Did you know 75 per cent of customers use a search engine to find a business? Meanwhile Global Ipsos research has discovered customers are more than 2.7 times likely to consider a business ‘reputable’ if they see a complete business listing on Google Search and Maps. Further to this, the Ipsos study found 7 out of 10 online customers made a purchase from a business they uncovered using a search engine. If you’re a business owner, you need to capitalise on this trend.
The coronavirus pandemic has facilitated a shift away from face-to-face transactions, as lockdowns and restrictions continue to limit free movement in the community. Businesses that usually relied upon passing trade to get noticed, are struggling. Having a complete Business Profile on Google has become essential. If you don’t have a free Business Profile with Google yet you can get one here.
So what are customers looking for in a Business Profile?
Over 90 per cent of customers are looking for specific information about businesses when using search engines:
- 54 per cent look for opening hours
- 52 per cent look for promotions or discounts
- 51 per cent want to schedule an appointment
The good news is businesses can easily address these information requests by taking advantage of new and useful features within their Business Profile on Google. It’s super simple to access these features from your profile. Learn how to do it, here.
Answering customer queries is easy with Messages
The new message option allows you to respond to customers in real time straight from your Business Profile. Once you turn on messaging, customers will see a ‘Message’ button on your Business listing, and be able to message you at any time. To make the best impression with your customers, it’s vital to respond promptly – at the very least within 24 hours. Failing to do so is likely to cause you to lose customers. To make it easier for you to manage these conversations, Google will alert you of any new messages. This makes communicating in a timely fashion much simpler. If multiple people own or manage your Business listing, each one can message with customers.
Take online orders
If your food business is affected by COVID-19, update your Business Profile to provide the most accurate information to your customers and enable the order online option to facilitate contactless ordering for your business.
Enabling Online Orders allows restaurants to receive online orders for pickup or delivery directly from Google Search, Maps or the Assistant. Users who search for your restaurant may see an ‘Order Online’ button, which they can tap to view a menu and start their order.
For small businesses in the hospitality sector, a Business Profile on Google is invaluable in updating customers on their dining options. Whether your food business offers takeout, delivery, no-contact delivery, curbside pickup, or has stopped providing dine-in service, its simple to update customers. Just add or edit the “Dine-in,” “Takeout,” “Delivery,” “No-contact delivery,” and “Curbside pickup” attributes on your Business Profile. When customers search for your food business, your Business Profile will prominently display which dining options you currently support.
Pivoted your business? Don’t forget to update your listing
When the coronavirus crisis hit, Surry Hills cafe & record store Suzie Q started selling curated grocery boxes containing pantry essentials and fresh produce to their customers. By using Google Docs they were quickly able to create and circulate grocery lists. Similarly if your menu items have changed you can update your listing to show your latest menu.
Let your customers have their say
Don’t forget to let your customers have their say. Customer reviews can provide valuable feedback to you, other customers and Google. Business reviews appear next to your listing in Maps and Search and can help your business stand out. Replying to customers also helps build trust – this is especially crucial if someone were to leave a bad review, as your ability to respond in a timely fashion will show you value them as a customer. If. A review is inappropriate you can always flag it for removal.
Get creative with your listing
Lastly, Google My Business profiles have the ability to provide a rich experience for your customers far beyond a basic name address and phone number. Barney Martin Hair Salon – created a virtual tour of his salon on his Google My Business profile to give his customers peace of mind he had safe Covid-19 practices in place. While Expo Centric used their Business Profile on Google to share updates on their range of COVID-19 solutions, including hand sanitiser dispensers, protection screens, room partitions and portable desks.
This article was first published on Small Business First. You can see the original content here.