Google My Business (GMB) is a free listing offered by Google that allows you to tell web searchers key information about your company, which can lead to sales. As we discussed in a prior blog, GMB is the best way to maximize your local SEO. Creating a GMB profile also increases your chances of showing up on Google’s:
- Local Pack
- Local Finder
- Google Maps
This listing will also improve your business’ organic rankings in general.
All of this means that someone using Google to search for a local print shop will see a listing for your company in results. With the boosted SEO that GMB provides, your business will appear higher on the results list, which makes it more likely that the searcher will go to your website or visit your shop. The only investment you need to make to create a comprehensive GMB page is time, and the return can be significant.
The first thing you need to do is claim your page by typing in the company name and fill in basic information. This includes:
- Telephone Number
- Business Hours
- Website Address
- Category of Business
- Types of Payments Accepted (optional)
After you input this information, check it for accuracy then check it again. A wrong digit in the phone number or inaccurate hours of operation will harm your reputation and turn away customers.
You need to review your listing on a regular basis because Google includes a “suggest an edit” button on the primary listing pages. You may or may not be notified if someone has changed your listing. Devious competitors and people with too much time on their hands can go in and change your address, phone number or website URL simply to make trouble. This sabotage doesn’t happen often, but it does happen so you need to keep on top of this.
Beyond the Basics
Many business owners claim the GMB page and then forget about it. Not only do they run the risk of the problems discussed above going unnoticed, but they also are not taking full advantage of their page. GMB has been upgraded to allow you to go into great detail about the print and mail services you offer, and you should take advantage of this opportunity. Here are the key sections of GMB that you will want to use to maximize your listings’ impact:
- GMB Posts. These posts are usually brief and are like mini-ads or social media posts. You can use them to advertise new services, share information about key mailing dates around the holidays, and more. Adding images always help to grab the readers’ attention.
- Booking Button Feature. If you want to give people the opportunity to book an appointment with your company to discuss a new project, learn more about your integrated print and mail services, etc. this feature allows them to book this appointment directly from your GMB listing. Anytime you make it easier for someone to contact you, take advantage of it if it makes sense.
- Through this feature, current and potential customers can send you a text message directly from your listing. For this reason, your business phone listed in on the page should be a smartphone that is capable of accepting texts. You can create a message that people will receive when they text you so there is full engagement. For example, the message could be, “Thanks for your interest in our print and mail services. We’ll get back to you soon, Jane Smith.” Again, messaging makes it easy for people to connect with your business, so make it a priority.
- Questions and Answers. This great feature allows people to ask questions about your business and you can answer them. These notifications will not appear on your dashboard but if you install Google Maps on your phone and turn on “notifications,” you will receive them. It is important to know that other people can also answer questions and you need to monitor the process to assure that the information is correct and to respond appropriately to negative comments.
- Online Reviews. Google encourages businesses to responsibly request reviews from customers. These reviews help you stand out on search results, improves your SEO ranking and can establish online trust with your business. There are some restrictions, i.e. conflict of interest, but this process is otherwise straight forward.
- Photos and Videos. You can add photos and videos to your GMB listing, which is a great way to attract viewers to your listing and your business. You don’t need to be a professional photographer, or hire one, to take advantage of this great feature.
- Business Descriptions. You can include a description of your business on your listing so that people will know exactly what you do. Note that you are allowed 750 characters (not words) for your description but only the first 250 characters will appear before the viewer needs to click to read the entire description. For this reason, those first 250 characters need to concisely and powerfully convey what you do so you can attract new business. There are some restrictions on the description but none that should apply to your efforts.
- Services and Menus. This feature allows you to create a menu of services and detailed descriptions of each. For example, you could have a category of “Business Print Services” and within that category, you can have a list and description of what you offer, such as business cards, letterheads, mailings, report printing, etc. Other categories could include special event printing, print and mail services, fulfillment, holiday printing, school products printing and more. There are no restrictions on the number of services you can list. Pricing can be part of the service listing, but don’t include it if your prices vary. This feature allows you to detail what you do so that people with specific print and mail needs can find you.
Setting up each element of a GMB listing can be tricky and there are many great online articles that share how to do this. Our personal favorite is How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing by Sherry Bonelli. Ms. Bonelli provides easy to follow instructions and includes screenshots of the GMB listing pages so you know exactly where to go and what to do. The piece is also updated as Google adds new features, so it is a great resource.
GMB specifically supports small businesses that draw from a local client base so claim your business page and tell potential clients how you can meet their print and mail needs. Take full advantage of it by maximizing each element. Use it to connect with people who have questions, seek out reviews and truly highlight the services you provide. An additional benefit is that the more complete the descriptions and the more active the listing use, the higher it will appear in local searches. You have nothing to lose but a few hours of your time, but the reward is a broader reach to potential customers that can result in increased revenue.