Small, local business marketing can be challenging – it can so often feel like your message is lost, in the ether of big-budget firms investing heavily in ad campaigns and influencer sponsorship.
Interestingly, the biggest of the big corporations has designed it’s own features to encourage small and local business marketing growth online without having to heavily invest in social media marketing – introducing Google Business Profile.
What Is Google Business Profile?
Google Business Profile (GBP) is the all-encompassing Google facility for small and local businesses, allowing them to carve out their niche in both their local area and with a wider audience online. GBP gives a local business marketing opportunity in the midst of its huge global presence.
When you google a business, if it has an office, shop or location, you’ll find a listing to the right-hand side of the top search engine results with its basic details: name, photo, address, phone number, other contact details, opening hours, link to website. This information is all populated from a GBP account and gives a premium overview of small business information.
Google Business Profile also increases your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). This helps to boost your web presence, ensures your name and address appear on Google Maps when users search online locally, and gives the ability for those searching on Google to access reviews on your business. All of these features help drastically with online business growth.
How Much Does Google Business Profile Cost?
Unlike most local business marketing, GBP is completely free to use! Businesses are free to invest into paid search and other advertising practices on Google if they so choose to, but to claim and maintain a Google Business Profile listing, is free.
How To Claim Your Local Business Listing
Claiming your GBP listing couldn’t be easier. Simply go to www.google.com/business and sign up to a new account if you don’t already have one. Follow the instructions and fill out the relevant online form to start the process.
For security purposes, and in order to fully verify that you are the owner of the business you’re trying to claim on GBP, a postcard will be sent in the post to your primary business address. Once received, follow the instructions on the card to unlock and activate your listing.
Why Is GBP Important for Local Business Marketing?
Google is the search engine master, with over 63,000 searches completed per second every day of the week. The word ‘Google’ has become a verb, and it is now by default the easiest and quickest research option for people all over the globe – no matter their query.
To put it simply: where you don’t appear, your competitors will. With Google being the default search engine for most people, it makes sense for your small business to be front and centre of their related queries… and if you’re not, they’ll end up going to your nearest competitor.
Posting on Google Business Profile
Businesses don’t need to make much extra effort to post to their GBP. It is important to post regularly, but posts can be re-purposed from other social media channels. Just amend post text wording so the content isn’t entirely identical, and you’re good to go!
Google loves varied content, so when posting to GBP, be sure to mix it up. A good variety of updates and text, photos and offers will keep the algorithm happy and ensure your small business shines.
Local business marketing has come a long way since it relied on notices in parish newsletters, signs by the sides of roads and leaflets posted through doors. Now, business of every shape, size and type need to have an online presence and Google Business Profile is the ideal way to manage just that. A call to action can still encourage both potential and existing customers to contact you in the manner of your preference, but positions you as experts in your field and as ‘top of the listings’ when anyone searches for anything related nearby.
You may only serve and sell locally – but your customers may now come from all over!