Google Maps for Small Business:
Here’s all you need to know for your business on Google Maps.
Google Maps makes it easier for people to find you. simple. Even better, people are just a click away from calling you or getting directions – having the little voice in their phone give them the turn-by-turn right to your front door.
Google Maps results are powered by location based search; weighing where you are to better show you what you’re searching for.
This means small local businesses have the edge – and a chance to beat the big chain stores at the online marketing game.
For brick and mortar storefronts, Google Maps means getting found and having people, new customers ready to buy, sent to your front door and it also means great SEO for your bur business and it’s also great digital marketing and better yet, it’s all free.
Google Maps gives customers a path from idea and consideration (searching online) to a purchase – at your register. In maps, the two biggest prompts are “Call” and “Directions” – both of which are far closer to you making a sale than if they go to your website or facebook page.
Here’s the big problem; many businesses aren’t managing their listing, or have even claimed it, which means users can create one or google generates one. Every business must control and manage their online listings or risk losing a ton of business.
How to get your Google Maps business listing;
It all starts with Google My Business – create or claim your profile there. Make sure all your listing info is complete and consistent; name, address, phone, hours, website – it should match your website which should match your Facebook page which should match your every other online listing. The better the match, the better the results. Inconsistent data tells the search engines that your info is unreliable and that’ll really ding you in the search results. Don’t let that happen – you can download our listing worksheet – use it to just copy and paste so all your listings are the same in every online directory from the Chamber to Yelp and everything in-between.
One quick tip on your phone number – listing your local number (instead of an 800#) reinforces to Google that you’re local.
To make your maps listing stand out – and to take advantage of this free and most valuable marketing space – add your logo, add photos, get some happy customer reviews and their photos and you’ve provided prospects with the social proof they need to make a decision and easy path to the purchase.
Get Ranked Higher on Google Maps
You want to get in the “Local Three Pack” – the top three local results displayed at the top of the page or in a box right under the map.
You want in that box.
To get there, complete every bit of your profile, especially your hours, phone #, website url, logo and cover photo and business category, you can pick up to 10 including a primary – use all 10.
You want photos of your exterior to make it easy to spot while driving by and you want photos of the interior so people feel instantly comfortable when they arrive, almost like they’ve been there before. Add at least a dozen photos of your staff in action, customers enjoying your product, anything fun. Caption each photo – this is a really effective part of your listing, give prospects a chance to see happy customers and it’s easier for them to buy.
By claiming or adding every online listing you can, and making sure all the data matches, you’re showing the search algorithms that you are relevant and trustworthy. It’s called “Authority Optimization”. When you add in a dozen positive reviews from several sources, you’re well on your way to convincing Google that you are most relevant and most worthy of that top spot in the organic listings – all for free, an investment of time, not cash.
Your customer reviews are a big part of this; Google gives more and more weight to social engagement and “social proof” – what real people are saying about you. The more reviews you get and the more you respond to them, the better results you get. Many review sites factor in, but the big three are Google reviews (of course), then Yelp, and Facebook. Asking customers for reviews is fine when handled well – strike while the iron is hot; people are much more likely to write a review just after their experience with you – and it’s much more likely to be loose and natural.
Google Maps is a big win. Take your prospects from searching to selling smoothly. There is a lot of money to be made from having that top spot. So make sure that you:
- make sure your data is complete and consistent
- take advantage of all 10 business categories in your listing
- upload a dozen or more photos giving a real life look at your business
- get a dozen or more good reviews on Google, Yelp, and Facebook
This gives you a rock solid foundation for all your other marketing – and it really pays off.