In today’s internet-oriented world, where online visibility means everything for businesses, especially SMEs, there are a variety of tools and services a business owner can use to promote their business and reach more consumers in their target market.
Of course, these tools vary in features, function, complexity, effectiveness, and other aspects.
But perhaps, one of the most effective and easy-to-use tools any business, small or big, can leverage today for local marketing is Google My Business.
This is a free tool that lets you manage and optimize your business listing on Google, and ensures your business appears in search results, complete with all vital information provided when people go online to search for it, or for the products/services you offer.
The fact that Google My Business is quite functional and effective, yet free to use, makes it a highly recommended and convenient marketing tool, especially for small businesses on a low budget.
And by providing this very useful tool, the tech giant, Google, has once more demonstrated its commitment to the growth and success of businesses like yours.
So how, exactly, can My Business help your business grow this 2020 and beyond?
Before we go on to discuss its benefits, let’s take a moment to differentiate between a Google Business Profile (or business listing) and a Google My Business account, as many business owners are actually not aware that there’s a difference between the two.
Google My Business Account vs. Google Business Profile
A Business Profile or listing on Google can freely be created by you, a random stranger, or even an automated listing generator.
In other words, it is something anyone can do – just like adding a place to Google Maps. It only requires providing the business name, location, and category, which Google then uses to create a Business Profile for that location, provided it doesn’t already exist.
But the thing is that, whether you created your Business Profile yourself or not, you will not be able to manage, optimize, and, indeed, get the most out of it, without also creating a Google My Business Account (which is also free, by the way).
A Google My Business account is what enables you to claim ownership over your Business Profile, giving you the much-needed management and editing capabilities over it.
More specifically, this account empowers you to access, customize, and enhance several aspects of your Business Profile, as well as manage its displayed information and collected reviews.
So if you want your Business Profile to work for you as an effective local SEO and lead generation tool, creating a Google My Business account is a necessity.
The Benefits of a Google My Business Account
Here are some ways Google My Business can help your business grow this year and, of course, beyond.
It will significantly increase your visibility
Even if you currently only run your business through a brick-and-mortar shop and don’t have a web presence yet, chances are most of your prospects and customers are online. When they require information on your business or the products/services you provide, the first thing they will likely do is to consult Google Search or Google Maps.
So when you have a Google Business Profile managed and optimized through a Google My Business account, your (then highlighted) business will be found when your target consumers search for it online, even though you do not have a website.
Just remember that regardless of the kind of traffic – foot or web – you need for your business to succeed, Google My Business can help you generate it, and Google remains the ultimate search referrer.
It will increase your credibility
As several studies   have confirmed, a complete Google My Business profile makes your business appear much more credible to consumers, which increases the chances of them actually visiting and buying something from you.
Other research   by Think With Google has also shown that consumers are much more likely to trust businesses with complete Google listings; a majority also trust online reviews (such as can be seen on Business Profiles) as much as they do personal recommendations.
This is good news because trust happens to be a very important factor in consumer purchase decisions.
It will be a very convenient way of keeping your target audience properly informed
Since your Business Profile will include your location, contact information, business hours, and several other important business details, all legitimate and coming from you, the business owner, there will be little to no chance of your customers being misinformed about your business.
Also, you can freely update your profile with information about expanded services, or with business status, such as ‘temporarily closed’ or ‘fully reopened’ (which happens to be useful especially in emergency situations such as the current COVID-19 one).
It is important to keep your audience informed this way because misinformation tends to result in bad customer experiences.
After all, you do not want a potential customer to choose a competitor business because they were not sure whether yours was open, or to feel disappointed because they actually took the time to visit and it was closed.
It will enable you to engage better with your prospects and customers
A Google My Business account allows you to engage with the people who interact with your Business Profile. Engagement here can mean answering questions, responding to reviews, chatting through direct messaging, and so on.
Going further, you can even publish posts about your business, products, or services to your Business Profile, all through your Google My Business dashboard.
It will enhance your local SEO
It may surprise you to know that Google has an algorithm for ranking Google Business Profiles, just like it does for ads and websites; and you can make this algorithm work for you by adding, via your Google My Business dashboard, target keywords in certain sections of your Business Profile, and performing other optimizations.
These actions will enable your Business Profile with all the vital information on it to rank above others in local search results, which is just what you need.
It will give you useful insights
Do you want to know how many prospects and customers searched for you in a particular period of time? What keywords are they using to find your business profile? Whether they found you through Google Search or Google Maps?
The performance of your listing photos compared to other profiles in your category? Explanatory analysis of actions taken on your listing? What keywords and actions are the most popular?
You can gain all these useful insights on your local search performance and target audience through Google My Business analytics, and they will help you adjust your profile for better performance.
Using Google Analytics and UTM parameters, you can also track clicks from a Business Profile.
Leverage Google My Business Today
Having realized the difference between a Google My Business account and a Google Business listing, as well as the many ways a good use of both can help your business grow this 2020 and onwards, it is a great idea to include these two free tools in your local marketing toolbox.
A Google My Business account boosts your visibility and effectiveness on Google, and now is the best time to create one. Not sure how to start?
Talk to our SEO Consultants, and we will be happy to help you outshine your competitors, expand your reach, generate more traffic and sales, and grow your business in Thailand using Google My Business.