By Steven Castelletto
Tips on getting your business noticed online.
Marketing yourself is hard work. Businesses in rural communities rely heavily on word-of-mouth to grow their business with relatively good success, but often fall short when it comes to maintaining an online presence. As the world continues to face new challenges and an ever-evolving technological landscape, online presence is becoming more important than ever to ensure your name is out there and to tell your story.
Websites are one way of establishing an online presence. They are a powerful way to establish your brand and provide the information and tools a potential customer needs to convert their research into purchasing a service or product offering. In terms of complexity, however, website creation is best left to the experts, or those with the time, patience, and technical knowledge to craft their own.
Another way to increase online presence is to manage your discoverability in search engines. This can be done via your website using SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), however there is an even simpler way to increase your presence even if you do not have a full-fledged website. Enter...Google My Business.
My Business allows you to list your business directly in Google’s ecosystem. Over 94% of Search Engine market share is held by Google in Australia, with second place holder Bing being just under 4%. That means that if someone is searching for a service offering online, the overwhelming majority are using Google to do so.
Manage your listing
Managing your business in My Business is relatively simple. You create a profile and either add a new listing or take ownership of an automatically generated existing profile. From there you can upload your branding then list your service offerings, contact details, opening hours, provide an address, link any social media profiles and add keywords that help get you discovered from common search terms for your industry.
Get Insights on Search Interactions
Having a My Business profile also unlocks access to powerful insights that allow you to understand:
My Business also allows you to manage and respond to your Google Reviews. Research shows that 91% of consumers read online reviews and 84% trust reviews as much as friends.
Encourage your customers to leave reviews, as businesses with high numbers of positive reviews are more likely to be listed on the front page of Google.
Unlock other features
As well as being listed in Google Search and Maps, you will also be searchable by digital assistants such as Siri and Google Assistant. Why exactly would you want that? Let's set the scene.
Somewhere in Central Wagga, someone in their kitchen trips while getting a glass of water. They instinctively grab the nearest thing, in this instance a tap, to try and prevent falling, however in doing so they snap the tap clean off. Water is now gushing everywhere.
They grab the tea-towel, desperately applying pressure to their new DIY water feature in an attempt to stem the flow with both hands. Flustered and unable to move, they think of what their next step is. “Hey Siri!”.
They pause, second guessing their sanity, but continue.
“Find my nearest Plumber!”
From the chaos, the voice of an angel calls out to them...“The nearest one I see is Example Plumbing. Would you like to call them?”
That simple Google listing might have resulted in a new customer.
Bringing it all back home
As demonstrated above (some points more colourful than others), maintaining an up-to-date and informative Google listing is an easy way to promote your business to potential customers by instilling your brand and service offerings. My Business is a free and easy to use tool Google offers to businesses to allow them to manage their listings as well as gain insight into how customers interact with it.
Take control of your Google My Business listing here.