Whether or not you are familiar with Google My Business and all of its features, you’ve certainly seen it in action to the right of your Google search results. It is the block of key information that appears when you search for a specific business, and the daily Googler in us has become accustomed to finding the information we are looking for in this block.
As marketers, we’ve just started to scratch the surface of what we can accomplish with Google My Business. And now, we have some valuable data to direct our efforts and drive conversions.
Google My Business overview
Officially, Google My Business "is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can both help customers find you and tell them the story of your business.”
What we’ve come to expect from Google My Business is the standard company information: an address, phone number, business hours, a map view, and maybe a few images. These elements are certainly important, as chances are they are what people are looking for when they search for a specific business. But they are just the beginning of the features available.
Some of the lesser-known and less utilized features are proving to have a noticeable impact on conversions.
Last week, a Search Engine Land article caught our eye when it highlighted some key data from an Uberall study. The study compared Google My Business data from the first half of 2018 with the first half of 2019 for 64,000 third-party-managed listings.
Some key findings include:
Conversion rates peaked when businesses attained 4.9 stars
The highest growth attributed to ratings was an increase of almost 120% when businesses improved from 3.5 stars in one year to 3.7 stars the next year
Enterprise locations that reply to at least 32% of reviews achieved 80% higher conversion rates than SMBs and direct competitors that replied to 10% of reviews
This new data should have all of us marketers developing a Google My Business strategy, especially when considered this along with data previously shared by Google:
Businesses that add photos to their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t
Businesses that verify their information with Google My Business are twice as likely to be considered "reputable by consumers”
The knowledge that reviews and responses to reviews can have such a big impact on conversions should not be your cue to solicit reviews from everyone you know. It also should not prompt you to start replying to every review that comes in.
Getting customer reviews
If you haven’t done so already, you should be asking your customers to leave reviews. But there is a more meaningful way to go about this that benefits both you and your customer.
Before asking for a review, ask for feedback.
Make it a common practice to check in with your customers and see how they are feeling about your relationship. Utilize a net promoter score and scheduled touch points throughout your working relationship or a quick survey after a purchase is made.
When you ask your customers for honest feedback, it shows that you genuinely care about the relationship and want to work to make it great. In doing so, you’ve created an opportunity to ask for a review. Plus, you will have a better sense of what your reviews will be.
Responding to reviews
Responding to reviews shows that you are engaged and care about your customer feedback. But keep in mind, not every review needs a response.
I was recently in a content consulting session with a client and we were looking at their Google My Business page reviews. We were having this exact conversation as we stumbled on a review that simply stated: “all of these reviews are from the owner’s girlfriend.” This is the kind of review that doesn’t warrant a response. Not only can someone clearly see that the reviews are from many different people, but a response to that type of review, as well as the review itself, provides no value.
Reviews that should gain responses are ones where someone airs a grievance and you are able to offer an apology or an explanation (without sounding defensive or condescending) while thanking the reviewer for their feedback — as well as positive reviews where you can simply thank someone for being such a wonderful customer.
While we are on the topic of Google My Business features, I want to highlight a few other, lesser-known ones that businesses can capitalize on.
Consider your Google My Business description to be your first impression. Not only will it state what your business is and what it offers, but it can also set the tone for the kind of relationship people can expect to have with you. With 750 characters available, there is room for you to write a strong and engaging description.
This feature allows people to ask questions about your business directly within your business listing. This is an exciting opportunity for a business to engage with the public. It also creates a more visible way for you to address your frequently asked questions without someone having to find them on your site or ask your sales team.
Google allows you to post articles to your Google My Business listing. Think of this as an extension of your blog that lets you place great content in front of your customers and prospects before they even get to your website.
Use this to your benefit by posting content that effectively answers those most common questions your audience is asking. It adds SEO value, too!
See how your Google My Business efforts move the needle
Because this is Google, analytics are naturally a part of Google My Business. Your business profile is monitored by Google Analytics and returns some very useful data on your efforts.
With the insights provided for your Google My Business listing, you can see everything from clicks, calls, follows, and bookings to how popular your business is with current and prospective customers. This data can help you to better inform and engage your audience.