You may be an author. You may be an electrician, a startup, an established entrepreneur or a grocer. You may even be ‘only’ a blogger or a local freelance developer.
No matter what you do, you can and should consider getting yourself a Google My Business page. In this post I will share you how you can sell your skills/shop/both to a relevant audience for free. The best way to do that is to pimp your Google My Business site. Without spending a penny on advertising.
You must have seen similar stuff that shows up to the right of your search results page. You search for a local coffee shop and these cards come up with some relevant information. Not only are these very effective in drawing customers,but also help you build brand value and reputation.
Most of you may be having custom websites for your purposes. The above example, Gadgetzone for instance has a custom website of their own. How good (or not) it is,is another matter. But creating, hosting and maintaining a website along with a business domain name is not cheap. Especially if you are just starting out. Google offers you a free website that is media rich along with templates so that you can get started right away.What’s more, your customers get to rate the listing thereby further improving your chances to actually stand out of the crowd.
Making a new Google My Business page
First thing’s first.
Go to the Google My Business page and sign in using your Google account. You can create a new one too. But that is not necessary. You are allowed to create as many Business accounts as you wish to.
As you create your account and fill in the basic details, you should see the dashboard similar to the one below.
It screams – Advertise now
Yes. I know. That’s how Google monetizes it. But that’s not what this tutorial is all about.
There are plenty of customizations and optimizations you can try out.
Till then let me add as much information as I can to my listing.
- Create regular posts – This is similar to creating regular posts on your blog as well. If you have a consistent approach, it will help. But as I am just starting out, quality is more important for me than quantity. If you don’t have something to post, I think it is better to not push just anything. If notifications are enabled for customers, they will get it and just get annoyed. I do.
For this, we get options.
So let’s make ourselves a nice image and some text along with it. I always head over to Canva to get these things done. And no – copy pasting copyrighted images off the Internet is a terrible idea. It may not hurt you right now but it’s a bad habit you best keep at bay.
- Creating better images with Canva – Quality is important. So let’s make something simple that is relevant to me. I know I am not rolling a new product for a few days. So let me offer something that I already do. Take care of the resolutions while you are at it. I will be using the existing photo collage size to build my graphic.
You may want to crop it properly for the edges to show correctly. Experiment a bit and you will find the right fit.
- Putting in custom link along with some useful description. Both are important. A good post should convey what exactly you can offer to customers. A button is basically a call to action here. I am using a Learn more link now. That is not ideal. But I will create a new page for that to drive more relevant traffic later. For now, my twitter page should suffice. If you have a store page you can link that here.
- Click on the Publish link to post it.This is how it looks on Google Search.
Take your time to share the new post with your contacts using the provided share link above.
There are other posts that you can do as well. You can have events, product launches or special offers.
Updating your information
This is a no-brainer. But put the details here with caution. If the information is not accurate, you will have wrong customer expectations. Those are harder to meet and best avoided. Be honest, crisp and enter what you can actually offer.
For instance – ‘We offer a search engine service that’s better than Google’ is not a good idea.
You can check how your page or posts are doing in Google searches via Insights. The image below is self explanatory. The more impressions you have, the more varied will your graphs be.
Setting up messaging
This may not be very relevant to your use case, but I will keep this on just to check the feature out.Search Engine Journal reported on it about an year back here and listed its pros and cons here.
Adding photos and interiors
There are a few guidelines you can follow when it comes to adding photos of your own office. If you don’t have one yet or if you are a freelancer web developer – you can post photos of your art – stuff that you have created.This is a good way to build credibility. People trust other people if they can see their faces. Team photos on outings or events can work great.
You can also upload videos of your store or creation. Just make sure they ‘represent reality’.
Bulk upload options are available as well.
Your own business site with your domain name
You can create your own free business website. The options here are limited. So you are better off creating a simple redirect site to your main site. If you are low in budget,and don’t really offer products on your business site here – this may even suffice. I will keep this more like a contact me page with links to my main sites.
You have the option to buy a custom domain here as well, though I recommend you invest in your primary site more to get the best benefit.
Eventually you will have a larger team to work with. Be it adding administrators or restricted users to manage, add or edit content – some control is available. If you are using the business site for regular posts and product launches – this should suffice.
Create Ads (Optional)
Yeah. This is not necessary. But since I covered almost everything, I decided to not leave this out either.But I have not done this. It makes more sense to actually promote your primary website (in my case this is not the one) than spend money on a Google hosted basic business site.
A few more parting tips to improve your Google My Business Listing
These are some of the add on tips that will give your listing some much needed exposure. They may seem obvious but a list of to dos will help you stay on track.
- Share site on Linkedin and other sites (including your blog/s) – Make a list of all your websites or user end points and try to put a link to your Google business site ONLY if that is the only business site you have. Leverage the entire social media to boost your ratings. At this point the basic SEO of the site will also come into question.
- Create business card with custom logo – This is basic brand building. A custom logo should be original. You can get freelancers do that for you on the cheap. But print a card and get a logo – make sure the logo is there everywhere you add content.
- Hold workshops…regularly – If you are starting out, install Meetup and sign up. Join groups that are in your niche and then start giving out free workshops for a start. When you grow your audience, give them brochures of what you can offer. You can also put an entrance fee.
- Get customers to drop reviews and pictures – This is self explanatory. But the user given reviews and pictures really establish the trustworthiness of any creator. We check for the reviews when buying stuff off Amazon. It works the same way here as well.
- Build and maintain reputation – This is an ongoing process. But, with discipline you will ace it.