Have we talked recently about how 100% of my clients are trying to find local clients in their backyard? That means whether you’re an online business owner and have never tried or are curious about trying to figure out, how do I get clients in my own backyard?

Or you’re an actual business who depends on people coming into your storefront or getting business from you in your community in order to survive, then you’re gonna want to hear how to supercharge your local marketing efforts with a free tool that I’m sure you’ve heard about by now. We’re talking Google My Business today.

Today we are totally nerding out on Google My Business. Okay, so let me just give you some background. Google My Business is a free tool, of course, put out by Google to help local businesses get found in search. As we all know, the explosion of Google as a traffic source has exponentially increased year after year after year.

This year in particular and at the end of last year there was a huge surge for the key phrase popping up when you’re doing an organic search for _ near me. Like hair salons near me, restaurants near me yada yada yada near me. Those near me searches have exploded. And it’s making a huge impact. Google is taking notice of it so much that they’re really amping out the effort they put into your Google My Business listings.

So let me break it down for you just in case you’re not aware of what Google My Business is. If you’re ever on Google, you’ll know that how it aggregates data and websites when you search for something in a Google bar is way different than it was just even six months ago. Before organic searches, blog posts, and things were keyword rich and heavy, and that’s how you were noticed on Google.

Now, you still type in something and keywords still matter. However, Google is populating the first I don’t know five to seven things with Google My Business listings. You are actually going to see a map and local listings near you before you’re going to see any of those other rich keyword blog posts and things that are traditionally what we think about when we think about Google and organic searching.

So why is that important for you? Well, it’s kinda free traffic? So you definitely want to take advantage of getting to the top of Google per se, for things that matter to you. And you can do it really easy first by claiming your Google My Business listing. I’m not going to go into detail on the specifics of how to start with that, because I just didn’t have enough time to dive into that. So we’ll cover that another day. Or you can literally Google that yourself, find and set up and claim your listing.

PreWork: Claim Your Listing

But the first thing do is check and see if you’ve claimed your listing, if it is not a claimed listing, when you Google yourself and look at the listing it will ask do you own this business? Or do you want to claim this website? So do that first.

Now, why I get so excited about it is because we’ve been working on this tool six to nine months with some of my local clients and they’re seeing a phenomenal results. Like people coming in to their site through organic search, organic calls to the businesses, people asking for directions, a huge spike in traffic just overall and it really works in conjunction with the visibility things you’re already doing. But in a local market, it just supercharges it.

So one thing about Google My Business is obviously it’s really, location and geo area specific. So for the most part, it’s really going to be targeting about a 20 mile radius from wherever you are setting your address to be in your Google My Business listing. So that’s really good to know.

Now a few stats if I have not already impressed upon why you need to make sure you have Google My Business setup if you’re a local business or want local clients. Let me give you two numbers because you know, I love numbers. First, the average Google My Business listing gets 59 actions every single month. And by actions, I mean either clicks to your website or they’re calling straight from the listing or they’re asking for directions. So on average, most businesses who are profiled who are active who have their stuff optimized on Google land, are getting 59 actions.

I mean, it’s jaw-dropping for some of you, especially service-based businesses to think about what would even half of that do for you if it was organic traffic coming in. If even 30 people were coming or calling or asking their questions or clicking through to your website or getting directions if you’re an actual physical place they can visit, that’s amazing!

Couple this with the fact that we know that 92% of consumers look at websites before they choose a local business. If you do not have your business showing up in their search if they can’t see a Google My Business listing, they don’t know where you are, and you totally don’t look legit. You just got passed up for someone else in your hometown who does something similar and probably not even as well, let’s be honest, right? We want you to be the top dog in your local market.

Here are six really good things for you to think about and do with your Google My Business listing.

First: Optimize Your Listing.

When you go to look this up, basically consider this as a directory listing. When you’re looking at your Google My Business profile it contains a ton of information about the core of your business. This includes everything from the actual business name, categories, which each listing is grouped by. By the way, you can choose multiple categories, you basically have a primary and a secondary, but you have to pick from their chosen categories. You can’t make something up like horse whisperer scuba diver like that’s just not a category, okay, maybe like water or something would be, but there are specific categories.

Here’s a link to the list of categories available.

