Small and medium businesses (SMB) have traditionally attracted customers through word-of-mouth marketing, advertisements, and by placing display stands and posters in particular places.
As consumers shift online, they are increasingly relying on internet searches to find businesses or stores near them. In fact, when they are searching for a specific product or service near them, they are close to making a purchase.
This online shift has taught SMBs, kiranas, and merchants the importance of becoming discoverable online and enabling digital services for their businesses, especially on Google, the most popular search engine.
To become discoverable on Google Search and Maps, SMBs can use Google My Business (GMB), a free service that allows businesses to build a digital presence.
It is a web service and app that allows entrepreneurs to create a business profile and promote it on Google Search and Maps.
According to Google, more than 26 million Indian SMBs have already built their web presence using GMB.
Here is all you need to know about GMB and how SMBs can use it to build their digital presence and boost sales:
What the service offers
GMB is a tool that allows SMBs to show up on potential customers’ search results when they search for similar businesses or products on Google Search and Maps. The app also lets customers access up-to-date information about SMBs.
By creating a GMB account, SMBs can connect better with customers and help them locate and shop from the business.
The app also helps entrepreneurs manage their business profiles on the GMB app or by signing in at google.com/business.
A big advantage is that the business information on GMB can be used to set up a free and automatic website, which auto-updates as the GMB profile is edited by entrepreneurs.
All GMB services are currently free and there are no premium or paid features.
How to set up your GMB account
- Sign into GMB at google.com/business through an existing Google account or create a new one for the SMB.
- Enter the name of the business, and if it doesn’t show up on the drop-down menu, click on “Add Your Business to Google”. Select the correct category for the business.
- Enter location and address. SMBs can also list their service area if they don’t have a physical location customers can visit.
- Add business contact information such as phone number and website. Entrepreneurs can also add social media pages from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
- Click “Finish”. Then verify the business through a verification code sent on the phone, email, or postcard, based on the eligibility of the business.
- If the business is already listed on Google, entrepreneurs can claim it by looking it up and clicking on “Manage this Listing” and then “Own this Business?”.
Advantages of using GMB
A GMB listing is a good place for SMBs to begin attracting customers digitally and boosting their sales. Once a business profile is created on GMB and the digital presence built, entrepreneurs can add photos of products and make updates to the business contact number, address, website, working hours, and more.
Through GMB, such businesses can also offer discounts and deals to attract new customers. The service comes with a dedicated space for business owners to feature their recent offers and deals.
The tool also allows customers to connect with SMBs by calling, messaging, or leaving reviews.
GMB is mobile-friendly and available both for Android and iOS. As business owners are used to performing transactions and communications on their smartphones, the mobile-friendly nature of GMB is an advantage.
Edited by Lena Saha