The internet has led to increased accessibility to all kinds of businesses. But with this advantage, the market has become highly competitive – and every business is on their toes to drive more customers using online tools.
Google My Business is at the epicenter of this movement, and Google keeps refining this tool repeatedly – by introducing new and upgraded features every few months to help make businesses across the globe more accessible.
Furthermore, Google My Business has too many distinct features – which makes utilizing all of them properly a little complex. Keep in mind that these features are insanely useful at pulling more customers, and therefore, need to be used for the maximum.
To help you take control, in this post, we highlight all the features that Google My Business enables for businesses, free of cost.
In 2016, Google decided to discontinue the description section for businesses since it was being abused by marketers and audiences alike.
A businesses description did exist in some capacity, but business owners did not have any say in what went in the “business summary” section. However, Google decided to re-enable the description section in mid-2018, and it’s back better than ever.
Particular guidelines dictate what can go in a description – to ensure it’s not abused. Nonetheless, these guidelines do not become an obstacle in the description.
Each business gets a 750-word space to describe themselves best. It is an opportunity to hook the customer into whatever it is you’re selling. Even though you have the option, don’t make your description too long – it will get truncated. Keep it short and crisp.
In case the business is a large enterprise, the description may also be fetched from Wikipedia. Review your Wikipedia page, and make sure it’s up to date, just in case.
Another feature that GMB introduced recently gives business owners better control over pictures that are associated with their stores.
Business owners can now control the main “profile” picture that appears when the business is searched. Therefore, it is now possible to change the main image in alignment with new offers or deals.
#2 Posts and Offers
Google has added a “follow” button for every business listing. It makes Google a little more Social Media centered, which is a good thing for both customers and businesses. Let us show you how.
Followers of your business will find your most recent Google My Business posts and promotions in the “For you” section of their Google Maps application.
Therefore, having more followers translates to more potential for business. Here is how you post:
- Navigate to the “Customers” section on the bottom of the Google My Business app.
- Next, look for the “Followers” tab on the top right. You will then see the current number of followers your business has.
- Tap on the “Create a post” option.
From this section, you can post pictures with a caption – which is an excellent way of promoting your products or letting customers know about sales. You can also let your followers know if you’re hosting an event, or introducing a new product.
However, the essential elements of posting on Google are the options to put up “Offers” and “Welcome Offers” Using these, you will be able to incentivize your followers – both old and new.
It is now possible for users to ask questions to businesses publicly. It is great since it helps avoid repetitive questions asked via private messaging (more on this later).
A business should avoid asking questions to itself and posting answers (“seeding”).Questions will show up organically – and you must answer them as quickly and precisely as possible.
The more you answer and post, the better Google will be able to provide potential answers to users automatically. They call this "auto answer" – your previous posts showing up to help supply the user with a solution to their question instantly.
Therefore, you must put up content-rich posts and respond to questions as best you can.
#4 Messaging / Request a quote button
Google enables users to be able to interact with business owners directly via a private messaging mechanism.
It is done by adding a “request a quote” button to your listing. It is a sure-shot way of increasing conversion rates and reducing response times – since there is no initial back and forth, and customers can get right down to business.
The most significant advantage of this feature is that after the initial request, regardless of conversion – you can hook the customer back to your products at a later stage and convince them to follow you for great deals and sales.
You can respond to messages from the “Messaging” section under the “Customers” menu on the Google My Business website or app.
If you have the app, you will be notified of any message instantly. Google also ranks your business among others based on response times and frequency – so, try to keep responses as quick as possible and make sure that you respond to every query.
It’s great to have more data about the reception of your posts, other than the number of sales you make after putting up a specific post.
Getting these details is now easier than ever with Google’s My Business Insights.
It shows you the number of people that have viewed your profile in the last month, how they got to your profile and what did they do after they saw your profile.
It will help narrow down the best practices that are specific to your business – be it a sale of a hot product or a discount on a particular service.
You can take a look at your profiles analytics as a whole by:
- Signing in and navigating to the “Home” menu.
- Finding the “Performance” tab, under which you’ll find the number of views and searches associated with your business.
You can also go over the analytics of individual listings by clicking on the “Insights” menu after navigating to the listing you wish to manage.
These critical details are only visible to owners and managers if you have added any to your Google My Business profile.
#6 Book an Appointment
There’s no button as such – like one similar to the “Request a quote” button. However, you can add your website URL or a link that sends the customer to a specific landing page that helps them book an appointment, buy a product, or request more details about your services.
You can enable this option by picking any of Google’s approved scheduling partners and track all of your bookings from there.
It is a fantastic tactic and is proven to increase click-through rates.
#7 Local favorites
It is an excellent feature for learning where you stand against competing businesses. The idea is that the top 5% of companies in every category get a bump in recognition from Google via “digital badges.”
It, in turn, increases business visibility to potential customers.
You can get on the “Local Favorites” list by answering queries and connecting to your customers quickly and professionally.
Google verifies all the genuine positive reviews you that you get if you’re active on the platform.
Posting high-quality content and offering discounts at least once a month will increase your chances of getting on the list vastly.
Make sure you get the Google My Business app! It is by far an essential element in managing your online profile – which the app enables you to do on the go.
The app will help you keep track of your business analytics, answer questions that users ask, and also reply to private messages that users send you. The UI is crisp and straightforward, and the lack of unnecessary fluff makes managing your listing simple.
Make sure you try different tactics and stick to and improve the ones that seem to work. Planned discounts and offers, exceptional service, and quick responses to queries – public and private, all contribute to your businesses online performance.
Different tactics have different levels of effectiveness, which is dictated by the kind of business you’re running and how you run it.
Google keeps their software fresh and updates their utilities every month – which help users and especially business owners to stay connected in better, more meaningful ways.
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