Manage Your Business
Show customers you're open for (Google My) business
This article is part of a series that offers timely advice on marketing and social media for small businesses, presented by Chase Ink.
When you conduct a Google search for nearby Chinese restaurants or for a list of car washes open on Sundays, you'll likely receive a listing of businesses that exactly fit the search.
Click on one and information about that business appears—address, phone number, website and today's operating hours. Other features can include photos, driving directions and consumer reviews.
Any small business would benefit from such an optimal placement. And it can be done at no cost to the business for advertising.
Google My Business is a free online platform that gives small business owners direct control over how their businesses are seen and searched for on Google Search and Google Maps.
Once verifying the business (usually by requesting a code mailed to the business location), an owner can set it up in minutes, maintain it regularly, and make the listing work for his or her company.
A no-brainer for bolstering business
According to information provided by the Google small business expert team, 80 percent of consumers use search to find local business information like hours and addresses. Furthermore, businesses with complete Google My Business listings are twice as likely to be considered reputable than businesses with incomplete listings.
The only "investment" in Google My Business is the time taken to establish and periodically maintain it, so business owners should make it a priority—for these reasons:
- It works: According to Google, the average well-maintained Google My Business listing gets five times more views than comparable businesses without a listing. Google reports that 50 percent of consumers who conduct an online search for a local business visit it within a day of that initial search, and 18 percent of them make a purchase.
- It puts the "O" in "SEO": In the world of search engine optimization (SEO), Google My Business ensures that a business will not be left out of generic local searches within its industry or category. Owners who check their Google My Business dashboard weekly can quickly make updates or changes, and move on to more pressing matters without further worrying about how to elevate SEO.
- It protects and extends ad spend: With Google My Business as the foundation for organic online searches, a business can expand visibility with other strategic online marketing investments. For instance, an owner may choose to build on Google My Business visibility by investing in Google AdWords™. It is a pay-per-click service, so the business only has to pay Google when the ad actually works, by a consumer clicking onto an ad to visit the company's website or by making a phone call to the business.
This and other sponsored content on key social media sites, such as LinkedIn, enables a business to leverage advanced algorithms to pinpoint target audiences—and optimize return on investment. Plus, by using a credit card such as Chase Ink Business Preferred, business owners can earn valuable reward points.
- It guarantees accuracy: Don't leave to chance that online searches will direct visitors to the most accurate and consistent information about a business. Keeping the name, address and place current through the Google My Business dashboard is crucial to putting search to work for a business. Further, regular dashboard monitoring will give the owner direct visibility into what reviewers are saying about the business, offering the opportunity to engage quickly.
- It informs: Easy-to-understand analytics are updated continuously, and available for viewing right from the dashboard. See the number of clicks on the business's phone number, driving direction requests, and website visits received—and perhaps unearth seasonal trends that can shape forthcoming marketing and pricing decisions.