Other things to make sure are correct are your address, your service areas ( this can include everything from a mile radius, zip codes, it could be areas). Just as a caveat, if you were to put the entire world on your service area, that’s not going to get you visibility in your entire world. Google My Business is primarily is a local business tool. And so it’s that’s what I said at the beginning. It’s really just reaching about a 20 mile radius, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have you know, larger service area listed as well.

Also make sure to include your business hours, phone numbers, contact information, and website.

If you’re a service provider, and people can book appointments, there is space to put your calendar or add your appointment link URL in there.

If you’re a restaurant, put your menu up there,

If you’re a service or a product-based business, it has sections for you to put your services or products. If you have like a ton of stuff, don’t put everything in there. Add the most popular ones or what most people are going to be searching for.

Then, make sure you really work on your business description. This business description is like your elevator pitch. It’s written in a way for people who have no idea about your business so that you’re pitching them on what it is you do at a high level. This description can include keywords and you’re allowed to have up to 750 characters. Please for the love of everything, Use every single one of them! This is free space for you to use and the more that you can pull and write to your ideal consumer or client in your local market, the better your results will be.

If you’re unsure of how to fill that space, make sure you include highlights about your business in there, how you work with people, what results look like, etc. If you do nothing else with Google My Business, at least one go in and claim your listing, which by the way, you do have to do this through mail. There’s a whole process Google does. You go in, you claim the list and you put some verifying data, and then they actually mail you a postcard to your physical address with a secret code you have to put in.

Second: Add pictures.

This might sound weird, but haven’t you searched Google for something and then clicked over to the images tab? Yes, well, how do they show up? They show up because Google’s picking up on the keywords or in the way that they are described, attributed and saved.

So a few key things about optimizing pictures:

  • They can’t be large pictures, make sure they’re less than 10 megabytes. Most people should be able to do that or use a free compression service online.
  • The size which works best right now, when we’re recording this in 2020 is 720 pixels by 720 pixels.
  • The best way to save your pictures to really get a lot of juice out of them is to save it like company_name_ city you live in or were serving in_your business category. When you name your pictures like this before uploading, it’s not only going to show up for your business when searched, but your pictures are then going to come to the top as well in image searches.

Pictures to include when setting up your listing are your business logo, a cover photo of your business. a picture of the inside and outside of your physical space if you are a brick and mortar, a picture of you if you’re the owner and of you and your team. And then if you have product or services, include a picture of you demonstrating the product or service

A fun little fact for you about business photos on Google My Business is businesses that have photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions to that location, and a 35% higher rate of click through to the websites, just because they have actual photos.

Third: Create a local landing page.

This is a ninja hack, but remember how I talked about in your listing where you can list your website, and you can even list like an appointment calendar? Now of course if you have a super small niche and only one thing you actually do, you can send people straight to your website. But how much cooler would it be to actually capture that traffic to take the next micro-step with you by pulling them into a landing page?

For example, if you have a service-based business most people unless it’s like something they already have an appointment aren’t going to be like walking in and buying something unless they’ve been doing a lot of research on the back end. But you always want them to take the very next step with you, which is probably going to be click through to your site or to possibly call. Why not drive traffic to a landing page that is built specifically for the audience and for the people who are going to be clicking through? If you think about it, I think the stat right now is 84% of Google My Business searches or searches coming where someone clicks through to Google My Business are organic searches, which means they’re not direct. It’s not someone typing in like Mallory Schlabach, for example, or marketing magic into their Google.

Most people would be finding you through organic searches if they hit your Google My Business Listing, so that means they don’t know who you are. They just wanted the thing that you do. And now you have to teach them who you are. So think about that. When you create a landing page, if it’s someone brand new to you, what would you draw them into? What’s the very next baby step you want them to take?

You’re probably going to want to sell them on some kind of opt-in be able to contact them, get them to book a call a special offer a special deal or something. Think about those things and how you can really use that link instead of just driving it back to a basic website, landing or a squeeze page where you can be nurturing them further and grabbing their email address. Oh, I see light bulbs going off. I hope I’m super pumped about that.

Mine’s gonna be actually driving to my local marketing helps domain which is going live soon, which I’m super pumped about as well. Because local marketing, that’s what I do. So I need to draw people to that to that website as well.

