A company’s Google Business Profile is a free online storefront where consumers can quickly and easily learn a lot about a business in one fell swoop. Making sure this profile is updated regularly with new photos, hours, and specials will ensure customers get the best information about the company.
When consumers Google a business, this is the profile that shows up on the right of the computer screen. Formerly known as Google My Business, this profile shows everything from the number of Google reviews, star rating, and address to hours, phone number, and website.
Google experts Lissette Gole and Anika Brown joined Digital Air Strike for a recent webinar discussing critical Google Business Profile updates and optimization suggestions. You can watch that webinar here.
“We hear from businesses all the time how important Google is to drive qualified leads to sales and service,” Gole said. “The customer journey has continued to evolve. Online has become more important during the pandemic. Google is evolving the platform to provide new opportunities for companies to advertise their business.”
Businesses can maximize their online presence and digital marketing by keeping their Google Business Profiles updated. According to Google, up-to-date profiles are:
- 7 times more likely to be considered reputable.
- 70% more likely to attract visits to a business.
- 50% more likely to lead to a purchase.
- 96% of customers are more likely to visit a business that displays hours of operation.
“The online behavior manifests in shoppers coming to your business for service or to buy,” Gole said.
The profile is designed to make the shopping experience easier and more effective for consumers. Thinking about the Google Business Profile as your digital storefront, consider who’s going to walk into your store if it doesn’t have a sign, and what can be highlighted to show that you’re a place to do business with, asked Brown.
“You always want to put your best foot forward,” she said. “Make sure your profile has photos of your business and your logo, link your website, and add detailed attributes, like outdoor seating, Wi-Fi, etc. Updated profiles get results. 29% of customers are more likely to consider purchasing from businesses with more detailed profiles, and we see seven times more clicks for businesses with complete profiles.”
Kristen Hintze, Digital Air Strike’s senior director of consumer engagement, said providing all the pertinent information in your Google Business Profile means your customers don’t have to search anywhere else for the info. The profile is key to a business’ digital marketing.
“This is free traffic. Businesses aren’t paying for this,” Hintze said. “Have an action that links back to your website. Don’t set it and forget it. Put yourselves in the shoes of your customers and look at your profile frequently to see what consumers are seeing. Make sure your business information is consistent on your website and your profile.”
Include photos from inside and outside your business, showcasing everything you have to offer. Surveys show photos make a difference:
- 90% of customers are more likely to visit a business that has photos.
- There is a 42% increase in consumers clicking on the directions button for businesses with photos.
- 26% of shoppers say the top reason they didn’t contact a business was a lack of photos.
Reviews and star ratings are also featured prominently on Google Business Profiles, meaning businesses need to read and respond to all reviews, both positive and negative. Brown said this helps with brand loyalty and trust, especially since 66% of customers say positive reviews help them decide where to shop. Digital Air Strike’s customer surveys and review generation technology solicits consumer feedback through emails and text messages and directs happy customers to post reviews on Google, Facebook, and other top review sites.
“Reply with your point of view, solutions that can help, answers to their questions, and even thanks,” she said. “Even a simple response lets people know that you’re friendly. And don’t wait too long to respond. You should respond to reviews in days, not weeks.”
Specifically for the automotive industry, Google suggests creating separate business profiles for a dealership’s sales and service departments under the main business profile. These different profiles should include additional operating hours, photos of that specific department, and available specials—other messaging shows how each department is essential to the dealership.
Digital Air Strike’s new 9th annual Automotive Customer Experience Trends Study shows:
- 40% of vehicle buyers said the top reason they did not choose a dealership was a lack of specials and offers.
- 60% of vehicle buyers, up from 49% in the prior study, say Google is the most trusted source when researching a dealership. The highest volume of reviews is coming from Google.
Create posts to communicate dealership updates and specials, write about upcoming events and hiring opportunities, and get people talking about your service and sales offers. Get customers interested in your dealership with the latest news, Brown said.
Dealers can showcase their available vehicles using Google’s new Product Catalog, which debuted several months ago. Highlighting your inventory to active car shoppers is a great way to merchandise your inventory.
“This is a way to highlight the vehicles you have on your lot, stand out from your competitors, and give customers an easier way to see what’s on your lot,” Brown said. “Showcase your vehicles on Search and Maps so people searching locally can see what you have to offer.”
Digital Air Strike’s Google Dynamic Inventory helps dealers automatically provide up-to-date inventory through Google Search and the Google Business Profile. People searching for the dealership name will be able to see availability, pricing, and critical information about vehicles for sale directly on Google.
Digital Air Strike helps businesses claim, update, write posts, and respond to reviews. For the automotive industry, DAS posts new vehicles for sale. Digital Air Strike also helps businesses leverage their business profile insights to see what day of the week brings the most activity, learn how potential customers find your business, and track the most crucial customer actions to create the best marketing plan. Get a custom analysis of you Google Business Profile and entire online presence by requesting a free Intel Report, here.