We will cover the following in this blog:
- How to claim your business listing / upload content / reply to reviews
- How to boost positive engagement
- Tips for increasing conversions
A Google Local Business Listing is an often overlooked tool in the marketing arsenals of local businesses, whether its claiming a listing or having a claimed listing and optimizing it to increase conversions, website visits, phone calls, messaging the business and getting directions.
If you are not sure whether you have a Google Local Listing, then the first thing you want to do is head over to google.com/business and click on the blue Manage Now button to either claim an existing listing or create a new one.
Chances are that you already have one and when you type your business name you will be given the opportunity to claim it, but if not, then Google does make it easy to follow the steps to create and complete your local business listing.
Note, once you have completed your listing, Google will ask you to verify your business which is usually done via a physical postcard, sent to your business address which contains a verification number. This process is what helps keep Google Business Listings accurate and as a result, trusted by consumers.
With your newly claimed or created business listing on Google, you will want to spend some time going through the business setup steps to complete your profile. These include adding your logo and a cover image to make it easy to identify your brand, your store hours, products/service, the business category they fall under and the areas you service. You will also be able to add your phone number, email and website address and an “about your business” section at this time too.
This is a critical step in setting up your listing so that when potential customers are viewing it, they are able to get a good sense of who you are, what you do and how to contact or visit your business so take the time to do this accurately and don’t forget to update it when things change such as new hours, products etc.
The above steps are really just the beginning of your Google Local Business journey, and like a website, it requires some ongoing work to optimize it for getting visibility in Google local search, as well as getting conversions from visitors who might also be viewing your competitors listings to help them decide where to spend that hard earned cash. The first, and probably the simplest thing you can do to your listing to help it to show up in Google local search results and to get people engaging with you is to post updates which could be events, offers, products or simply updates from the business, directly to your listing and add new photos each week.
TIP: photos of happy smiling customers engaging with your product or your happy smiling employees are always going to go down well. To start, it’s better to do 1 or 2 times a week and keep it up rather than 4-5 times a week and not be able to maintain that rate . If that is too much of a commitment to start with, then take one or two of the posts you do on Facebook or Instagram and use that content to create a post on your Google listing.
The next thing you want to look at doing is getting reviews from happy customers onto your listing and making sure that you reply to those reviews, good and bad, within 48hrs. If it’s a great review then thank the reviewer. If it’s a negative review, then think about what the next person to read the negative review, and most importantly your response, will think. That will guide you in how humble you need to be in your responses.
According to Qualtrics.com, 91% of 18-34 year olds trust online reviews as much as personal ones and 93% of customers read online reviews before buying a product. Imagine, for every 100 people who visit your local business listing, your reviews are going to influence 93 of them, and with statistics like that you need to look very hard at not only getting reviews but responding to all of them promptly. It is important to note that this is not restricted only to Google reviews but covers all online reviews from Yelp to Tripadvisor, Facebook to Instagram and every other online review source available. Remember, Google is a search engine and online reviews are one of the many factors that make up the Google Local ranking power of your business.
Asking for online reviews can be as simple as getting the “Request Review” link by clicking on the Home link in the left hand menu and looking for the “share review form” button. Copy this link and use it as part of your customer’s post purchase journey by sending them an email with a link to leave a review on your Google Listing and while you’re at it, go ahead and include your Facebook review link as well.
Tip: There are online review management websites such as reviewtrackers.com and birdeye.com that can make the job of requesting and managing your reviews a lot easier by collating them into a central platform.
Andy Seeley is CEO and Co-Founder of Creatively Disruptive, where he leads a team of digital marketing mavens and works with small business owners with Facebook marketing.