The Importance of Google My Business
There is no denying the fact that the top digital powerhouse in the world is Google, across all industries. However, Google is especially dominant in travel as more than 87% of vacation planning research starts with Google. You must have noticed how Google has increasingly started playing a more active role in our day-to-day lives by offering a wide variety of tools and features such as the Virtual Assistant that is capable of accomplishing a variety of tasks and some hardware products such as Google Nest or Google Home. I have also recently posted a blog on the impact of voice search on travel marketing.
It is important for brands to optimally manage their marketing communication tools including their newsletter, blog and website among other things along with their social media in today’s hyper-competitive digital landscape. Managing their online reputation, especially on Google, has become a top priority for the brands, customers expect to find their answers in search results. The right way to go about managing the online reputation is to have an active Google My Business account.
Here is a list of five important reasons you should get more proactive on your Google My Business:
Nobody wants to end up at the wrong place, especially when they follow the exact directions from their GPS. It’s irritating and can be extremely frustrating experience whether you are on your bike, on your car, on foot or using public transport.
Geolocation on Google Maps
As mentioned above, it is important for you to manage your online presence using Google My Business. One of the most important reasons is that it allows you to make sure that the business address featured on the online search results is exactly the brick-and-mortar address where you want the customers. It might sound counterintuitive but not every business checks it and that leads to loss of business.
Some businesses operate only during the season in the middle of a remote park or mention only a postal box number in their online details. You need to make sure that your customers head to the right place when they follow directions on Google Maps. Therefore, it is important for you to ensure that the Google marker is at the right place and also, the right address is mentioned in your account profile.
Using Google Knowledge Graph
Google has launched a completely new but lesser-known feature (Knowledge Graph) during the past year which offers a great opportunity for businesses to post high quality content. This content appears in an info box that is right next to the search results in the knowledge graph.
You have the option to create messages ranging from 100 to 300 characters. It is recommended to include an image in your info box in order to get maximum impact along with a link redirecting users to a particular URL on your website in case you do not want to send everyone to the homepage. You will be amazed by the results as results can vary anywhere from hundreds to thousands of views depending on your online presence. The Knowledge Graph feature by Google offers a great opportunity for businesses like you to provide more helpful information to potential customers in addition to the contact information of your business.
You also have the ability to promote certain offers, highlight products (for e-commerce websites) or scheduled events.
Reply to Reviews
You must have noticed that Google prompted you to give a review or share a picture of a particular location when you used Google Maps on your phone the last time. Google actively encourages its users to share their experience by writing reviews. This is the reason, it is poised to become the topmost review website in the travel industry leaving behind existing giants such as TripAdvisor and Booking.com.
It is indicated by marketing experts that traditional advertising is relied upon by only 14% of today’s consumers whereas 92% consumers prefer reviews given by complete strangers on various popular websites including TripAdvisor, Yelp or Google. You will also find that Google’s search results display reviews that includes reviews written directly on their platform as well as on other websites including Expedia, Booking and TripAdvisor in the travel industry. Therefore, it is extremely important for businesses to respond to these reviews in order to manage their reputation.
Managing Information about Your Business
It might seem to be the dullest and simplest part of managing your Google My Business profile but it is the most important. You should add some crucial information on your profile including:
Opening hours that should include the days on which the business is open, vacation periods and statutory holidays among other things.
Payment methods accepted at your business.
Detailed description about the services and products offered. For instance, restaurant owners should offer details on the type of cuisine served by them, opening and closing hours, whether it’s a family friendly restaurant, availability of take-out menu and accessibility for people with reduced mobility among other things.
Toll free number as well as business telephone number.
Opening date of the business.
A quick history of the business.
In short, it should include all the information that people typically search for when they search online. You need to ensure that they are provided all the information that leads them to your business.
Managing the Images of Your Business
Internet is becoming more visual as all kinds of images and pictures have taken over the web. You should also use powerful images to share the story of your brand. Don’t underestimate the impact of professional-looking pictures in the organic search results. It is important that you put the best pictures in order to create a virtual visit. You should also take 360 degrees pictures of your business and share them online. People also like to share good images on their networks.
Managing the Video and Pictures of Your Company in Google My Business
Many Internet users prefer buying at a business that displays professional and stylish looking pictures as compared to other factors. High quality images can lead to a visit to your website or a phone call. In case you put lackluster images or you chose to put no pictures at all, potential customers will prefer to go over to your competitor that is better at managing its online presence or has a good network of users sharing pictures on Google.