Imagine: You have been working all day without a break.
You finally get off work and realize that you’re so hungry, you’re angry; it’s called hangry.
Those hangry rumblings make you want to find the nearest restaurant, so you can fill yourself up.
Where do you turn?
Most likely you’ll turn to Google, and subsequently a Google My Business listing, on your smartphone to find a close restaurant with good reviews and some appetizing photos.
Now imagine you own that restaurant. You just scored a new customer!
According to Google, every month there are over five billion searches for restaurants, three billion searches for hotels, one billion searches for clothing stores, and another 600 million searches for hair and beauty salons.
As a marketer, it’s your job to turn those searches into new customers. When prospects are looking for a specific product, service or type of business, Google My Business helps them easily connect on both Google Search and Maps.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool that allows small business owners (and nonprofits) to promote their business information on Google Search and Maps. With Google My Business, you can connect with your customers, post updates to your business profile, and see how customers are interacting with your business on Google.
Consider Google My Business like your own piece of property on Google local. When customers find themselves in a moment of need (also known as a micro-moment) they turn to Google search to fulfill that need as quickly as possible.
If you have a Google My Business profile, then the potential customer may very well find and contact your business to satisfy that need.
It’s important to note that Google My Business does not replace your website; instead, it’s a complementary marketing profile to help drive more eyes on your website.
Google My Business features help you to attract, engage, and convert customers. With a verified Google My Business profile, you can:
- Connect with customers through phone calls, messaging, or responding to reviews
- See how customers interact and connect with your brand on Google
- Feature products, photos, or menu items right on Google
Before you can do anything, you need to create a Google My Business profile, so let’s walk through the process. Note: This is the same process you’d follow if a listing already exists for your business and you clicked on the “Own this business?” link within the listing.
How to create a Google My Business profile
Now you understand the marketing potential that Google My Business provides, but how do you create a new profile? Below are nine steps to creating a Google My Business profile. If you’re a visual learner, I’ve created this handy video to guide you along the way.
For those who like to read instructions, follow the process below to build out your business profile.
Step 1: Start by going to google.com/business
Be sure to bookmark this address, as you’ll need it to access your Google My Business profile in the future.
Step 2: Log in with your Google account
If you don’t have a Google account, visit google.com/accounts. You’ll be able to create a free account with any email address.
Step 3: Enter your business name
Be sure you spell your name correctly and use Title Case (where you capitalize the first letter of each word.) This is the first impression for a customer, and you want to make sure it’s a positive experience.
Step 4: Enter your business address
This screen is where you’ll enter your business address, so Google can verify that your business exists. This cannot be a post office box or mailbox in a storefront like Postal Annex or UPS Store. You can also only have one business per residence.
Step 5: Choose whether you’re a storefront or a service provider
Here’s where you choose whether you want customers to visit your storefront or if you work from home or would prefer your customers don’t visit your office, you can choose a mile radius around your business, a specific city or state, or a group of zip codes.
Step 6: Choose your Primary business category
Choosing your primary category is very important because it dictates where and when you will show up on Google searches. Google is all about relevance, so if a potential customer searches for “Italian Restaurant” but you’re a pizza place, then you may not show up. If the customer searches for “Best pizza near me,” then you’d have a much better chance of your business profile showing up in the search results.
Step 7: Add your phone number and website
Both phone calls and website clicks are tracked by Google My Business, so make sure your information is correct here.
Step 8: Verify your local listing (most likely with a postcard)
According to Google, to manage your business information in Search, Maps, and other Google properties, you must verify your business listing. The verification process helps Google make sure your business information is accurate and that only you, the business owner or manager, has access to it.
Step 9: Finish populating your Google My Business profile
I’ll talk more about optimizing your Google My Business profile in the next installment of our Google My Business series.
Putting it all together
Imagine a new customer coming into your store and telling you they found you on Google. They found YOU. Now, stop imagining because it’s all possible with Google My Business. Take advantage of this free tool brought to you by Google, so you can start attracting, engaging, and converting new customers right away.