Google launched a powerful set of new online marketing tools earlier this month for small businesses called Google My Business. If you’re a small business owner, you should take advantage of these free-to-use tools to attract more customers, and subsequently, more sales. For a closer look at Google My Business along with similar programs offered by the Big G, keep reading.
Google My Business combines both old and new tools alike to help small business owners create and manage their online presence. The Mountain View company officially released the tool set on June 24, publishing the following message on its blog:
“The Internet is connecting more businesses with their people every day. However, our users tell us that finding these loyal customers can be complex and time-consuming. We believe it shouldn’t be. That’s why we are happy to introduce Google My Business – a free and easy way to find and connect with your people, wherever you are.”
The Scoop On Google My Business
So, what’s included in Google My Business? I guess you could say it’s more of a revamped version of its previous business-related service, Places For Business. If you attempt to access Places For Business, you’ll be redirected to Google My Business. But don’t let this fool you into thinking it’s a sub-par service with no real utility.
Google My Business allows small business owners to create business listings which are published on Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+. Upon setting up and verifying your business, you’ll be able to display a range of information to potential customers, including your business’s name, phone number, address, hours of operation, price range, and website URL. Publishing this information on Google My Business will help potential customers locate your business, which subsequently, drives more traffic and sales to your establishment.
But the most powerful feature of Google My Business is the ability to view and respond to customer reviews. A survey conducted by Dimensional Research found that 90% of respondents claimed that reading online positive reviews influenced their purchasing decision, and 86% of respondents said negative online reviews influenced their purchasing decision.
Small business owners won’t be able to remove or delete negative reviews published on their Google My Business listing, but they can respond to them in hopes of resolving the issue. In many cases, the customer will remove his or her negative review if the company works amicably to resolve it. It’s important to note, however that customers can still publish reviews about a business even if the owner hasn’t set up a listing. Verifying a Google My Business listing simply gives the business owner the authority to modify information and respond to comments.
Google My Business Apps
Another notable benefit of Google My Business is its compatibility on Apple and Android device. Following its launch, Google released both an Android and iOS app, allowing small business owners to update/manage their listings using a smartphone or tablet computer. Both the Android and iOS apps are free download and use at no charge.
Google and The U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Google have also teamed up to create a portal of resources and information on how to establish a successful online presence. It contains several different videos, tips, and examples to help small business owners achieve success when venturing online. Granted, this may not prove quite as useful as Google My Business, but it’s still a great starting point for small business owners looking to establish themselves online.
Some of the topics covered in this collaborative effort between Google and the SBA include the following:
- Establishing your online presence
- Using imagery on your website
- Engaging with customers on your website
- Interacting with your community using free marketing
- Promoting your business using free online marketing
- Educating your customers using free online marketing
- Using paid online advertising to grow your business
- Measuring results with web analytics
- The partnership between Google and the SBA
Another tool being offered by Google that some business owners may find helpful is Google Domains. Yep, the search engine giant is now entering the domain registrar business, offering a viable alternative to the industry’s current leading registrars such as GoDaddy, eNom, and NameCheap. Google Domains is currently invite-only, meaning you may have to wait a while before using the service.
What exactly is Google Domains? In short, it’s a traditional domain registrar service which allows business owners, Internet marketers, entrepreneurs, or just your average Joe to register their own domain names. Google hasn’t released any pricing details as of yet, but they have stated that all domains ordered will include free privacy protection — hiding your personal/professional information from being displayed in public WHOIS records.