Google My Business (or GMB, as we’ll refer to it from here on out) is a great way to get an advantage over other local competitors. But are you using it to it’s fullest potential? If you aren’t sure, never fear! We put together this list of four strategies that will help you maximize your GMB’s effectiveness.
Strategy 1 – Seek Customer Reviews
This is always a great strategy to improve your GMB page. Not only is it cost effective- after all, no money comes out of your pockets- it is also an excellent way to make your business more appealing to searchers. Put yourself in their shoes. Let’s say you were setting out to find a contractor in your area, with no experience in the area. How can you tell if a contractor will do everything they claim if there isn’t a third party to back up what the contractor is saying? But if a business has a number of four or five star review, it automatically becomes much more appealing to local searchers. If you are a business owner, GMB reviews are crucial to making your business more trustworthy to potential customers.
Getting positive reviews isn’t a huge ordeal, but it does require a little legwork on your part to encourage satisfied customers to leave a review. The simplest way to do this yourself is with a quick email, text, or even verbal request; oftentimes, this is enough for a happy customer to review their experience. But if, for whatever reason, this doesn’t work, it might be worth considering a review-management platform. Programs such as ReviewPush, Pozative, or BirdEye allow you to manage existing reviews, respond to new reviews, and send out requests for new reviews over text message.
Regardless of the approach you choose, when you encourage customer reviews, you should be sure to ask customers for their honest and detailed opinions. And if possible, ask for photographs of the work your business did or the product they purchased; images go a long way towards making your GMB profile more visible.
Strategy 2 – Don’t Spam!
As tempting as it may be to attempt to cheat the system, it will not work in the long run. In this day and age, Google is more than capable of spotting when someone is automating content creation, stuffing keywords, or employing any number of spammy strategies. And they can certainly tell if you are paying customers to give you a positive review. Customers can as well; they can spot a bought review a mile away.
Unsurprisingly, so can Google. It is very apparent when a company simply pays some sketchy site for a glowing review of their product or service. Oftentimes, sites will be able to detect and flag any dubious reviews, which will result in your site being flagged as untrustworthy, which is the last thing you want. When you are flagged, visitors to your website will be greeted by a popup alerting them to the dishonesty of your site. Obviously, this is the last thing you want, so never purchase reviews, no matter how you are tempted.
But this doesn’t just go for business who purchase reviews; it also extends to more gray area practices, such as offering future discounts in exchange for a positive review on your GMB profile. This could seriously backfire. Say someone mentions the incentive in their review; this could make other potential customers think that the praise is dishonest. And if customers aren’t fooled and still purchase your business’ product or service, they will be in for a rude shock when they do not get what they expected. Since these spammy strategies are so risky, it is best to avoid them altogether and stay on the straight and narrow.
Strategy 3 – Respond to Negative Reviewers
It goes without saying that you should work to preempt bad reviews whenever you can. This means really analyzing your business and customer service to make sure that everything is operating smoothly and that your customers walk away satisfied. Although this is a never ending process, having a good business that caters to its customers is the only way to avoid negative reviews. Make sure you do everything in your power to see that buyers walk away happy.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. So if you do receive negative reviews on your GMB profile, be sure to contact these customers! Apologize for their frustrations and make it clear that you are working to improve your business. This way, the buying public- your potential customers- will see that customer service is a top priority, even after they make their purchase and leave.
Strategy 4 – Take Advantage of GMB’s Tools
Our last piece of advice for increasing the visibility of your GMB profile is to utilize the new tools that Google has introduced for the program.
One of the most eye catching of these tools is the Google Marketing Kit. This allows you to make a number of promotional materials such as posters, stickers, and even social media posts. These are perfect for advertising online and in person about your business events and sales.
The social media tools are particularly worth checking out. You could take sections of positive reviews and turn them into head-turning, timeline ready posters you can share on your company’s social media profiles. If you use it right, this tool could really skyrocket your online visibility.
Another new feature to GMB allows customers to follow your business’ GMB profile, the same way they would follow someone on Twitter or Facebook. Not only is this a great way to keep customers up to date and in touch, it also offers customers access to
- New blog posts
- Updates on products and special offers
- Posts from your GMB profile
This is sure to increase awareness of your brand, both among people that already follow you, as well as their own social networks.
And last but not least, Google Posts allow you to get creative with the ways you advertise special offers and events. You can also embed videos, images, and call to action buttons, all of which are key to improving engagement.
But these tools aren’t particularly helpful if you don’t know what is working and what isn’t. Luckily, Google Posts also offers in-depth analytics that allow you to see how users respond to the content and advertisements that you put out. This information is crucial to adapting your methods to your customer base.
GMB is also rumored to be rolling out a “local favorites” feature. This will give badges to businesses that are at the top of their heap in their local markets. There haven’t been many details released about this feature or how it will work; for example, it isn’t clear how business and regions will be categorized. But be sure to be on the lookout- it is certainly motivation to improve your business and its ad campaigns!
GMB is a great tool for business to improve their online presence, but only if you know how to use it. Hopefully, these tips will help you optimize your business’ GMB profile!