Customers are constantly online searching for businesses, both online and brick-and-mortar.
Think about it: you’re hungry after work and want to grab a bite to eat but don’t know of any places offhand. Where do you turn? Google Maps, of course!
Looking to Google Maps to offer dining suggestions might not be front of mind, but with the ease of search, you can type in “Chicago’s best tacos” and come up with results that are within your location.
Now you have options. So, what should you base your decision on?
User-generated reviews and star ratings are the criteria that can help you make an informed decision. However, it’s equally important for a business to give a detailed description of its offerings as well as images (location and food or whatever the business sells) to ensure transparency to its potential customers. That’s where Google Maps marketing comes in.
Google Maps marketing defined
Google Maps marketing is how you market your business based on online, SEO (organic search) factors.
Understanding Google Maps marketing
Google Maps marketing helps businesses of all sizes to be found easily and position themselves well in online rankings. It works especially well for local businesses as long as they rank high on Google’s results.
To use Google Maps as a part of your marketing strategy, you should have strong overall SEO as well.
It’s no secret that people use Google for everything, including finding restaurants or other people-centered services.
Mobile marketing and search has continued trending upward, meaning that people use mobile devices even more than they use computers. Statistics show that last year alone over 50% of webpages directed to people’s phones, indicating that mobile marketing is on fire. Everyone’s always on the go, thus, so are their search needs and queries.
Smart business owners know this and know that having a strong online presence via Google is the way to showcase their business’ hours of operation, location, pricing, and more to give potential customers an idea of what you bring to the table over your competitors.
Google My Business: what it is and why you need it
If you want to use Google Maps as a part of your marketing strategy, you’ll have to create a Google My Business account. This is where you can provide potential customers with relevant information about your business in your Google Knowledge Panel.
Some of this information includes your business area and profile photo, hours of operation, contact information, website URL, and more. Don’t forget to update the information if anything changes.
Another factor in deciding whether or not to go to a business is customer reviews. Ask your customers to leave them, and offer them a token of appreciation in exchange. You should also regularly check the reviews and respond to them, good or bad.
Google Maps marketing optimization
Few people deliberately go to page two on Google search results to find what they’re looking for. The same is true for Google Maps search results. Maps gives a “position list” of popular, well-reviewed places on the map. If you’re one of the top five businesses listed, it’s likely you will get more online AND foot traffic to your business. If not, you won’t. It’s simple!
To make sure people can find your business, improve your description, SEO, and graphics to boost your visibility. Fill in all the general information possible because the more you provide, the higher your chances are of the algorithm identifying you as a top business.
In the following image, you can clearly see this information listed: company name, star rating, number of reviews, price point, image of the interior, type of business, address, website, contact information, hours of operation, and menu.
Reviews, both old and new, help your business to maintain a high star rating. As El Taco Azteca has done, all of their relevant information is on display for potential customers. The information they have provided is crucial to providing a prospective customer with answers about questions they’re bound to have.
As stated before, the more relevant information you provide, the more chances you’ll have to appear in the top search results. Introductions, relevant photos, brand logos, and maybe even names of employees (the owner, the manager, etc.) can help bring transparency to your company and boost you higher in Google Maps’ search results.
Google My Business posts: what to include
Google My Business posts is an opportunity to share valuable information with your customers, which is an example of omnichannel marketing.
This is where you can share important, time-sensitive information like upcoming events, sales, coupons, news about your business (think: upgrades, new hires, renovations), or just well-wishes to your customers on major holidays or for social fun, like Taco Tuesday or Thirsty Thursday! They’ll love it.
Writing regular posts for your audience is a good idea as they can also influence your local SEO. You should also have advertisements and calls-to-action (CTAs).
All of these things can help your company’s website earn backlinks, which is important for SEO ranking on Google. Other businesses linking to your business, web bloggers, and customers can all help bring your SEO value higher. The more links you have, the larger your visibility in the eyes of Google’s algorithm.
Lastly, make sure that you track your analytics on your GMB account via Google’s Insights Tools. This will show you how many people viewed your business information, used the directions, and how your customers found you.
As a bonus, Google’s local search ads allow your business to appear in search results more often. It’s just another way to promote your business. It’s not organic, but hey, every little bit helps!
Head in the right direction with Google Maps marketing
Being on Google Maps is an integral part of your marketing campaign if you own any type of business, but especially a local one. Crafting a top-notch online persona will guarantee more visitors to your site as well as your actual business. What are you waiting for?