Northern Ireland businesses are currently not using Google maps (the world's greatest internet app) to effectively market their business.
Google maps is one of the most sophisticated internet apps ever created. You can go from climbing the Eiffel tower to walking the streets of Manhattan in seconds. You can see all the hotels in a town or plan a route from Belfast to Ballymoney. You can view your holiday destination and the surrounding streets or you can plan where to park outside the location of your next meeting.
But where are you using Google Maps to full effect for your business?
About 60% of businesses appear on Google maps in some shape or form. When we talk to clients about it, they say - "Oh, yes, we're on Google Maps." and yes, in its most basic form - they are. There's a red dot with their business name on it. Congratulations. Now what else can you do to drive traffic to your business and increase leads using Google maps? Firstly...
1. Check your location. Is it exact? Are you on the wrong side of the road?
2. Check the text. What does it say? Just your business name? Could it say more?
3. Do you have a rating? Google users will rate your business. A bad rating could turn customers away in no time.
4. Links and info. When you click on on your business in Google maps, what information is displayed? Does it have your contact number? A link back to your website?
5. Street view? When you drop the little yellow man outside your shop, office or factory, what's it like? Is it dark and dreary, with a load of rubbish outside? Is there no shop sign? Is the image dated? Perhaps you're not even there?
Make not mistake - your customers and client's are using Google maps to find suitable partners and suppliers. They'll be looking at your rating, the accuracy of your location and they'll be checking out your shop/office front on street view. They'll be using Google maps to plan a route to your location.
So, how do you maximise Google maps to generate business?
1. Create a Google Business Page - https://www.google.com/business/
2. Add images. An image speaks a thousand words. (and its faster becoming the main way to market these days with the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.) Add images of your shop front, your office, your products. Whatever you're proud of and feel will help showcase the best elements of tour business. These images will appear against your business listing.
3. Get ratings - Ratings will appear in Google and Google maps. Bad ratings (or no ratings) could have a negative effect on your NI Business. Ask good customers, family and friends, suppliers to give you an honest but positive rating in Google.
4. Tidy Up - If your shop front or office looks bad in street view, first tidy it up! Some paint, nice sign-age, landscaping etc will make your business building look great. Check your location on the maps and check the text appearing in your listing. If anything is on-toward, including a bad street view. You'll need to ask Google to update this - https://support.google.com/maps/answer/3094088?hl=en&rd=2
5. Engage a professional. We understand, it's not within everyone's budget to get a professional involved, but this is best solution for maximising your business through Google. A professional team will carry out SEO and match your business with an excellent rating and pristine listing both in Google and Google maps.
Good luck in sharpening up your NI business on-line and in Google maps. For more helpful digital marketing tips for Northern Ireland Businesses, please subscribe or visit our homepage.