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Growth Strategy in Marketing: The #1 Thing Small Businesses Overlook

Growth Strategy in Marketing: The #1 Thing Small Businesses Overlook

How to Reach the 86% of Customers Looking for Your Local Business

Entrepreneurs looking for growth strategy in marketing their small business should never underestimate the power of Google for lead generation and customer acquisition. Businesses that serve a set geographic area need to understand one key fact:

86% of customers use Google Maps to find local businesses.”

Growth Strategy in Marketing:
Why is Google Maps So Popular?

To understand the importance of Google Maps, imagine yourself as the customer. Let’s say your hair stylist retired, and you need to find a new one, preferably close by. You’ll pick up your phone and start to tap, “hair salon,” when Google Search autofills the rest of the query, “near me.” Here’s what you see (if you live in Cincinnati, like me):

Growth Strategy in Marketing: The #1 Thing Small Businesses Overlook

Alternately, let’s say you bought a house that desperately needs a kitchen makeover. During your busy day at work, you’ll still find time to grab your phone and start tapping, “kitchen re-“  when Google helpfully suggests the phrase, “kitchen remodelers near me.” Perfect! Your results will look something like this:

Growth Strategy in Marketing: The #1 Thing Small Businesses Overlook

In both of these examples, results from Google Maps are embedded into the first page of search results. When Google determines a customer is searching locally, it will prioritize results in this order:

  1. Paid ads
  2. Google Maps
  3. Organic search results

If you own a local business, your SEO strategy almost doesn’t matter. Even if your website is at the top of organic search results, it might still be on the second page of overall results.

Growth Strategy in Marketing:
Which Businesses Need to Be on Google Maps?

These kinds of local businesses need to prioritize Google Business Profile for growth strategy in marketing:

  • Contractors
  • Home improvement and remodeling
  • Home services
  • Landscaping companies
  • Medical offices
  • Dental offices
  • Optometrist offices
  • Veterinary hospitals
  • Hair and nail salons
  • Boutiques and local retail
  • Bakeries
  • Restaurants
  • Automotive sales and service

The list could go on. Really, it’s any business that has a physical location that customers visit or visits the customer’s home or business to perform a service.

Growth Strategy in Marketing:
So, How Do I Get My Business on Google Maps?

SMBs use Google Business Profile to manage their Google Map listing. In late 2021, Google split its Google My Business local-business management platform into two new (confusingly similar) entities:

  1. Google Business Profile: for SMBs
  2. Google Business Profile Manager: for larger businesses with multiple locations

Growth Strategy in Marketing:
How Do I Use Google Business Profile?

Admittedly, using Google Business Profile is a bit cumbersome. Google’s new goal is for small business owners to manage their business listing directly from the Google Maps app on their Android or iOS device (or through Google Search on desktop).

Step 1: Claim Your Business

First, you need to take ownership of your business listing. Search for your business on Google or Google Maps and click “Own this business?” Google may send you a postcard in the mail with a code or ask you to verify your listing over the phone. This process can be time-consuming, but it’s fairly straightforward.

Growth Strategy in Marketing: The #1 Thing Small Businesses Overlook

Step 2: Update Your Business Information

Once you have verified your ownership of the Business Profile, you can start with your Google Maps growth strategy in marketing your business. Search for your business on Google Maps and look for “Edit your business information.”

There’s a large array of options, and you should fill out as many as apply to your business, such as:

  • Business name
  • Address
  • Business category
  • Description
  • Phone number and website
  • Hours
  • Services/products offered

It’s also important to “Add photos” of your business location, happy customers, installed product or any other compelling images for your brand.

Step 3: Maintain Your Business Profile

Step three is where you’ll really see a competitive advantage in making Google Business Profile a top priority in your growth strategy in marketing plan. Most local SMBs don’t use Google Business Profile to its maximum potential.

  1. Encourage customer reviews
    1. In your listing, look for the “Get more reviews” button. You’ll get a link that goes directly to a new, editable review. Share this with everyone, all the time. Positive reviews are the #1 reason customers will reach out to your business.
  2. Post regular updates
    1. Also look for the “Add update” button. Here, you can share pictures, blog posts, special offers or other compelling content. Google rewards a listing for being active, and regular updates will help your ranking in search results.
Growth Strategy in Marketing: The #1 Thing Small Businesses Overlook

Growth Strategy in Marketing:
3 Google Business Profile Examples

To give you some inspiration for your growth strategy in marketing your local business with Google Maps, here are three examples from my local-area clients in Cincinnati.

Paramount Lawn + Landscape

Paramount Lawn + Landscape has a focus on five specific areas of landscaping and wants to avoid inquiries for other aspects of lawn care, like mowing. Our Google Business Profile description is very clear about our offerings:

“Lawn Fertilization, Tree and Shrub Care, Outdoor Lighting, Landscaping, Paver Patio Installation, Irrigation Installation, Commercial Snow Removal”

Paramount is especially diligent in posting regular updates:

Growth Strategy in Marketing: The #1 Thing Small Businesses Overlook

TriState Water Works

TriState Water Works is known for “Prompt & Proven Sprinkler Service” and has made a concerted effort in earning reviews, with an average of 4.9 stars and 156 reviews.

Growth Strategy in Marketing: The #1 Thing Small Businesses Overlook

Grady Veterinary Hospital

Grady Veterinary Hospital is a 24-hour animal hospital, specializing in emergencies. Google seems to find it confusing that we are always open, and automatically changes our hours about once a quarter. It’s critically important that someone be on hand to change the hours back to 24-hours, because calls and visits to the ER drop dramatically if the change continues for more than an hour or so.

Grady Vet has earned over 1,500 reviews, and clients regularly share pictures of their pets in their reviews.

Growth Strategy in Marketing: The #1 Thing Small Businesses Overlook

So, if you own or manage a local business, don’t miss out on the 86% of customers searching Google for your products and services. Claim your listing right now and start growing your business.

After you do that, check out our Growth Strategy Resources for more ideas and sign up for one of our Office Hours events to hear from experts at Insight to Action.