How do I use Google My Business?
There is no magic formula for all the services available to promote our businesses. New customers will find you through a number of ways – social, website, local search, word of mouth etc… It is best to encompass all areas. When I was running events, going to local fairs and shows, there was really nothing better than meeting a few hundred people per day, selling product, promoting my services and giving them a business card. I made many solid connections in this way. Just as I am a huge fan of networking events. Its important to remember its not about selling, its about connecting. Tell people what you do, be human, ask questions, get to know people. Those connections will put you in contact with people who may have a wider network who need your skill. If not, worse case scenario is you have built up a business network. Win. Win.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is really showing every single service you have to potential customers, and is great for both ‘Local Search’ and virtual offerings. You register on the site and they then send out a postcard to the address given to verify the address. Even if you have a home based business and you don’t want it to be visible, you can hide it after you receive the postcard. The postcard has a code on it which is entered and then your page is verified making it live on Google My Business.
What is a Google Post?
Google is trying to become the next social media platform after limited success with Google+. Google Posts last for 7 days on your Dashboard and are a way of promoting your business, an event or activity. It is best to keep posts short and sweet. Posts do stay on Google for longer than 7 days, as they appear in Google Search results. As with anything which involves Google, the more of their services you use, the more favourably they look upon your site. ‘Google Posts’ are as important as any other social media platform. This should now be part of the Social Media Strategy of any business.
How do I use Tracking Codes?
With any information made available on the internet, you want to know where the data is coming from, as with all analytics. So within these ‘Google Posts’ you will want to use a (UTM) tracking code. This is a simple code attached to a URL and tells you where the origin of your audience came from – a blog post, a news article etc..
What are the advantages of ‘Google Posts’?
One of the main advantages, although there are many is that is keeps information up to date and fresh. There is nothing worse than searching for information and finding an old tweet from 2012. There is some much expired data, it is definitely a drive to give you as the customer, a more worthwhile experience. Most information has a life span so this function just helps to keep things fresh.
This is why these posts are best to be kept short and simple. They are great for advertising an event, a sale, something happening imminently. They will have a greater rank in search results and make you easier to find for your customers.
Is there a way around the 7 day rule?
You can schedule an end date further into the future, but this will not help your ranking or visibility on the platform. But you can extend the time if needed for an event in the future for example. The analytics from Google will only be given for a 7 day period.
Are reviews important?
Reviews have been a key ranking and visibility factor for a long time, but are more important than ever. Google essentially ranks to a large part on the best result received, reliability, customer satisfaction. Its the feel good factor! A happiness scale if you wish. The way in which reviews have affected rank has changed recently.
There have been a number of businesses who have reported huge financial losses because their rank and visibility dropped due to their reviews. The common link here is that most were selling quite cheap products, and the customers were rarely happy and therefore they left bad feedback. The company never acted on this. So when this change came about they lost a lot of business. The key factor here is always stay one step ahead.
Amazon is the number one retailer in the world, Jeff Bezos tells a story that one of his fundamental beliefs is about creating an amazing customer experience. This has to be a core belief and realisation in business. Possibly something which was lost over the years. He tells a story about how the Akio Morita, Founder of Sony had the same vision. Japan had always been known for producing cheap products to export. After the war, Akio Morita wanted Japan to be known for producing high quality goods, not Sony, but JAPAN. The vision was huge. Jeff Bezos is well known for reflecting this within Amazon. With a similar approach Google is able to have a similar impact on businesses around the world.
What else can I do to help my business?
I think firstly and foremost, putting out your business, and its services onto all available platforms is the first rule. Having a solid strategy for digital marketing is the second. I see so many local businesses not using any of these platforms. Business is definitely being lost if these online options are not being utilised.
Use everything Google puts out there. Google is known for changing up their ideas frequently. Jump on every new idea because you don’t really know the positive impact is will have on your business. They also reward businesses massively with the more products they use.
Citations. Address and contact details. Recently Google have been more stringent with businesses where they have broken links, contact info which invalid or has not been updated. Again this affects the customer experience. Run a tight ship is the answer. It would be a shame to lose out on customers due to some very minor errors.
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