There’s no getting away from the reality that is Google. Whether we like to engage with behemoth-sized corporations of international scope or not, it is hard to imagine that our businesses will not benefit from Google in some way or another. At least that’s the situation for now.
Google supplies systems and applications that are extremely useful to small businesses, with Google Maps being one of these. Small business use of Google Maps, formerly known as Google Places, contributes as being one of the best ways to drive more traffic to your website and to increase ‘phone calls in to your business. Though, it is important to say that Google Maps works better for some small businesses than for others. Most effectively Google Maps performs better for businesses where a customer visit to a specific location is necessary. In fact, according to Google, around 30% of mobile searches are related to location.
So, if yours is a bookshop, a salon, a café or restaurant or any kind of business where customer interaction face-to-face is required for sales to be made then Google Maps will contribute as an essential element of your marketing mix. That’s not to say Google Maps doesn’t work for businesses one or more steps back from the high street. It does.
Let’s take the salon as an example. If the salon is not found using Google Maps in a search, then aside from those people who walk by or drive past the salon, and the word of mouth about the salon that has spread locally, the salon will be largely invisible. Conversely, supposing a potential customer who plans a visit to a salon in the area where your salon is located, and supposing too that your salon were to be found using Google Maps then your salon will be turned up in a list of Google search results. A visit to your website is very likely to happen and more likely too a phone call to your business will be made.
However, if you would like to be found on Google Maps by registering with Google yourself, then you will need to register for Google My Business and then follow through on the steps.
The Google Maps application is part of the bigger Google My Business picture. The platform was created so that your business online presence across Google’s various platforms, including Google Local (Google Maps), Google+, Google Analytics and AdWords can be managed and tracked.
Once you have gone through all the various steps and your business is verified, you may need to wait 24 hours for the verification to be fully activated. Simply run a Google search or search on Google Maps to see if your business shows up.
An essential part of the process is to make your business profile with Google every bit as good as it can possibly be. Don’t forget, when people are searching for a business like yours then your business will show up in a list of search results alongside your local area competitors. You will want these people to choose you and your business - not your competitors!
Just as essential is your time in making reviews of your business information to ensure your profile is still accurate. What a disaster it would be for potential customers to call the wrong telephone number, write to a discontinued e-mail address or show up at a location where your business no longer operates! Visit your profile when you can to check your business name is correct, your business category is correct and your opening hours are correctly stated. Check your website, e-mail address and ‘phone number too. Finally, ensure your physical location address is accurate.
Should you find any of your profile information to be incorrect – correct it straight away!