STRATEGY

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing and Increase Sales

Your Google My Business listing is your business’ most important page on the internet today.

Yep, even more important than any page on your website.

You’re probably skeptical about that, but consider this:

Google wants a positive experience for its customers and searchers, therefore it relies on a company’s Google My Business listing to provide instant information to consumers.

For example, the page can offer the ability to schedule an appointment, chat directly with a sales team member, or read customer reviews.

It’s also the number one search engine on the planet.

The data shows that most searchers use Google, are typically on a mobile device, and have high local intent.

Google values how their business listings are mobile-friendly, very quick to load, and produce quality information relevant to the searcher without having to click on the website in the search results.

These listings are an important piece to the local SEO strategy for a business and act like a digital anchor of sorts.

That is good for how you rank in local search results, but did you know it can also help drive leads and increase sales?

With some of the latest features Google has released, businesses now more than ever can attract would-be customers all from a simple search.

But before we get deep into the revenue drivers Google My Business can have, you need to create an account and claim your business.

It’s completely free by visiting https://www.google.com/business.

Now, here’s the critical point where too many companies fall short…

You’re Undervaluing What Google My Business Offers

Many companies just claim their Google My Business listing, fill in the required information, and then forget about it.

But Google isn’t just some old fashioned business directory listing service.

That means you need to take the tools Google provides and create a competitive advantage over your competition.

And, there are some sales-specific features Google has created you can utilize to generate more engagement and interest from a search query of your business.

These features can lead to more sales opportunities for your team.

Now it’s time to give your Google My Business listing the attention it deserves.

Here’s how to outdo your competition and increase sales…

Talk Directly to Customers Through Messaging

Live chat functionality for businesses are no longer nice to haves — they are one of the most vital communication channels for customers today.

But, not enough companies are utilizing any kind of digital instant messaging.

In fact, 72 percent of companies we researched in The State of Speed to Lead in Home Services were not using live chat on their website.

The main benefit of using messaging tools is allowing customers to get an instant response to the questions they need answered before deciding whether to engage in a sales conversation.

They either get the information they need, or move on to another competitor.

So, it’s no wonder why 79 percent of online customers say they prefer live chat purely because of the immediacy it offers compared to other marketing channels.

With your Google My Business listing, you can enable live messaging capabilities to text directly with customers from your cell phone.

This allows you to connect directly with searchers interested in what you have to offer, and engage with them in real time while they are looking at your Google My Business listing.

You could conduct an entire sales call via text messaging, increasing the odds of closing a deal, all from a Google search.

To start using Messaging, log in to your Google My Business dashboard and click on Messaging:

google my business messaging

After verifying your cell phone number and adding a custom welcome message reply, you’re up and running.

If you don’t want to receive Messaging directly to your phone’s text message inbox, you can download Google’s Allo app and connect your phone number to an Allo account.

This will send any messages directly into Allo and not get them mixed up with any other personal text messages on your cell phone.

While Messaging is a great way to interact instantly with customers, the feature is only available right now for mobile web users that perform a mobile web search on Chrome.

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Increasing Your Search Visibility with Posts

Essentially, Google Posts are like mini-ads or social posts that appear in your Google My Business listing.

They live under the Knowledge Panel and on your Google Maps listing, too.

This is a great opportunity to promote an event you are hosting, either at your location or virtually, and could link to a registration page.

You can also create a Post to show off a new product or service you now offer, with crisp imagery and calls to action back to your website for more details and pricing.

Around the holidays, have some fun with a festive Post your customers will appreciate.

To create a Google Post, simply log in to your Google My Business dashboard and you’ll notice Posts as an option in your left-hand sidebar:

google my business posts

Images are really important and can help entice a searcher to stop and engage with your Post, so be sure to use eye-grabbing imagery that has high enough resolution to be seen clearly on mobile and desktop devices.

Typically a Post will last for seven days before it disappears from your Google My Business listing, so plan accordingly when posting.

There really is a lot you can do here to promote, engage, and stand out in your Google My Business listing with an eye-catching Post.

Book More Meetings Using Appointment Links

If appointments or bookings are important to your sales process, you can enable appointment setting links in your Google My Business listing.

