“Google My Business®” Is Now “Google Business Profile®” — What This Means for Your Business
While this change is primarily cosmetic (streamlining the product name), there are some new features you need to use to maximize your SEO and drive more traffic to your business. We’ll tell you how to establish and maintain your account and the numerous ways this free tool can help your marketing efforts. For example, you are now able to message customers directly from Google Search® and merchants in the US and Canada can use the call history to determine which calls came from the Google Business Profile.
New Tools Available
Google® recommends business owners manage their profiles through Google Search or Google Maps®. Google will retire the “Google My Business” (GMB) app in 2022, so you’ll want to learn this new framework before the app dies. They’re making the change to enable more businesses to take advantage of the upgraded Google Search/Google Maps functionalities. Web-based GMB tools will transition to provide greater support to larger businesses and those with multiple locations using a feature called “Business Profile Manager®.”
Improved Customer Connection
Forty percent of US consumers are already doing their holiday shopping and 60% plan to focus on patronizing local small businesses over their larger, corporate competitors. With this in mind, Google created a Local Holiday Marketing Guide designed to help your business stand out and help searchers connect with your business.
More than half of US holiday shoppers will check online to verify what they want is in stock before they head to the store to make the purchase. In response, Google Search added an “in-stock” filter so users see only merchants who have that item in stock. To ensure you grab as much of that business as possible, sign up for “Pointy from Google®.” Pointy is free and functions through your Google Business Profile on Google Search results. With Pointy, you can automatically upload your complete in-store inventory via your POS system. (If you already have a local inventory feed, submit that through the Google Merchant Center.) If you wish to showcase particular items, just manually add them to your Google Business Profile through Google Search.
A Bigger Bang for the Same Buck
Use Google’s “Local Campaigns” to focus on in-store products or seasonal items. The “Performance Planner” helps you plan your campaign budget and create plans for your advertising investment. You can also see how changes to those plans might impact your performance and outcomes. You also can test “Performance Max Campaigns” whenever you feel the time is right. This tool enables you to promote your business across all Google Ads channels, including Google Display and YouTube. Performance Max includes inventory and formats currently unavailable through Local Campaigns.
Establishing Your Profile
It’s easy to claim and verify your Google Business Profile directly through Google Search or Google Maps. Simply search your business name and you’ll see an option to claim and verify the associated Business Profile. Once your business is verified, you’ll be able edit your information, upload photographs and videos, post special holiday hours, and more. The single most important factor in marketing your business through Google Business Profile is keeping all your information current and accurate. If you have extended hours for holiday shopping, make sure your listing reflects that. If you offer special services like curbside pickup, tell your searchers about that. Be sure your location, hours, and contact information are correct. Updating information is quick, easy, and vitally important. After all, you never get a second chance to make a first impression!
Branding and Consistency
If you maintain a website for your business, make sure your Google Business Profile has the same style: Use the same fonts, the same colors, and the same arrangement of information. Select a high-resolution image of your logo on Google Business Profile and be strategic in your choice of cover photograph. Take care in uploading other photographs to your profile: Ensure your branding and messaging are consistent. Provide whatever you wish, including team photos, pictures of your physical space (interior and exterior), and shots of products or services you want to highlight.
Show Your Interest
Customer reviews are increasingly important in our digital world, so make the most of them. Respond to each and every comment, positive or negative. Resist the urge to use canned replies as they work to your detriment. Read the entire review before responding to ensure you don’t leave important comments unaddressed. It may take a little more time to answer every post, but it’s well worth the investment. You’re telling that specific writer you care about the user’s experience, but you also tell potential customers that you care, you’re involved, and you’re responsive to customer needs. Customer reviews live forever, but so do your responses.
Get Started Today
With so many free tools available to you, you’ll want to get started. Build your Google Business Profile today and take advantage of its many options for driving customers to your door! Improve your SEO results, help new customers find you, and give all those happy clients a place to express their satisfaction. For help with this or guidance in your overall marketing strategy, contact The Profit Link today.