When your customers search for a business online, where do they search?

If you answered, Google, you’re correct! 10 points to you for not living under a rock! Okay, so you know Google is important and you need to be on it. Objective one of this post is complete!

Now I know you’re saying, “That’s great and all, Lyndsey, but HOW do I get on Google?” That brings me to my second objective. I could give you several answers to this question: create a website that is search engine optimized (SEO); create social media profiles and get active; start a blog and contribute to the information sector of your industry; etc.

But the quickest and – in this day and age – most effective way to show up in Google searches is through a tool called Google My Business. And that, my friend, is what this post is REALLY about.

Google My Business is a tool that allows your business to create a profile on Google’s search engine and be searchable by keywords and geographic regions that you specify. This profile allows you to include the following key pieces of information to bring customers from the search engine to your physical or online store:

  • Business name
  • Physical address
  • Phone number
  • Hours of operation
  • Website URL
  • Description
  • Pricing (noted by dollar signs $-$$$)
  • Customer reviews
  • Photos and YouTube videos

Your profile works best when completed in its entirety and consistently updated with status updates, images, and videos to engage your search engine audience. The coolest part of Google My Business is the behind-the-scenes look into how your customers are interacting with your profile. When a customer clicks on your website, directions, phone number, or interacts with your profile in any way, Google keeps track of that and shows you those stats on your Insights page. This feature is so analytical that it can tell you where your customers are located when they click the directions button! This is a great way to know where your customers are coming from and to adjust your local marketing campaigns to fit areas that are lacking in customers.

Google My Business is something that every business needs, and I’ll give you three reasons why:

  1. Google ROCKS! Google is the one of the biggest and most well-known search engines in the world, and if your business is on it that tremendously increases your chances of being found by your customers. And customers = sales = a successful business. I may be a design person by nature, but I know that math doesn’t lie!
  2. It’s FREE. Yes, you heard me right. You will not pay a penny to set up this account or keep it going. Your only investment in Google My Business is your time, and believe me – it’s worth it. It really is. (Plus it saves you money for that success equation I mentioned earlier.)
  3. I can help you set up your account! As the New Media Marketing Specialist for the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center, I help businesses everyday by guiding them through the process of setting up their Google My Business account and making sure their profile gets found by Google. That’s not even the best part. This service is completely free to you as an Oklahoma business owner!