Many consumers are looking for brick and mortar businesses online.
People search for anything from local restaurants, to brand name shops, to company specifics like hours and distance.
It is no surprise one of the main search engines for this is Google Maps. People want to search for what is relevant. They want it to be close to where they are, or where they plan to be.
Google Maps shook the online marketing world when it focused on the number of search results offered to users. Its list went from showing seven results to only three, in efforts to improve the user experience.
This makes the Google Maps marketing experience more competitive. Getting a top three listing is highly favorable, and not exactly easy.
The most important thing, though, is to understand how to drive traffic through the door of your business via Google Maps.
Here Are Seven Tactics to Creating a Strong Google Maps Marketing Strategy
1. Start with Google My Business
To get a listing on Google Maps, you need to do so with a Google My Business account.
Don't just make one to get to the other. Take the time to get your business page right. Align your Google My Business with other online marketing efforts. You will thank yourself later.
Is the brand consistent across this platform and Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on? Think about colors, profile pictures, and messaging.
It all needs to come together for the consumer.
For the best search results, don't stop there. Get familiar with Google My Business settings and data. You'd be surprised how well Google knows your consumer, and consequently, how well you can reach said audience.
2. The More Details, the Better
The more information you give, the easier it is for Google to tell consumers about your business.
Google Maps marketing works best when it offers more than a location.
Upload your opening and closing hours. Add a link to your website.
Most importantly, make sure your business location is verified with Google. The usual way to do this is responding to the postcard Google sends to your pin address. There are some instances in which you can qualify for email or phone verification, which is faster and easier to do.
Details can also come from other sources.
Your next potential consumer can be searching on other websites and links.
Make sure you add as much information as possible (i.e. full address and contact info) to these areas. This strengthens your company's chance of popping up in the right places.
3. Utilize a Target Location
Google Maps displays results in relevance to where the search is coming from. When a consumer is planning ahead, or not yet in the area, it will use target locations.
Target locations are popular spots around the city where consumers typically congregate. Think downtown, popular shopping centers or streets, and so on.
Proximity is important. The better you understand the hot spots in your area, the better you can define it online and find the consumers that may otherwise pass you by.
4. Use AdWords to Your Maps Benefit
There are reasons Google My Business offers AdWords and Maps.
It can all work hand in hand, you just have to know how.
Google Maps marketing can greatly benefit from bidding on the right keywords. Similar to the way AdWords works for PPC ads, there are specific tools available to promote your business in Google Maps.
Maps Ads appear before organic listings on Google My Business. Most business owners know about AdWords, but aren't taking the opportunity to create ads specific to Maps.
Do what your competitors aren't to get the results they won't.
5. Add Pictures to Your Listing
Pictures can really say a thousand words, especially to a consumer scrolling through multiple options on the fly.
A last minute lunch choice or plan for drinks can be defined by how good the atmosphere and food looks through a picture. Don't miss your shot.
Upload anything that can visually define your business. Location shots are important, but also consider things like pictures of staff members, a snapshot of a regular day or peak time, and even your logo or social media.
It is important to note the default exterior view will be Google Street View. These images can sometimes be blurry, or inaccurate depending on how recently your business opened.
You cannot change the image Google provides directly, but you can slightly move your pin in your profile. This results in Street View creating a new image, which might look better than the first.
Another option is to hire a photographer to create an internal tour. Instead of the option to “see outside” from Street View, consumers can “see inside” with the tour you have crafted for them.
6. Remind Consumers to Review
Another aspect of your Google Maps marketing strategy is reviews.
Good reviews can make or break consumer decisions on any platform. Encourage the people that come in the door to leave a good review. This will gain trust in the ones that are still looking for you online.
Every happy person matters as Google runs on a rating system from 1 to 5 stars. The good news for new businesses is it only takes one review to earn your stars, so make sure to get it right the first time!
For the bad reviews that may occur, there is no way to delete them, but you can reply to reviews to try to repair the damage.
7. Don't Underestimate Utilizing Google Maps Marketing
This should be a no-brainer.
Google Maps marketing literally gets people in the door. It engages them from their smartphone or desktop enough to bring them right to where you are in real life.
With the right marketing strategy, Google Maps can be just as important as AdWords and social media campaigns. If messaging is consistent (as it should be) utilizing different strategies together can boost your chances of getting found.
Claim Your Space
The more you are sending out information, the more likely it is to get picked up by your next customer.
Make it easy for them to find you, and you will be surprised at how many people come through the door.
Set the tips above in place.
Claim your physical location in the online world. Create ads to promote your location with the potential consumer searching on their screen. Add a personal touch and ensure your information is accurate, then prepare for business to boom at your brick and mortar spot.
How have you benefited from Google Maps marketing? Tell us in the comments below.