
- Does a customer need to receive a temperature check?
- Does your staff receive temperature checks?
- Is your staff required to disinfect surfaces between customer visits?
Leave developing online marketing strategies for small businesses to the experts at beMarketing. In a year where the market took a negative decline, we have doubled our client’s visibility in local search rankings to help them bounce back. Contact us today to learn more about our google my business optimization services and how we can help propel your company’s vision forward.
Alissa DeGeorge, Digital Marketing Coordinator