Fourth: Collect reviews.

This should be a no brainer. However, it sometimes feels really scary to collect reviews, especially when they’re posted on the internet for everybody to see. And we all know people see them. I check reviews for everything. I check reviews, all kinds of stuff, restaurants, places, I’m going service-based businesses. So make sure you’re collecting testimonials and reviews for your business. Actually, the best way to do that is to set up your business on autopilot and create a really simple email template. And then just ask people after they’ve had some kind of great interaction, or worked with you in some way, ask them to leave you a Google review. And just put the link in there.

And set up some reminder emails as well, because people always forget, and we assume they just hated us because we only asked once. So just follow up with them, collect the reviews, ask them to leave your review, because it makes a huge deal. The flip side of that, too, is I don’t know about you, but I always also look to see if anybody is responding back to reviews.

So it’s equally important to make sure you’re responding with to both positive and negative reviews left on your profile, because that one tells a lot about the character and the type of business you are if you respond to them. Well, well don’t get in a fight with people who review and there are totally trolls that’s what happens and those can be scary, but Like a one-star review, they’re not even real. You can dispute them. That’s part of business. Honestly, I can’t remember I think the episode I did in December, I had to look up the stat again. But it was basically how people are more find businesses who are like 4.2 and 4.3 stars more trustworthy than five stars because everybody expects something to go wrong, right?

Like, it just seems a little weird if you always have five stars. So don’t be afraid of not an awesome review. Sometimes it’s gonna happen.

Fifth: Post on Google My Business

Did you know you can post in almost the same way you can on social media platforms? This is cool. Except for people don’t really comment or interact, so you aren’t required to monitor this profile all the time, which is kind of nice. But you can repurpose content from your social media and post on Google My Business.

When you post content it’s going to show up in the listings. Some posts which are really popular and work well on Google My Business are call to action posts, basically sale posts, like the thing you’re trying to ask them to do something for your business. So it could be literal sale post if you’re your product business and you’re featuring a sale or some kind of event of some kind.

Branded posts about your business that you post on other social media sites work well on Google My Business, as well as actual content, such as sharing snippets of your blog, podcast clips, long-form content, behind the scenes to show what’s happening in your business and how you do things these all help your stand out. You can also do a review showcase.

So if you get Review, highlight it talk about it, not only is it great for it to be an actual review on your Google My Business listing, but it’s great to use it as content as well, and Question and Answer posts. Right now the recommendation is to post two or three times a week. Definitely not more than once a day, that would be kind of excessive. It’s not a platform that’s moving as quickly as you know, Facebook and Instagram right now, which are like running on like two and a half hours window. The great thing about Google My Business is that it doesn’t require a whole content strategy around it. Basically, it just helps give you a boost in visibility for free.

Sixth: Filling out frequently asked questions that customers ask you.

These FAQs are often questions you’re already going to get and by answering them publically on this profile, it’s going to cut back on tire kickers just kicking to find out information. These questions also help them answer some baby questions in their brains that help them to take the next micro-step with you.

Now, if I have not already sold you just you know, come find me and I’ll help you get on board. Honestly, the women that we have been working with this for even the last three to six months on optimizing their profile, are seeing tremendous results. And the really cool thing is that Google will send you insights every week, and there’s also an app you can look at for metrics.

I geek out on all of this to tell you that if you want to get clients locally or you need clients locally for your business this is a fantastic tool, that I just cannot speak high more highly that you should be optimizing and utilize it in your business.

If you do nothing else in 2020 for local marketing, you should definitely do this thing. I think I’m like giving you the ultimatum like six times today. But I have really, really, really, really seen it work. It’s a super hot topic, I swear, Google’s probably gonna make us pay for it eventually. So definitely hop on this wave while you can, it’s gonna make a huge difference in your local traffic.

About Marketing Magic:

The Marketing Magic podcast is where women entrepreneurs trying to do all the things come to get inspiration, business strategy, and on-air coaching on how to get their business noticed and growing. If you have a business that people need to know about in order for it to grow, you’re in the right place. This is the place to uncomplicate your marketing. Be sure to listensubscribe, and leave a review! Join the conversation of other unapologetically successful women in her Facebook community, The #girlboss Club.