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How to use Google My Business listings to increase customer leads.

By Ken Narita|Wednesday January 22, 2020

Each day, there are about 5.8 billion searches on Google, and for each of those searches, your small business has the potential to match with a prospect. Did you know that creating an online business profile can help you increase your Google business listing calls?

Formally known as a Google My Business profile, a Google business listing is an easy way for business owners to improve their online presence. This information you share can help you reach a wider audience, ultimately providing a way to convert online browsers into paying clients. Plus, there’s no risk because it’s absolutely free. Yes, you heard that right. It won’t cost you a penny.

Will your Google My Business listing result in your phone ringing off the hook with new customer calls? Let’s look at what Google My Business listings are, ways to get more Google business listing calls, and the potential implications for your company.

Google Map view.

What is a Google My Business listing?

Google My Business is a free way for companies to share business information while expanding their online presence. After adding the basics like a website address, phone number or business hours, you’ll make it easier for potential customers to discover you.

When you have an accurate and complete Google My Business listing, information about your company will populate across Google Search and Google Maps. This means it’ll be easier for potential customers to find details about your business, including being displayed prominently in Google Search. Plus, users browsing or searching on a map can also discover your location.

Having a GMB listing also gives you the tools to provide better oversight to your company’s online presence. You can dive into the analytics to understand who’s searching for your business and how they interact with your business profile information. Additionally, you’ll be able to respond to customer reviews, helping with both customer retention and creating a good first impression for potential customers.

You can also add photos to your Google My Business Profile. The impact of photos is significant, and businesses with photos can see 35 percent more clicks through to their website and 42 percent more requests for directions on Google Maps. For example, consider how a restaurant that shares pictures of the ambiance and meals instantly becomes more interesting than restaurants that can’t entice you with photos of a cool interior or delicious meals.

What are the benefits of Google My Business?

There are three major benefits to creating a profile for your small business on Google My Business.

Visibility

By adding your business details to the GMB platform, you’re improving Google’s knowledge graph. This powers its ability to provide searchers with relevant and helpful information. Your visibility will increase, and your business information will be readily available across the Google ecosystem. You may also start to see an increase in Google business listing calls.

Depending on the competition you face from other local businesses, simply creating a profile could be enough to give you the edge. In more competitive markets, your profile will need to be fully optimized and regularly updated in order to achieve maximum visibility.

Local Impact

Nearly half of all searches have local intent. For example, local searches could be “auto mechanic near me” or “parking garage in Boston.”

When you add your address information into your GMB listing, you’re maximizing your local relevance to searchers. Your business could also get placed within Google’s Local 3-Pack, which is a map of three suggested local results within Google Search. These local pack results appear above organic search results, giving you improved placement and maximizing impact.

Your display within local search is determined by three things:

  1. Relevance: How well your business matches a user’s search.
  2. Distance: How close your business is to the searcher.
  3. Prominence: How well-known or popular your business is.

Your GMB listing helps your local SEO for all three of these algorithm components.

Credibility

Even though there is no vetting process for a GMB listing, the expanded online presence your business gets from having a profile creates a feeling of authority and credibility.

Consider the decision-making process of someone searching for a local plumber. One small business has a full online presence within Google, including an address and contact phone number. Their business profile information is prominently displayed within the search window and within Google Maps. Subliminally, this business has the appearance of being credible and trustworthy.

On the other hand, another local plumber could only have a website presence without having all of their information populated throughout the Google ecosystem. Initially, this presents an information barrier because potential customers have to click through to the site. There’s also the psychological implication. Potential customers who don’t see a business’s presence within Google may wonder about its legitimacy. A customer could wonder if contractors will show up on time or if the company has its act together enough to be fully insured.

How do you set up a Google Business listing?

Business listing visitor stats.

A listing on Google My Business is completely free. Considering the potential impacts to your online presence, creating a profile could give your business a significant advantage.

Here are the five steps to setting up your Google My Business listing:

  1. Sign in to your business’s Google Account or create one.
  2. Visit Google My Business.
  3. Enter your company’s information including address, phone, website, service area and business category.
  4. Choose your verification method, such as a postcard, phone call or email.
  5. Review information for accuracy.

If your business already shows up on Google Maps, you can claim it to get access and control over what’s displayed. While logged into your business account, simply click on the business name from the Google Maps search results. Then click “Claim This Business” and “Manage Now.” You’ll then complete the verification process as if you were setting up the business from scratch.

Will you get more customers via Google business listing calls?

The benefits of Google business listings could ultimately increase your pipeline of potential customers. You could get more web traffic, more phone calls, and more people visiting your physical business location.

Research shows that when customers find a company through a GMB listing, they’re up to 50 percent more likely to make a purchase.

One case study found that optimizing a Google My Business Page had significant results in just one month. The company saw a 68 percent increase in traffic and a 29 percent increase in lead conversion.

During that one-month period of the case study, a phone call was the most common customer action, accounting for 44.5 percent of user activity. The impact on your phone activity will vary based on the business category. For example, a cash wash business is more likely to see a larger share of in-person traffic, while a tax firm could get more calls for appointments.

Notably, the phone call data from Google My Business only includes the users who dialed your phone number by clicking on it. It doesn’t include instances where the phone number was dialed directly by punching in the numbers. This means the total call volume could be even higher.

How many GMB listing calls were made?

After setting up your listing on Google, you’ll gain a key advantage by having access to the platform’s analytics.

Every business is unique, and the Google My Business dashboard can help you understand how people are interacting with your shared information. For example, how much activity is your listing generating? Are you performing better in search or maps?

