The Google My Business (GMB) profile is a valuable tool for promoting your business and reaching your ideal customers and there are some new features you should check out. If you already have your GMB profile, you’re ahead of the game considering that fewer than half of local business owners have taken advantage of this free way to boost search results. But you can’t just create your GMB profile and then walk away. Staying on top of the newest enhancements and features will ensure your business is getting the most out of your GMB listing. Here are my top 3 new Google My Business features you should check out and begin to integrate into your business strategy.
#1 Direct Messaging With Customers
The first new feature you should know about Google My Business is the Direct Messaging With Customers option. This feature allows customers to communicate directly with you through messaging rather than a phone call or email or social media. With Direct Messaging, customers can quickly and easily reach out to your business directly from your GMB profile and ask questions about products and services. And, as a business owner, you can reply directly to your customers to answer their questions and provide good customer service. Push notifications are an integral part of this new feature. By notifying you every time someone leaves a question or comment, they can help you be more responsive customers.
This feature also has a few other benefits that can help your business. First, it can be used as a source of information-gathering to figure out what customers are looking for. When you know what customers want, you can fine-tune your offerings and be more responsive to the market needs.
Second, it can be used to proactively address common customer questions so customers get the answers they need without even having to reach out to you.
And last, the Direct Messaging feature can be used to educate your customers about new products or services. You can even use this feature to extend a welcome offer, share news about special sales, or inform customers of new products or services.
#2 Short Names Are Live!
The second feature of GMB you’ll definitely want to check out is Short Names. The ability to get a short name for your business’ GMB profile will give you a short and easy-to-remember URL to send to customers who may want to leave a review or check out your GMB profile.
Up until know, GMB profile URLs were hard to find and were long strings of characters. No one wants to juggle a confusing URL filled with characters and acronyms that are hard to remember. Not to mention the fact that URLs like these often come across as unprofessional.
With a unique business “short name,” it’s easier to share your Google My Business profile on with customers and potential customers. And, it will be much easier to ask for reviews which are vital to building credibility and authority for your business.
Note: If you switch to a short name, you can only change it up to three times a year, so be sure to pick a keeper.
#3 Appointment URL Feature
Customers want convenience. We know that nearly 90% of people don’t click on to the second page of Google search results and we know that customers click off a website in under 15 seconds if it doesn’t appear to give them what they’re searching for. Why? Because people are in a hurry. If they don’t see what they want on the first page of Google, they’ll start another search — they won’t click to page two. So, it’s vital to the success of your business that you eliminate all the “pain points” standing in the way of the customer experience. One of these pain points is the ability to make an appointment or a reservation. GMB’s new Appointment URL Feature solves this problem.
If you run a business that relies on customer appointments (such as a repair shop, HVAC, lawyer, insurance agencies, etc.), or a restaurant that relies on seating times and reservations, then the new Appointment URL Feature can help create a seamless customer experience.
With the new Appointment URL Feature, a calendar is integrated based on the parameters you determine so that customers can easily view dates and times to block an appointment. This feature also enables restaurants and eateries to offer customers the chance to view a menu (very convenient!), view dates and times to request a table seating, and ultimately, book a reservation. All from the ease and comfort of their smart phone. This saves the customer the time and effort of calling to make an appointment, and on the other end of the transaction, it saves the business from having to staff someone answer the phones and answer questions about seating availability, menu selections, and reservation times.
Google My Business is an excellent way to have your business show in local search. When prospective customers conduct a search for the products and services you offer, the Google My Business (GMB) profile will have the opportunity to rank. Don’t have your GMB account yet? Get it here https://www.google.com/business/.
Once your account is established, be sure to check out these three (3) new Google My Business features: Direct Messaging with Customers; Short Names; and Appointment URLs. Certainly, not all of these features are right for every business, so be sure to take a moment to truly understand what your customers want and need. Then, add some or all of these new features so you can get your business ahead of your competition and in front of your ideal customers.