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Why Every Small Business Needs Google My Business

We have a guest blogger on Direct Talk today - Mark Simmons, a 20+ year marketing veteran and the founder/CEO of Mixed Digital, a full-service marketing agency in Durham.

According to research from Hubspot, 97% of consumers use a search engine to discover local businesses in their area. From restaurants, to auto care, to lawyers, often new business starts as a search on Google Maps. That’s exactly where Google My Business (GMB) comes in. As a business owner, you want to claim, maintain, and optimize your GMB profile so potential customers can easily find you, before they find your competition.

It’s About Visibility

Compared to a business that’s taken the time to optimize their GMB listing, one that hasn’t been given attention can be difficult to find. By properly setting up your profile with accurate information, you’re telling Google that your business is important and they should think it is as well. Incomplete profiles don’t get shown in search results as prominently and that can cost you money.

Reviews Are Paramount

How often do we search on Google and get swayed by reviews? For me, it’s all the time. When I’m in a new city looking for a place to eat, I won’t even think about a place that has a 4-star rating or below. I also look at the number of reviews because a 5-star with one review is less impressive than a 5+star with 25 reviews. Numerous, positive reviews send a strong signal to Google and boosts your presence in the search results. Google, after all, looks to improve the user experience and reviews are a quantifiable way to accomplish this.

GMB Features Boost User Engagement

Google realized a shifting trend: That people would rather get as much information as possible while searching than click through to a broader website. Your website isn’t any less important, it’s just a commentary on user behavior and shorter attention spans. In turn, Google has created several features within GMB that add to the user’s experience.

Posts are like mini blogs that stay live for a week. You can use these to highlight products, services, announcements, or anything you feel customers would find valuable. This creates fresh content and lets Google know you’re actively maintaining the profile.

Offers are a way to create specific and enticing deals for first time customers or to reward existing customers with a discount on a new offering. You can add photos and customize the look to make it more appealing.

Questions & Answers are like a website’s FAQ but they are user generated. As someone visits your profile, they can ask a question for you to respond. A bank of questions and answers creates a more positive experience and saves time.

Don't Forget the Photos

An often undervalued opportunity in your Google my business profile, this is very important to Google. It signals authenticity, and when geo-tagged, it boosts your local presence. All of which leads to greater visibility in search results.

Not only do photos improve search results, they offer the opportunity to make a great first impression. The building your business is in, your team, products, action shots - these are all an opportunity to boost engagement with potential customers.

Why GMB Matters to Small Businesses

In addition to the massive share of mobile searches Google commands, 78% of local mobile searches result in offline sales. That's an incredible opportunity for your business. One that's wasted if your profile isn't at its best and maintained on a consistent basis. Google gives you the tools to succeed for free. And if you don't have the time to keep up with your Google My Business profile on your own, it's an easy task to outsource to a competent partner.

Mark Simmons is a 20+ year marketing veteran and the founder/CEO of Mixed Digital, a full-service marketing agency in Durham. Over the years, he and his team have helped many businesses of all sizes, develop their brands, establish their presence online, and create marketing strategies that drive revenue. A faithful husband, and father of three, he received his schooling from Duke University and his marketing education during his time in the NYC agency world.

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