Your analytics will also reveal what actions your customers most commonly take. Charts will display how often your Google My Business information is used to initiate a phone call, website visit or a request for directions. When you know exactly how many calls were made, you’ll be able to understand how your phone traffic compares to your website traffic or in-person visit.

How do you optimize your Google listing?

These best practices for Google My Business can help you get the maximum impact.

Share all business details: By entering as much information as possible into your profile, you can help Google match your business with more potential searchers. Strive for a detailed and accurate listing with keyword-rich descriptions, photos, regularly updated hours and more.

Consistency: The Google algorithm is going to check to see how your business profile compares to your other online details. When there is consistency across your online presence, it reinforces to Google that the information is accurate. For example, your physical address should match exactly across all instances, including abbreviations and suite numbers.

Online reviews: By having positive reviews, your business could rank higher and be more appealing to potential clients. Google encourages businesses to solicit their own reviews, and about 85 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

Integrate deals: Recently, Google has started to give offers more visual real estate within already content-rich business listings. You can add offers to Google My Business by using the Google Post feature. This will be displayed as a carousel of ongoing sales immediately below your web address. You can also reward customers who follow your business by providing welcome offers to incentivize purchases.

Use visual media: Not only are photos and virtual tours compelling, but they can help your business stand out from its competitors. One study found that companies with more than 100 photos have 520 percent more calls, 1,065 percent more website clicks, and 2,717 percent more direction requests.

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Loyal customers are critical to business success because they tend to be a source of repeat business. According to The Loyalty Report 2018, “Loyalty programs that establish positive emotional connections with Members see 27% more of their Membership increasing their spend with the Brand.” This research tells us that building customer loyalty can lead to more spending.

Loyalty programs vs. improving customer experience: Designing your approach

There are different approaches to building customer loyalty. Some companies use loyalty program cards, bonus offers and other incentives. You might offer access to special deals like CVS or take 5% off the purchase price like Target. You might even give some or part of your product away for free, like airlines that provide free flights through their loyalty programs. What if your small business isn’t interested or able to offer these kinds of loyalty programs?

There is another way to encourage loyal customers to keep giving you repeat business. Gather customer feedback through a phone survey and then use that data to improve the customer experience. When customers see that the business owner has acted on their feedback, they may feel inspired to return to that business. That means more revenue for the bottom line. You just need a fast and straightforward way to conduct a customer satisfaction survey. That’s where a focused business phone survey comes in.

Why increasing customer loyalty with a phone survey is a good choice.

Organizing a customer satisfaction survey by phone offers notable advantages compared to other methods. While a net promoter survey can give you interesting data, there is no conversational element involved. Further, using the net promoter survey approach effectively requires a certain degree of specialized training in the net promoter methodology.

You might also consider online customer surveys. Surveying your email list or website is worth attempting. Depending on the size of your email list or website traffic, you might be able to get a large number of survey responses. The challenge with online customer surveys is that you will have to spend a lot of time reviewing the data to find insights. There is no way to ask a customer to clarify their survey responses or provide an example.

Conducting a customer satisfaction survey by phone gives you the best of both worlds. You can ask questions and get survey responses. However, you also have the opportunity to provide the human touch. For instance, you may hear a customer complain about a lost or delayed order. When you hear about a problem during a phone survey, you can gather all the necessary details to make the situation right with the customer.

How to increase customer loyalty with a phone survey step by step.

The following steps give you a starting point to create a simple customer satisfaction survey. Over the course of a month, you could gather a significant amount of insights to improve your customer service by calling five to 10 customers per day.

  1. Define your customer satisfaction survey goals.

Before calling a single customer, reflect on your business goals. Are you seeking to improve your profit margins? In that case, you may want to focus your survey on the customers that spend the most on your business. Finding ways to make high-spending customers content may give you an excellent return. Alternatively, you may decide to focus your survey project on whether your local SEO has attracted customers. 

  1. Write your customer satisfaction survey questions.

Now that you have clarity on your goals, it is time to write your questions. According to Survey Monkey, a survey software company, it is best to focus your survey on closed-ended questions. An example of a closed-ended question would be: “How many times have you bought from our business in the past 12 months?” However, this kind of question may not give you the ideas you need to improve the customer experience.

At the end of the survey, consider asking one or two open-ended questions to understand better what your customers like. Encourage customers to think creatively with a question like this: “If you could change anything in our business, what would you improve?”

Tip: Reduce your need for note-taking by using call recording, but make sure that you ask for permission first.

  1. Test the survey with a small group of customers.

With your list of customer satisfaction questions, make a few test phone calls to customers. The purpose of the test is to discover if any of the questions are unclear. If you receive confusing answers, revise the question to make them clearer.

  1. Train employees on how to gather survey responses.

Consider running a few training phone calls for your employees. Ask them to call you or other employees in a role-playing scenario. Making a few practice calls will help your employees become more familiar with the questions. Besides, practice phone surveys will help employees learn how to record survey responses accurately. Once the training is complete, give your staff a list of customers to call and let them get started.

  1. Review the survey responses for insights and follow up with customers.

After all of the survey responses are in, schedule time to review the results. In particular, look for patterns in the results. If a large number of people gave low scores to your website, you may need to make improvements. Also, review the survey responses received in the open-ended questions. You might be pleasantly surprised at what customers tell you.

  1. Follow up with customers after the survey when needed.

A phone survey lets you gather rich insights because you can quickly ask follow-up questions. However, merely gathering survey responses may not impress your customers very much. Instead, offer to refer problems to the business owner for improvement or offer to enter the respondent in a drawing for a gift card. That is a much more compelling improvement! By addressing problems and issues when they arise, you stand a much better chance of winning additional loyal customers.