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Kickstart your free marketing with Business Profile on Google

Key take-aways

Business Profile on Google is a free business listing from Google My Business that brings together key information about your business in one profile and presents it neatly in search results, helping potential customers understand what you offer at a glance. It's quick and easy to set up, and once it's done, your business information will be accessible across Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Assistant. Learn how a Business Profile on Google can help kickstart your online marketing – for free.

1. Claim or create your Business Profile on Google

2. Advertise events or promotions with posts

3. List your menu or services online

4. Understand your audience better with Insights

Research shows that having a Business Profile that’s active and complete makes companies twice as likely to be considered reputable and 38% more likely to attract visitors.

1. Claim or create your free Business Profile on Google

Claim your free Business Profile by signing into your Google account (or creating one) and clicking "Start now" on the Google My Business website. If no business listing exists for your business, Google My Business will guide you through the process of creating one instead.

It only takes a few minutes to provide the necessary details, such as your logo, cover photo, address, phone number, official website, Profile short name and a short description of the business. You'll need to verify that you own the business, normally by receiving a postcard in the mail, before your changes are made public. This is to make sure that genuine business owners are the ones in control of their profile.

A hair salon in Southampton might claim its Business Profile on Google to ensure the business appears in search results when local Google users are looking for a haircut. After the business owner has claimed their listing and filled in their profile with their details, the business and its associated information will automatically appear across Google services when users search for hairdressers nearby. Potential customers will be able to tap for directions or call the salon straight from the Business Profile, whether they find it on Maps, Search or elsewhere.

Business owners can also use their profile to share their opening hours and showcase their premises with photos. Google research (conducted with Ipsos MORI and Ipsos MediaCT) shows that having a profile that's active and complete makes companies twice as likely to be considered reputable and 38% more likely to attract visitors.

2. Advertise events or promotions with posts

Business owners can share marketing content for things like events, products and services directly to their profile using posts. Through this feature, you can place your timely text, video, or photo content in front of people when they find your profile on Google. These posts are also a good place to advertise special promotions or discounts that could pique the interest of potential customers and entice them to visit your shop.

A yoga and wellbeing centre in Chippenham could use posts to promote an upcoming meditation session. Creating an event post allows the centre to indicate what time and date the session will take place, as well as sharing a call-to-action button that invites users to book.

Call-to-action

A concise suggestion of what the user should do next. In many cases, a call to action is a clickable button that takes the user to a company website or a bookings form.

3. List your menu or services online

Potential customers are more likely to visit a business if they feel sure about what it offers. That's why Google My Business allows certain businesses such as restaurants and beauty salons to showcase their menu or a list of their services directly on their profile.

In the physical world, restaurants often leave a menu outside their door for people to look at as they pass by – including a menu on your Business Profile is the digital equivalent. A tapas bar in Liverpool could add a menu to their profile to share details of their wide range of Spanish dishes and fine riojas with Google users. Given that profiles with photos receive 42% more requests for directions than those that don't, the tapas bar could make itself even more useful to potential customers by uploading images of their food and dining room too.

Keywords

Words or phrases describing your product or service that you choose to help determine when and where your listing can appear.

4. Understand your audience better with Insights

Insights is a free tool that tells you how people found your Business Profile on Search and Maps (including which keywords they used), where they came from, and what they did after finding it. It can also reveal which parts of the profile users found most interesting and how your business compares to other business listings in the area. Small businesses can use Insights to understand their potential customers better and shape their marketing efforts to appeal to them.

A flower shop in Hemel Hempstead, for example, could discover its visitors are searching for "rhododendrons" and "chrysanthemums", as well as more generic terms such as "flowers" and "florists". Knowing that potential customers are searching for specific flowers tells them they should include flower names in their profile to help it stand out from the competition.

Setting up a Business Profile on Google is a great way for small businesses to get started with online marketing. It's simple, free and takes just minutes to set up. So why not give it a try?

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