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The Most Important Free Google Service You Should be Using

Mar 16, 2021

Are you utilising all the resources designed to boost your online presence? Did you know that some of these programs and platforms are free?  Below, we discuss Google My Business profiles, explaining why you should have one, and how to maximise its effectiveness.

Picture this – you’re a local tradie and your job requires you to be out on site most of the day. Or you’re a healthcare provider spending most of your hours caring for your patients.  In both cases, you’re marketing to a local customer base and you know your Google My Business (GMB) listing is key to new clients finding your business, but you just don’t have the time to sit at a computer and keep your profile up to date.

Google My Business is a powerful marketing tool, especially for local based SEO but it only works if you work with it.  Remember, Google wants to connect users with the best result to their search query and this means the businesses that provide up to date information, respond and interact with their customers and post regular new content.

Enter the Google My Business app.

The GMB app is free, is available on both Android and iOS and its tagline – “Connect with your Customers” sums up its value perfectly. It supports almost all the functionality of the web version, but its standout feature is obviously the convenience factor, allowing you to work on your business profile whenever and wherever you are.

Let’s look at just a few of the things you can manage via the app.

Update Your Information

Did you know that anyone can suggest changes to your business information? Google wants GMB to be a community service, so users are free to submit corrections to your business name, address, phone number, opening hours and more. Google will ask you to approve any changes but if you don’t, they will automatically accept them, meaning your business information may be displayed incorrectly.

The GMB app has a profile section that allows you to view your business listing as it appears to a user and to easily update your information if needed. You can also add in special hours such as public holidays when you may be operating differently to usual, plus make updates to your business description, service area, logo and header image and business categories.

Respond to Reviews

Google’s official GMB support guide advises that you should “Interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business” and that “Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business.”  Responding promptly to reviews is important in offering a high level of customer service and presenting your business in the best light, not only to the original reviewer but also to any potential customers reading your reviews.

The GMB app has a tab specifically for customer interaction (aptly labelled “Customers”) that displays all your current reviews – simply tap on one to type and post a reply. The Customer section also includes management of messages (if you have this feature enabled on your profile) and information on your Followers (customers also using the GMB app who have chosen to follow your business for updates).

Upload Photos

Snapped a picture of your latest job or your team at work? Upload it straight from your phone to your profile using the photos section of the app. Posting photos on the go is one of the quickest and easiest ways to keep your profile up to date and give customers a view into the day to day operations of your business. You can also view stats in this section on how many times each photo has been viewed so you know which images perform best for your business and what you should post more of.

Add New Posts

Posts on your GMB act in a similar way to social media posts, allowing you to add updates, post news or promote special offers. Make sure you add a photo to attract attention and a button to link back to your website, booking page or to your phone number so customers can call you directly from the post. If you’re already posting to Instagram or Facebook from your phone, it’s just a quick extra step to open the GMB app and add your post there as well.

View Performance Statistics

The home screen of the GMB app gives you some basic data on your profile’s performance including how many views you’ve had in search results, how many times you’ve been seen in the maps view and the total number of activities or interactions customers have taken on your listing.

Clicking through to the report section gives more in-depth statistics including how customers are finding you and how they’re interacting with your profile (visiting your website, requesting directions to your location or calling your phone). It also shows information on how many phone calls come through on each day of the week, giving you a strong indication of your busiest times, and how your photos are measuring up against your competitors so you know when you need to up your game (and since uploading photos is so easy with the app, that won’t be a problem at all).

Getting started with the GMB app is easy too. Simply download it from the app store, sign in with your Gmail account and your existing GMB profiles will be there and ready to go. With access to your profile readily accessible, and customer interaction just a tap away there really is no excuse for not using your Google My Business profile to its full capacity.

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