Being a small business owner is no easy task. You have so much to manage and learn, and usually, you are doing it by yourself or with a fairly small team. Trying to get new business coming in and supporting your current customers is a full-time job in itself, but you don’t have a full day to dedicate to new lead generation and customer acquisition. That’s why utilizing the tools available to you and letting them do the heavy lifting is key to success as a small business owner.
A Google Business Profile can be one of the most important lead generation tools you have, if you’ve set it up and optimized it the right way. In this article, we’ll give you guidance on how you can create and optimize your Google Business Profile to gain more leads, get more clicks, and improve your online presence and rankings with just a few small tips.
What is a Google Business Profile?
A Google Business Profile, previously known as Google My Business, is a free online directory and listing tool through Google. With your profile, you can provide essential details about your business, answer questions, gather reviews, and help customers understand what your business is all about.
The profile will appear on a search results page as a box with information in it. Typically it will include your name, map location, hours of operation, phone number, star rating, and a few other detailed areas of information. The more filled out and optimized your profile is, the more likely it is to appear high on the Google search results page and even in the top three results.
Benefits of a Google Business Profile
Beyond having a free listing available online, there are a few other important benefits of a Google Business Profile that you should be aware of as a small business owner.
Better Rankings and Increased Visibility
The first benefit is better rankings and increased visibility in search results for local searches. When someone searches for a business near them, the Google Business Profile will take your physical location or areas of service into account and display higher on the search results page for relevant search results. That way you don’t get restaurants across the country when you search for “Italian food near me”.
Get More Reviews
Reviews are the lifeblood of many small businesses. Without reviews, your business might not look professional or legitimate to people searching for your industry. It will certainly be hard for them to gauge whether or not customers have enjoyed their experience with you if there aren’t reviews, which may lead them to choosing a competitor. Your Google Business Profile makes it easy to gather and manage reviews so that you can increase your star ranking.
Free and Easy
Google Business Profile is completely free to use. That makes it easy for you to set up and optimize without worrying about costs or fees. And it’s great to know that such an important marketing tool is cost-free so that you can get leads without a ton of resources put in. The more optimized your profile, the better traffic and clicks you get without paying one-time fees or subscription costs.
How to Set Up a Google Business Profile
Here are the steps you need to follow in order to set up your Google Business Profile and get it ready for your small business.
- Create a Google account for your business
- Go to “create a profile” in your Google Business page
- Enter the name of your business in the box
- Search for your business category, or the industry of your small business
- Choose whether you have a storefront location or not (If yes, you may need to position a marker or add your address)
- Enter the service area of your business (You can use postal codes, cities, or other areas to specify your business location and add multiple areas if needed)
- Enter your business phone number and website address
- Finish the set up
- Pick a verification option to finalize your Google Business Profile
Optimizing Your Google Business Profile
Now that you know how to set up a Google Business Profile and have a better idea of why it’s so important for your business to have a profile on Google, let’s dive into some of the best Google Business Profile tips for small business owners.
Complete Your Profile
If you follow the set-up steps from above, there are still a few more areas of detail that you can get into on your profile. You want to make sure that every possible area of information is completely filled out in order to get the most out of your business profile. That includes things like:
- Business Name
- Phone Number
- Website URL
- Services / Products
- Areas served
When you have all of your information filled out, your profile will be more authentic and authoritative to the Google algorithm, which can help boost your rankings and increase your online presence and visibility.
Authentic Business Description
The next step is to have an authentic and genuine business profile description. There are many types of small businesses, so you want to ensure that your business description captures what you do, what makes you special, why a customer should choose your business, and your core message that you want to communicate with your customers. You don’t have a ton of characters to accomplish this goal, so be creative and crafty with your copy.
Upload Photos and Videos
The next tip is to make sure that you have uploaded photos and videos on your Google Business Profile. Without any photos or videos, your box display will look plain and may even come across as unprofessional or sketchy to people who come across your business. Instead, make sure to upload photos and videos to increase authenticity and visual appeal. You can use photos of your building, your team, your products, or even reuse marketing and social media videos that you have on other platforms.
Respond to Reviews
Your Google Business Profile is also one of the most important review platforms your business will have. But review management is about much more than just collecting reviews for leads to see. You also need to respond to reviews, and you can do so in your profile account. By responding to all reviews, even negative ones, you can set yourself up for success. It shows potential customers that you care about their feedback and want to hear their voices. It also demonstrates that you can take criticism with grace and apologize for mistakes publicly.
Answer Questions in the Q&A Section
Another important section of the profile is your Q&A section. Here, customers or viewers can pose questions about your business, like your specific products or services, your hours on holidays, or where your business is located. Answering these questions again shows that you are able to provide clear answers and are responsive to customer concerns. It also helps you answer important FAQs that can help push a potential customer to clicking on your website or checking out your online store.
Post on Google
The posts you make on social media can also be shared on Google. You can post information on your Google Business Profile like details about your business, educational information in your industry, special offers you may have, or even news announcements and updates. As a small business owner, you can use your profile like a news board and help people learn more about your business while boosting your SEO efforts for specific local keywords.
List Your Services or Products
The final tip for your profile is to make sure that you are listing your products and services clearly on your profile. If someone comes across your business without a lot of prior knowledge about what you do, then you need to clearly state what you do and what you sell. This helps you get more qualified leads who are actually looking for what you offer, rather than cold leads who came to your business by mistake.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Demo
At Surefire Local, we work hard to help small business owners like yourself excel at essential marketing tasks. We make it easy for you to update your Google Business Profile and manage all other aspects of your marketing from a single platform. No matter what your business does, we have the tools you need to increase your customer base, find new channels, gain more online visibility, and grow your business. To learn more, get a demo of the platform now and see how Surefire Local can transform your business today.