In June 2019, Google upgraded the GMB experience by adding new features that allow businesses to deliver more information to consumers searching for local companies and service providers. Understanding the new features is critical to maximizing exposure through GMB, so consider this your introduction to the newest and most important features.
Why Use GMB?
Research has shown that more than 60% of consumers have used Google My Business to find contact information for local companies. Equally important, about half of consumers participating in one study stated that they’re less likely to use a company if their contact information is outdated in the directory. That tells us two things about the importance of GMB for companies providing residential home services:
- If you aren’t listed in the GMB directory, you’re missing out on free exposure to your local market. When people within your service area turn to Google to discover new companies or find contact information for a company they’ve heard about previously, they will find your competitors who are listed in the directory rather than you.
- If you have established your GMB listing but it’s outdated, you’re likely to miss out on potential leads. If you’re going to establish the listing, keeping your contact information and other details updated is critical.
Even if you’re satisfied with the number of direct searches that your company receives each month, why not boost your online exposure by maximizing your appearance in discovery searches? A discovery search is one where a Google user enters a search term with the intention of finding local businesses offering specific services or products. They often end up searching business directories like GMB.
Beneficial GMB Updates
GMB started with a rather basic setup that provided searchers with just a glimpse into what local businesses offered. As updates continue to roll out, newer features allow businesses to sell themselves more by providing more detailed information. While getting positive reviews from your current and past customers is still the best way to bring in new leads, the following updates for 2020 are also beneficial for companies offering residential home services:
- Adding Attributes – What special features or attributes do you want potential customers to associate with your business? If you offer free Wi-Fi in your lobby or support charities in your local community, you have attributes that you should announce on your GMB listing.
- Short Names – Long, complicated URLs are no longer needed for a GMB profile. The short names feature will shorten it to a convenient URL that features your company name prominently. That makes it easy to add the link to marketing materials, business cards and websites.
- Products Section – This is a great opportunity to show some of your products online to entice potential customers to contact you. You can use the product carousel to features images of your work samples if you don’t have products for sale.
- Social Icons – Your GMB profile can now funnel potential customers to your social media accounts for more personal interactions.
- Photo and Video Updates – Images and video clips grab attention on social media, and they work just as well in search engines. If you take the time to add a few photos and perhaps an entertaining video to your GMB listing, you may steal the attention away from your competitors who still offer only the most basic information.
- Article Postings – Do you have a blog or a page for articles on your website? Use posts of a similar style to show your expertise in GMB. That may take a bit more time, but an educational or informative article will show potential customers what you have to offer.
- Welcome Offers – If you’ve ever offered special promotions through social media, you know this works well. GMB now allows you to offer special deals to welcome new customers to your business.
- Appointments and Reservations – You can now use GMB to take appointments and reservations at the convenience of potential customers. If you have positive reviews on your listing and provide enough detailed information to make new customers feel secure with your brand, that may lead to new business.
- Request a Quote – This feature allows customers to request a quote directly through your GMB listing.
You may not use all of these features in your Google My Business listing, but some of them are definitely useful for service businesses generating new leads online.