One of the most challenging hurdles for many small businesses and start-ups is increasing visibility and getting found by new customers. Being present and consistent on social media is an ideal place to start but it won’t necessarily guarantee the leads and ensure that people can find you when they perform online searches. This is where Google can help you out. The widely used search engine – in addition to Google AdWords and Google Analytics – now provides a free one-stop-shop for businesses to select, monitor, approve and alter the information that appears across Google about your business.
What is it?
If your business serves customers in a particular location or within a designated service area, Google My Business can help you be found online. It allows you as a business owner to manage your online presence across Google’s many web functions, including Maps and Search.
Why use digital tactics to target a local audience?
The fact that your business relies on local customers does not mean that you don’t need an online presence. We are constantly hearing about instances of consumers relying more and more on the internet to get referrals about where to shop. One study discovered that online reviews influenced 90% of the consumers surveyed. Yet many businesses still don’t have any significant presence online. The 2018 Telstra Small Business Intelligence report revealed that only 50% of small businesses have their own website.
How Google My Business Helps You Attract New Customers
- Manage your information: When potential customers search for businesses online, it is often to find the website, reviews, or business information. If these users can’t easily access your business’ hours, street address, or phone number, they’ll likely move on to another business. Google My Business allows you to input and verify all this information to ensure it is accurate up-to-date and easy to find. You can provide your business name, address, phone number, logo, pictures, hours of opening, and even such information as popular times of business.
- Interact with customers: Google My Business allows you to read and respond to customer reviews, post photos related to your business, and gather information about how users are interacting with your business online. All of this information appears in the sidebar when a user googles you. According to Google, a business with an online presence that includes relevant and current content like photos helps businesses receive 42% more requests for directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks to their websites. Visitors often use photos as an opportunity to find out more about your business values as well as to find out about the products or services you have on offer.
- Collect and analyse data: Knowing your numbers is incredibly important for any business and Google Analytics is a key tool to help with this. Google My Business allows you to gather insights by tracking impressions, clicks, and other key metrics in relation to your business’s online presence. These insights can give you a better idea of who is searching for your business online and how they navigate your online presence so you can better tailor your marketing. You can gain a better understanding how users interact with your business online by seeing how customers found your listing, where they find you on Google, what actions they took when they came across your listing, the number of phone calls placed, driving directions requests, and which photos they looked at.
Promoting your business to the world used to be the path to take but these days more business owners are realising the importance of attracting and sustaining businesses locally as well, particularly for those with bricks and mortar stores. Local marketing has become more than just handing out flyers, advertising in the local papers or on the local radio station. By using Google it allows your local customers to find you easier online which is as critical to your marketing strategy as ensuring that you are hanging out your “open” sign or that you are situated in the right location for your ideal customer.