Using Google Business Profile to sell moreBy Heidi Abramyk
The new features and improvements to Google Business Profile not only increase the functionality of the digital products you sell, but also gives your sales team another reason to reach out to your current and prospective clients. You may have heard about changes to Google Business Profile in the past and wondered how it impacts your business. Everyone knows Google is big—so big it’s now a verb—but what’s less clear is how new functionality announced by the search giant can affect your bottom line.
The main takeaway you can get from these releases is to recognize just how important Google is. If you are wondering how you can use these new API features as speaking points but don’t know how to go about it, or you don’t know how to say it in a way that your local business clients and prospects will understand, don’t fret. You could try and explain each feature and get them as excited as we get, but chances are they are so busy dealing with their businesses that they may not reach the same level of enthusiasm. Those of us in the digital marketing space are rightfully enthusiastic, but that won’t be the case for everyone (it’s similar to having a sense of humour not everyone gets—we’ve been there too).
Selling your clients on Google Business Profile
Speaking to your prospects about changes at the technical level may not be the conversation that yields the most selling opportunities. How can you—as an agency—spin that? You can reinforce the strengths that the Google Business Profile integration has with your digital products and the benefits that local businesses get out of that integration. For your prospective customers, you can break the conversation out in several different ways. Here are some ideas of how you can start that conversation.
Step 1: Break down the basics
Local businesses unfamiliar with the complexities of Google may not know the difference between Google Places for Business, Google Maps, Google+ and Google Business Profile (aka GBP). If you are in the space and have been for a while, it is hard to step back and remember what it’s like to be fairly green to Google’s many elements. It may be a good idea to back up to the beginning. Start by explaining what each Google branch does, how they integrate with your solutions and then dive into how this will benefit your client’s business.
Google Places for Business
Users who previously had a Google Places for Business account have been automatically upgraded to Google Business Profile. Google Places for Business put a business on the map (literally on the Google map that shows up when a local search is performed). Businesses can create a listing to show up on a local search when users are Googling the business.
Google Maps is a free mapping service that provides directions, and includes the Google street view that increasingly gets closer to seeming like real life. Businesses that have a high ranking in Google Places will show on the large view (or zoomed out) map that people see in Google Maps. Customer reviews are now left on Google Maps.
Google+ is a community-based social network that allows companies to create a business profile page, similar to how companies can create a Facebook page. Here, businesses can share updates and photos with their followers.
Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile is a tool for businesses to manage their presence across Google. When local businesses verify and edit their business information, they allow potential customers to locate them easier (Google). This is the main hub where businesses can manage their Google-iness. Users who previously had Google+ or Google Places for Business accounts have been automatically migrated to the Google Business Profile dashboard.
Step 2: Show your client how important Google is to their business
Google has come a long way, and has risen to become a mighty power. How mighty, you ask? On average, Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second, which equates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide (Internetlivestats). To put things into a local search perspective, 34.3% of Google’s visitors are from the U.S (Alexa). Every second almost 14,000 people are searching online, and they could be searching for your client’s business! Not having their business information on Google, or even not having their business information up-to-date on Google, means they are potentially missing out new customers and new revenue.
Marketing has experienced a change
Whether you want to call it push vs. pull marketing, or inbound vs. outbound, marketing as we have traditionally known it, has experienced a huge shift. When people say marketing has experienced more change in the past five (or two) years than it had in the past 50, it’s true. When we think of marketing, we can’t help but think of Mad Men and the beginnings of advertising (and how can you not—they make early marketing just so darn cool). Many local businesses may think of marketing as the days of creating an ad, a flier or if they are more advanced, an email. The beauty of “pull” or “inbound” marketing is giving the customer the opportunity to come to you, and reduce half of the workload compared to the traditional marketing model.
When they’re ready to buy, they’ll find you
By creating a listing or a profile page, the local business is creating a piece of content that will surface when search engine users seek out related product or service information. When a search engine user is at the search stage, they have already shown a strong interest in a specific product or service, and rarely need to be sold or further convinced.
Search a mile in their shoes
Many local businesses have not previously created a listing on Google. It may be interesting to ask them how many times a day or a week they search for something on Google, to make it obvious how essential having correct listing information here is. Whether it is a store, a doctor’s office or a community park, everything is found by performing a local search. We all search for local places (business or not) more than we even realize—it has become second nature. By having local businesses put themselves in their customers’ shoes, they can see just how vital it is to be found when a product or service they offer is being searched for online.
As consumers, not only do we search for a business by their location and expect to see their contact information and website on a results page, we also gauge the business’s credibility by the reviews we read. Google reviews show up in search and are known to bolster SEO, so they are essential to the credibility of all businesses.
