A myriad of steps goes into starting a brand new business. Finding a brilliant idea, securing financing, jumping through legal hoops, and finally (after hundreds of other steps) creating the startup are just the first steps. Then, the digital marketing mayhem begins. You need to create a website, blog, email aliases, newsletter signup forms, business profiles on social platforms and review sites—and that’s just the beginning. Fortunately for us all, Google is taking a big step out of the painful process with its new app: Google My Business.
Google My Business helps you take charge of what people see when they do a search for your business. Basically, it’s a local profile for your company that appears when people use Google to find businesses to satisfy their needs. Say you own an Italian restaurant in Boulder, Colorado, this listing appears when people near Boulder search for “delicious food near me” or ask Siri “Where’s the best place to eat in Boulder?”
Before I jump into all the features and benefits of Google My Business, you should know from the get-go that it’s all completely free. Yep. The app, profile, features, website, and support—all free. In this post, I’m going to break down all the cool new features that’ll help take your business from “Now Open” to the hot spot in town.
Manage All Your Business Info Across Google Search and Maps
Want to change your holiday business hours? Or need to update your phone number? Keep all your business information relevant and up-to-date straight from your phone, tablet, or computer. When you make updates in Google My Business, it’ll automatically update your profile on both Google Search and Maps. Now your customers will always have the right info they need to give you their business.
Engage with Your Customers
Respond to reviews, questions, and messages from customers in real-time with app notifications. Now, when your customer drops a 1-star review about a terrible experience, you’ll be able to respond immediately, remedy the situation, and build customer loyalty. This makes reviews a two-way conversation, the way they should be.
Learn How People Are Finding and Interacting with Your Business
You can use Google My Business to discover deep insights about your customer community. You can dive into analytics like clicks, calls, reservations, picture views, where customers came from, how they find you, and more. Imagine what you could do with that information! For example, you may find a lot of customers visit from a specific town, which could influence where you expand your next location. Or you may discover that the picture of the smoked salmon is consistently getting the most views, prompting you to keep it on the menu.
Build a Simple and Free Website
With Google My Business, you can build a no-frills website in less than 10 minutes from your computer or phone. It’s no custom-themed WordPress or Squarespace design, but it’s a clean and uncomplicated page for your customers to visit. Plus, your website automatically updates with info on your Business Profile, so it’s always up-to-date. One less step for you.
Share Photos, Posts, and Special Offers
Give anyone searching for your business a good reason to come in by sharing updates and photos directly to your Business Profile on Google. If you’ve got a local band playing onsite, make sure everyone knows about it. And if you’re selling BOGO t-shirts, post the offer so nobody misses out. Then, check back later to see insights about how each post, photo, or offer performed to guide your future business decisions.
Enable Customers to Make Reservations Right from Google
When people find your business on Google, you can enable them to make a booking right from your Business Profile. No longer will your customers have to find your website, navigate the menu, and then fill out the booking info to make a reservation. Enabling the booking button is easy! Just sign in to your Google My Business account and pick one of the scheduling partners. From there, you’ll be able to easily track all the bookings from your Google profile.
Google My Business is a game changer for small business owners. It makes it easier than ever for customers to find up-to-date information about your business by taking several steps out of the customer-conversion process. Now, potential customers can find your business in a single search or a simple question to their smartphone. Customers can see your location, phone number, menu, special offers, pictures, reviews, popular times, events, and more—and they can even make a reservation right from the Google search page. That’s simplicity and convenience at its finest!
Plus, Google My Business is free, so you don’t have to fight the bidding war on search, display, or social ads (or have thousands of followers on Facebook) to compete. The new Google My Business levels the playing field for small business owners and helps customers find exactly what they’re looking for. The small business owner digital marketing experience has never been easier.