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How to get noticed online in 5 simple steps

Key take aways

These days, digital marketing is essential for small businesses looking to connect with new prospective customers. It can be a challenge, however, to know where to begin – especially when you're busy with other business activities. Business Profile on Google is a free business listing from Google My Business that helps business owners establish a digital presence across Google Search and Google Maps and share key information with potential customers. Learn how to make the most of your Business Profile in five easy steps.

1. Complete your Business Profile

2. Respond to user reviews of your business

3. Share updates on your profile

4. Accept reservations with Google Bookings

5. Keep your profile up-to-date

Business Profile on Google

A product from Google My Business that lets you create and manage your Business Profile on Google so that people can see your business when carrying out search and Google Maps. Business Profile on Google is a free business listing that appears in search results.

Business owners can use images, videos and even animated GIFs to engage their audience in fun, creative ways and drive traffic to their website.

1. Complete your Business Profile

A Business Profile is shown on Google Search and Google Maps when people search for businesses, allowing interested users to learn more about you or get in touch with the tap of a finger.

The profiles are free of charge and set up is quick and easy: If your business already appears on Google Maps, simply claim your profile on Google My Business to get started. If a Google Maps listing doesn't already exist, you can set one up on the Google My Business website. From there, you can fill in details such as your logo, phone number, your location, your open hours, photos, and your website address. Next, you'll need to verify your business with Google via mail, email, phone or Search console. Once verified, your business information will automatically appear to Google users who view your business listing using Maps or Search.

A Business Profile is a great place to showcase what makes your business unique and give potential customers a chance to learn more. Research shows that businesses with complete profiles are considered twice as reputable by users, so make sure you provide as much information as possible.

2. Respond to user reviews of your business

Reviews provide valuable information to both you and your potential customers, and a positive review can make potential customers feel more comfortable buying products or services from a business. Reviews are also an opportunity to engage with existing customers, encourage them to visit again and build long-term loyalty. Once you've claimed your profile, you'll be notified when users leave new reviews for your business. You'll also be invited to leave a response to each review.

Taking the time to reply to reviews – whether they're positive or negative – shows that you are engaged and appreciative of feedback from past customers. Each time a business owner responds to a review, the user who wrote the review will be notified so they can read the reply. Engaging with user reviews can often be a good opportunity to entice recent customers back for more. For example, a crêperie in Newcastle might receive a positive review for their banana crepes. As well as thanking the reviewer, the business owner could invite them back to try the strawberry crepes they're soon adding to the menu.

3. Share updates on your profile

Posts on Google My Business are a convenient way to share fresh content with the people who are searching for you. Business owners can use images, videos and even animated GIFs to engage their audience in fun, creative ways and drive traffic to their website. By sharing your latest news, special offers and events on your profile, you give people additional reasons to drop in or choose your business listing over a competitor's. Customers who follow your Business Profile will also be notified as soon as you share any updates.

A specialty coffee shop in Leicester, for example, could use its Business Profile to promote an upcoming poetry reading. The shop's post might consist of an image and a brief description, and when the business owner shares it, this update will appear prominently at the top of their profile. As a result, existing followers and potential users will see details of the event when they view the business on Google Maps and Google Search.

4. Accept reservations with Google Bookings

When potential customers search for the ideal hair salon or the perfect fitness class, they're trying to decide which option best suits their needs. Booking buttons can help your business stand out from the crowd by making users' lives easier. People can book an appointment in under a minute directly from your profile – making it seamless for them to convert from browsers to customers. Your Google My Business dashboard shows all the bookings that have been made, so you can easily measure your profile's performance.

A dog grooming salon in Warwick may notice that few visitors to their website complete the booking process. Potential customers are finding them through Maps and Search, but the form on their website doesn't do enough to convince them to commit to a reservation. Enabling the Bookings feature on their profile makes it possible for users to make a reservation as soon as they discover the business, using an interface that is already familiar to them.

5. Keep your Business Profile up-to-date

When users view a Business Profile on Google, they expect the information they find there to be fresh and accurate. Keep things up-to-date by sharing your seasonal hours (especially over public holidays) and posting up images when a new product or menu item is available, for example. Listing accuracy and regular updates can help businesses stand out from the competition and win the attention of new potential customers.

For example, a costume shop in Manningtree could use their business listing as part of a strategy to generate more sales around Halloween. By posting images of the new outfits they have in stock, potential customers will feel reassured that there are lots of options available and perhaps even choose the products they'd like to purchase before they arrive on-site. If the costume shop extends its opening hours for a week or two, they can add this information to their profile too.

Business Profile on Google offer benefits for businesses and users alike, and best of all, they're completely free of charge. With these five simple steps, you'll soon find that getting noticed online is easier than you think.

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