As a small business owner in the age of internet commerce, I’ve spent a lot of time honing my local online marketing skills. So when I read in November 2018 that Google My Business users were going to be able to post and update their business’s profile on Google Maps, I was ecstatic!
Google Maps accounts for 67% of mobile navigation users. Speaking for myself, I know that when I’m looking on my phone for new shopping options, restaurants, and other businesses, Google Maps is one of the first places(if not the first place) I look. It’s so convenient! Especially if you’re looking for something close to home. When you search on Google maps, you can see everything at a glance—distance and travel options from your location, reviews, pricing, and user photos.
All of this demonstrates how critical it is, from a local online marketing standpoint, for small businesses to have a positive presence on Google’s navigation app. Before the update, business owners couldn’t do very much to shape their own narrative on the app. Now business owners can manage their listings and engage with consumers.
Here are my favorite features that Google is introducing.
Post Limited-Time Offers
Earlier in 2018, business owners had no way to actively promote their services or products on Google Maps. To attract customers, they had to rely on their online reviews and pics that they or customers posted. With this new feature, business owners can not only post official photos to their listing but also promote special offers and events.
Talk about incentive to walk in the door!
Imagine it. You’re trying to decide where to eat for dinner with your friends. You pull up Google Maps on your phone, but there are so many options that you’re not even sure where to start. Then you see it—one of the restaurants has a happy hour going on right now!
That seals the deal, and you are off to have some fun and eat some delicious food with your besties. If it weren’t for that promotion on Google Maps, that restaurant would have missed out on your business.
Communicate with Your Customers Directly
Sometimes you just want to ask a business about what they have to offer. Previously, Google Maps didn’t have a dedicated chat function. Sure you had the option to open up a third-party app, but that meant you had to exit Google Maps so your other app could run. As any business owner knows, the fewer steps that a potential customer has to take before getting what they want, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
Google Maps’ new Messages functionality takes away one of the steps required for a potential customer to contact you. While this feature isn’t revolutionary, it can lead to increased sales because it makes communication easier.
Local Online Marketing Can Be Complicated (and Time-Consuming)
While I am excited about the new features that Google Maps has rolled out, local online marketing for small businesses still requires a lot more time and specialized knowledge than most small business owners have. The new Google Maps will not bring in the amount of business you need to thrive by itself.
If you’re thinking of putting your business on the map to attract more business from your local area, please reach out to us today. We’ll work with you to create a plan that fits your needs.