Most small businesses set up a Google My Business listing. You know, that listing at the side of the search results that shows your business logo, some pictures, your address, and a few other things? That’s a Google My Business listing. But unfortunately, a lot of businesses set it up about a part of the way and pretty much forget about it. And that’s a serious mistake.
As overlooked as it often is, Google My Business listings are powerful tools to help people find your business–both directly and as a boost to your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Basically, Google wants all businesses to have super relevant Google My Business listings with lots of information, so they prioritize businesses that keep their listing refreshed and up to date. And, trust me, you want Google to prioritize your business when people search for your product or service.
Since it’s free and pretty simple to use, there is no reason on this green earth that any small business should forget this great little marketing tool.
Let’s take a look at some best practices, shall we?
First, the basics: if you don’t already have a listing, just go to Google.com/business and set one up. Be forewarned that they will need to confirm you are who you say you are (and therefore have the right to set up and/or change a GMB listing), and this can involve a complicated process of having Google snail mail you a postcard that has a PIN to your physical address. Word to the wise: don’t wait too long once you get your postcard, and don’t mess around with the account while you’re waiting for your PIN. Both will invalidate your PIN and make you need to do the whole darn thing over again.
If there is already a Google My Business listing for your business but you don’t have login access, never fear, you can claim the business. This also involves proving you are who you say you are, but it’s not hard; there’s even a handy little button helping you do it.
Once in, you will want to set up the account fully: use the functions to their full capacity. Add photos, videos (if you have them), the correct contact information, hours (including updated holiday hours), correct addresses (don’t worry if you don’t have a physical location; you can set it so that it doesn’t show the exact address), your logo, etc.
In particular, make sure you:
- Include a strong description of your business that includes the things that set you apart from the competition (many people will see your listing when they are in the final stages of comparing options)
- Choose your photos wisely to support the message you are trying to convey—not just any old pics you have laying around. For instance, if you’re a house painter who serves super high-end clients, make sure your photos are high quality. If you’re a kid’s dentist, show lots of smiling, tear-free kids (make sure you get parental permission, of course)
- Make sure your cover photo provides the right message. Think of it like the homepage on your website. If you have products and services, add them!
- Do everything you can to get reviews… and as many as possible. Pro tip: the easier you make it for people to review you, the more will. Get them started by sending them (or asking them) one question, like, “tell me one thing you love about my business”, and then send them the URL of your GMB listing so it’s easy (just one click) for them to submit a review
- Are you writing blogs, or creating podcasts, or any other sort of content? Add it to the “posts” section. Google loves this, and I’ve heard through the grapevine that it really helps your SEO. At the very least, it is another way to get your thought leadership out in front of potential customers
- Do you have special hours on, say, the 4th of July? Make sure you post them and keep everything updated
If all this sounds pretty basic, well, it is. Nothing here is rocket science. SO YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE.
Really. Ahem. Just do this thing. It’s important.
Happy small business marketing!
Katie & Theron
At Urban Sherpa Marketing Co. we offer marketing advisory, strategic planning, and services for small businesses and startups, including content marketing. Our goal is to make high-quality marketing possible for every business, no matter the size. Think of us as your outsourced marketing department, strategic marketing advisor, or even your phone-a-friend marketing lifeline. We specialize in building efficient marketing programs to grow your business without blowing the bank.
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