Getting Your Business Online
- Why should I take my business online and keep updated?
- What is Google My Business?
- How to start with Google My Business?
Imagine you’re running a clothes shop in town and have an all type of variety clothes. You pull out your mobile phone and search for nearby clothes Shop or near me. Nothing appears in your search results. So, you walk around until you see a clothes shop with an “Open” sign – but the place is actually closed. Frustrated, you give up and leave.
Now imagine you own that clothes shop. You just lost a potential customer. That’s why it’s smart for businesses to be online and post the right information, especially considering how many potential customers are relying on search engines to find local businesses.
Let’s look at some stats
With stats like that, it’s clear that having your business online with up-to-date information is important. That’s where Google My Business comes in.
Google My Business is a free service that lets you claim a business listing on Google. It’s designed for traditional stores that run the store and sell face to face and other businesses that meet with local customers in person. With a Google My Business listing, important information about your business will appear to searchers in both Google Search and in Google Maps.
Here’s how it works: Let’s say someone searches for Ram Sweets Shop, which has a Google My Business listing.
The person will get a search result showing the shop’s location and address on Google Maps. They can see how far ram sweet shop is from them, and also get directions. The person will also see the phone number of Ram Sweet Shop. And, since they’re using their phone to do the search, they can easily call the shop just by clicking on the number.
The searcher will also get essential information like Ram Sweet Shop’s hours of running, including any special holiday hours, and their website URL. Ram Sweet Shop Google My Business listing can also feature photos and reviews, which helps searchers to become customers.
Photos help people reflect on the business and get satisfied with it. They can see what the inside of the shop looks like, for example, anyone can see the storefront when they arrive at its location.
Plus, listings with photos get 42% more map direction requests and 35% more clickthroughs to the business website than listings without photos. So, it’s a smart idea for Ram Sweet Shop to tell their business to “say cheese.”
The reviews on the Ram Sweet Shop listing can also be a great business move. 88% of customers say they trust online reviews as much as they trust a friend’s suggestions.
Google My Business also lets Ram Sweet Shop answer to all the people writing reviews, so they can keep engaging with her customers even after they’ve left her shop.
What if a person searches “places to get sweet shop” rather than “Ram Sweet Shop”? Well, that’s okay. If a local searcher looks for a question related to a Google My Business listing, that business and its info could still appear in the search results.
Setting up a Google My Business
Now let’s talk about the steps you’d take to set up a Google My Business listing. First, you’d visit google.com/business and click “Start Now.”
A form will appear. Enter your legal business name (no nicknames or slogans). If your business has multiple locations, don’t add extra info like cross streets. Also, don’t use ALL CAPS unless that’s part of your official business name.
After you add other basic information (like your address and main business number), you’ll need to select a business category. To do this, first think of how you’d describe your business, like “Ram Sweet Shop” or “Doctor Radha Hospital.” Then, write your description and see if it matches an existing category. It’s not a big deal if you can’t find the perfect category. If you can’t find one, use a generic category like “Store” or “Hospital.”
If you’re a service-based company without a storefront (like a plumber who serves a certain neighbourhood), you can click “I deliver goods and services to customers at their location” to have your service area appear on the map instead of your actual physical location.
Okay, you’ve set up Google My Business. Wait Wait! Don’t forget to verify your listing.
Usually, this involves requesting that Google My Business send a postcard to your business address. Once you get the card, enter its verification code into your Google My Business account to complete verification. This verification process is very important because it improves the chances of your business listing appearing in Google search results. Also, any changes you make to your listing will only go live after it’s been verified. Once the verification process is complete, you can respond to customer reviews and see “Insights” reports that show you how people find your info on Google.
DO THIS NOW
You may have a storefront or service-based business, or you may just be thinking about starting one. Either way, you can start making a to-do list to prep you for your Google My Business listing.
Let’s do it