Do you keep seeing your competitors on Google Search and Maps, getting loads of customer reviews and hits on their website?
Local business listings on the main search engines and mobile apps have become even more important than they ever were before. And because Google is the biggest of them all, it is by far the most important for you.
Almost all businesses are trying to seize every opportunity they see online, as Google advertises the benefits of its services and how they can help local businesses thrive.
But how do you know which options make sense for your business?
How do you know when something is a waste of time and money?
Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of using Google for Business as part of your marketing strategy.
What is Google Business?
Google Business is a suite of core products that play a critical role in your online presence. These include Google Maps, Google Reviews, and Google Ads. With these tools, you can leverage the power of the world’s most popular search engine to promote your business, connect with customers, and attract new leads.
The advantages of the Google Business suite of products are many but come with a few potential downsides, as well. The products within Google Business are integrated with one another, meaning that one feature can affect the others. You also need to commit to using all the products for them to be truly effective.
Google Business should be the first thing you set up when you decide you want to leverage the power of Google to increase leads.
Google Business is your hub for managing how you appear in Google search results.
You can edit your business information, add photos, chat to customers and respond to reviews – all from one place.
You can learn more about setting up your Google Business profile here.
Google Maps is the map search engine that comes with directions, nearby businesses, and reviews.
When you claim and verify your business on Google Maps (for FREE!), you gain more control over how your business information appears on Google. You can add special offers, hours of operation, business type, images, and more. Maps can help you attract new customers who are in your area.
If you use all the features within Maps, you’ll have a full-fledged presence in Google Maps and on Google Search, which means you have the potential to be seen by a lot of people.
Google Business also includes Google Reviews, which allows customers to leave feedback about your business, both good and bad. And Google will display the review where it’s most likely to be seen - and it's FREE!
When you respond to reviews, it should be in a helpful, non-defensive way. When you are helpful, others see this, and they are more likely to click on your name and visit your site. Reviews benefit you as well as your customers. They let you showcase your expertise, and they also help build trust between your business and potential leads.
There are several ways to encourage positive feedback. You can ask for feedback at the end of every appointment, and you can also remind customers they can leave feedback on Google. You can then also use these reviews in a testimonial section of your website or as hero quotes. Find out ways to get more reviews here.
Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) is a pay-per-click advertising model. Use Ads if you want to spend to appear near the top of Google search results for specific search terms that you choose. If someone clicks on your ad, you’re charged for that click. Prices vary depending on the popularity and competition for your search term but you can set a specific budget for each term.
Google Ads is an excellent way to reach local customers who are actively looking for a solution to their problem.
But it isn’t a magic button. You need to create a compelling ad that grabs attention and drives clicks.
It’s important to test different ads to see which ones work well for your business.
Google Business including Maps, Reviews and Ads is a powerful suite of tools that lets you take control of the way your business appears in Google search results.
With Google Business, you can create a detailed profile that includes information about your brand, hours of operation, respond to reviews and even special offers.
Google Business enables you to extend your online presence to more devices and reach more people.
When you use Google Business effectively, you can increase foot traffic to your business and attract new customers.