This allows customers to schedule a time for you to visit their home, or for them to come inside your business, without ever leaving Google to book the appointment.

google my business appointment links

This is a simple way to grab interest and convert more appointments directly from search and your business listing.

There is a catch to enabling this specific feature…

You have to use one of Google’s supported scheduling providers, listed here: https://www.google.com/maps/reserve/partners

Once verified and services are connected, sit back and watch your sales appointments come in from your Google My Business listing.

Ask For and Respond to Reviews

Some may argue it is unethical to ask customers for positive reviews, but Google encourages it.

Google has turned into the most trusted source for customer reviews, with 6 out of 10 consumers surveyed saying they first go to Google before any other online source.

Positive reviews and a high rating can help your business stand out in a Google search, and appear directly on your Google My Business listing.

google my business reviews

If you haven’t already, you can create a link to share with customers and ask them to write your company a review that appears in your listing.

However, please, don’t go asking your employees or friends and family to leave 5-star reviews.

Canadian communications giant Bell had to pay a government-imposed fine for faking positive reviews their own employees wrote.

Google also strongly discourages “review gating,” or filtering out people who were going to leave a negative review.

Instead, you should respond to all reviews — including the bad ones.

Studies show that consumers are more likely to visit a business that responds to negative reviews.

When you respond to every review your company receives, it shows customers and prospects you appreciate their feedback and that you care.

Don’t Neglect Questions & Answers From Prospects

One of the most underrated features that delivers the largest boost for local SEO is the Questions & Answers feature on your Google My Business listing.

Essentially, this is a FAQ page for your company that either you or your customers can answer.

This is a great pipeline for hearing directly from people asking about your business and services, and allows your team or your customers to respond to those questions.

The more information a searcher has on your business, the more likely they are to act and engage with your business.

There are some unique intricacies that businesses and sales teams need to keep in mind when dealing with Questions & Answers.

To see, ask, or answer questions in Google Maps about a business, a user must be:

  • Using Chrome on a desktop computer.
  • Using an Android device.
  • Performing a mobile browser search in Chrome on an iPhone or Android device.

However, Google has started sending email alerts to any email address tied to your Google My Business account when a new question is asked.

To answer any question under your business’ Google account, simply log in to Google Maps using the same credentials as your Google My Business listing, and answer the question.

You can upvote specific questions, and Google will rank those higher in the Questions & Answers section of your listing.

Keep in mind that anyone can answer questions about your business, not just you.

If you see inaccurate answers, you can reach out to the GMB support forums and report abuse.

Optimize Your Business Description

Early in 2018, Google announced business owners could include their own business Description, or snippet if you will, to their Google My Business listing.

This is another piece of real estate Google has granted businesses to tell prospective customers their story and what makes their business unique.

The Description is visible just below your reviews on your listing.

google my business description

You’re allowed 750 characters, but only the first 250 show up before being cut off in the Knowledge Panel.

So, put your most important information and keywords towards the beginning of your Description.

As with anything Google rolls out, there are guidelines Google makes you follow to make sure you are not spamming or being deceptive.

And yes, they do review Descriptions.

Start Using Your Google My Business Listing to Generate More Sales

Customers are looking for you, so make it easy for them to find you and be willing to spend money with you.

Your Google My Business listing allows you to manage interactions with customers and present key business updates to potential customers searching out your products or services.

Find the gaps in your marketing strategy.

TAKE THE FIRST STEP

 

AUTHOR

Ryan Melby
Ryan Melby
Director of Marketing Analytics

Ryan Melby is the Director of Marketing Analytics with Valve + Meter Performance Marketing. Ryan has served in a variety of marketing and finance roles throughout his 15+ year career that gives him a unique perspective in the marketing world. While working in finance, Ryan carried a variety of roles around accounting, data reporting creation and analysis and also systems development. While working in marketing, Ryan’s focus has been primarily in operating digital marketing campaigns but also using his finance history to create and analyze reports that focus on traditional and non-traditional marketing channels. Both of these skill sets work hand-in-hand with each other in this data-focused marketing age.