Not only is Google essential for local businesses, being listed here also offers several huge advantages. One of the best things is, it’s free to create a presence on Google for local businesses. Here are a few perks for being listed on Google:
- Improved search engine ranking
- Increase a business’s credibility via reviews
- Helps a business get found
These are some pretty big wins for small businesses. Local businesses are often struggling to balance their time or have a resistance to learn yet another tool.That’s where offering one singular dashboard with access to all their listings, reviews and social media is a sweet spot, and a perfect fit for them in their platform tool set.
Step 3: Offer solutions in combination with Google Business Profile
So by this point, your clients and prospective customers should be aware that they need to manage their Google listings and reviews! Whether it be a time restriction, not wanting to add another login or dashboard to their online management routine, local businesses may still have a hesitancy when you profess the need to maintain their info on Google. And that’s how the new Google API release can help make their lives easier, and factor into your digital solutions. The Google Business Profile integration allows local businesses to effectively manage their business listings and reviews from their digital software platform, without having to navigate to another site. TLDR: businesses can now respond to Google reviews and perform listing updates on Google from directly within the software that incorporates the new GBP API changes. Vendasta sees huge value in this, so we began building the functionality the day the new API was announced.
Manage Google listings from one place
In a survey on local business listings conducted by Placeable, 73% of people lose trust in a brand when their listings are incorrect (Searchenginewatch). With a digital listing management solution, your clients can gain total control over their Google+, Search and Maps listings to update their listings and make sure their category and information is all correct. They can update their Google Listings from the Google Business Profile dashboard and manage their listings from the same platform, which gives them one place to manage everything. Learning the differences or figuring out where to go on each listing site is a daunting hassle that multiplied by even a handful of the different major sites a business is listed on (even say 1-20), can just get overwhelming. To make things even more confusing, there are tons of sites local businesses should be listed on—check out the top 100 business directories here.
Update Google listings on-demand
Business owners need the flexibility to change their information at any time. Your clients can efficiently update their contact info, website and hours whenever they want. If the business has changed locations, added an additional location or even changed their hours, the business owners are probably so busy taking care of the other things related to said change that updating their listing may not be the very first thing they think about! And when they do remember to change their listing, they want to be able to make those changes on the spot, and not have to call someone or send in a request to get it done.
Get new reviews on Google
In a local consumer review survey conducted by BrightLocal, 85% of consumers said they read up to 10 reviews for a local business (Brightlocal). In order to satisfy that 85% share of customers, your clients should, as a rule, always aim to have a minimum of 10 recent positive reviews on Google. If they don’t believe that this is true, ask them if they would go to a business that they saw with very few positive reviews, or even outdated ones. In the online world, if reviews suddenly stop, it makes it appear that the business is no longer operating or isn’t as popular anymore. You can try and stress to a business just how important these things are, but perhaps putting the shoe on the other foot and asking them to recall the importance of reviews will help them to make some powerful connections to their online reputation.
Monitor and respond to Google reviews
In the same local consumer review survey conducted by BrightLocal, 94% of consumers stated that they would use a business if it had at least a four star rating (Brightlocal). If your clients and prospective customers are starting to warm up to the idea of reviews but don’t know how to respond or manage them, they can easily get digital agency services or learn how to respond to them. Notify your clients of new reviews, teach them how to reply (here is a great how-to video) and empower them to respond.
Summary: GBP V3 Release and Vendasta’s Platform Integration
Once everyone is up to speed on exactly what Google Business Profile is, how important listings and reviews are, how digital products can help them manage Google listings and reviews (as well as other sites), then it should be easier to dive into what the new release is and what benefits local businesses derive from these changes. While this isn’t as obvious, don’t worry as we have done the heavy lifting for you.
What the new release entails:
With this update, local businesses will be able to:
- Respond to Google reviews directly from Vendasta’s Reputation Management product
- Determine if a location is verified or needs re-verification
What the sell is for current customers and new clients:
In addition to the previous benefits highlighted, these changes for will save local businesses time. Instead of having to manage multiple login screens on each Google account, users can respond to Google reviews and update their listing directly from Reputation Management (this also goes for accounts on other listing and review sites). This means there are less login screens, and it saves time pushing from one source.
Not only does it save time for managing platforms and logins, but if business owners are already using the Vendasta platform, it saves them time from having to learn how to navigate and learn Google Business Profile, not to mention all of the other sites. Let’s face it, they are busy enough running their businesses, let’s make life as simple as we can for local businesses.