Every trade, construction, or service professional needs to make the most out of the tools available to them when marketing their business.
Once upon a time, this meant buying newspaper ad space and handing out business cards wherever possible. Now digital advertising rules the roost, and with such radical change comes new opportunities for businesses to get their name out there for next to nothing.
Take Google My Business (GMB) as an example; a free tool that helps businesses of all sizes create and manage a business listing online.
Without a doubt, you’ve run into a GMB listing before, whether it was while searching for a place to eat or checking the opening hours of a business before you pay them a visit in person.
For reference, when we say ‘Google My Business listing’ we refer to the company information panel that appears when you search for a product or service.
To answer the question of why having a GMB listing is so important, even a glance at your recent search history will reveal that we’re relying on Google to provide us with information on businesses we intend to transact with now more than ever before.
But if you’re still not convinced as to how important a Google My Business listing is, consider how you searched for that restaurant or business we mentioned above. Terms like “restaurants near me” or “local bike repair” contain directive locational intent and Google is now actively using this intent to link searchers up with relevant nearby businesses.
The goal of GMB is to make this process easier by allowing customers to find, research, contact and transact with local businesses like yours quickly and with as few steps as possible involved.
The company information panel that appears when you search
for a product or service using Google.
For tradies, builders and service professionals, the untapped potential of Google My Business is enormous. A way to reach customers locally (and sometimes even abroad) by merely providing Google with up-to-date information about your business.
So why then are so many trade, building or service business GMB listings either empty or half-filled with outdated information?
For one, many business owners don’t know that owning and operating a Google My Business account is entirely free. Others simply aren’t aware of how useful a Google My Business listing is for growing their business’s reach online. But you’ve made it here, so clearly, you’re ready to take advantage of everything that a GMB listing has to offer your business and its future success.
In this article, we’ll show everything you need to know to optimise your Google My Business listing and bring more customers to your business without spending a cent. Along the way, we’ll explain the importance of each section of a GMB profile and how they can help maximise your potential to appear on a customer’s search results every time.
Adding/Updating Basic Information
It may sound like a no brainer but getting the information on your Google My Business profile right is make or break for your listing’s success. When searching for a tradie, a builder, or a service professional, customers often aren’t looking to window shop. What they need is a list of local candidates that fulfil their requirements, and by making your business information 100% accurate, they’re much more likely to land on you as their first choice.
To begin, log in to your Google My Business profile and find the Info section on the left-hand side panel. Here you can add and edit most of the data presented to a customer when they search your business.
Let’s start at the top with your business name and industry. It’s essential to make sure that the name listed on your Google My Business profile is the same as your website and social media pages, as this helps Google find and link your other platforms.
Below this, you can add a business ‘category’. Here you can list your business’s industry. Note that while adding a primary category is always recommended, you should only add additional categories if your company works in more than one sector. Below you can find an example of how we’ve kept it simple with the AroFlo GMB profile.
Next, ensure your location and service areas are correct. Google is excellent at accurately placing businesses within its Maps interface, but that doesn’t make their system immune to errors.
Using our GMB as an example, Google had no problem locating AroFlo HQ but didn’t add that our office is on the second floor of our building. Issues can also arise if your business is situated in a set of industrial warehouses that share a standard address, so keep an eye out and be sure to add any extra information to your listing where necessary.
When adding or updating your service area, be sure only to add regions that your business physically operates in. For example, our profile lists us as operating across Australia, New Zealand, and the USA, but cities and suburbs can also be added.
It may seem tempting to expand your service area to bring in more customers, but Google actively penalises businesses who falsify their service area information. Check out this post from Google for more info on what you can and cannot do.
Now, add your business hours. By drawing on information scanned from sources like your website or social media profiles, Google will often automatically add hours when creating your listing. This process isn’t always perfect, so make sure that yours are correct before moving on.
Emergency hours and holiday-specific hours are also crucial to have listed on your GMB profile, so adding them is highly recommended. Google lets you add specific services and their hours depending on your stated industry, so it’s important to have added a ‘category’ to your business before you add emergency hours.
Below this, you can add any special hours such as holidays. Many businesses forget to add these hours, which can be a significant opportunity to scoop up extra work from your less-prepared competitors.
Next, add or update your points of contact. Phone numbers and your website address are straightforward to add, but many businesses neglect to add a short name (the middle option seen below) to their profile.
Here we’ve simply entered ‘AroFlo’ as our short name and what this has done is create a short URL (https://g.page/aroflo) for our business that takes customers right to our location on Google Maps.
If your business has a long name or complicated address, this can be an easy way to help customers locate and visit your business if they didn’t find you through Google. Just send them your URL and off they go.
We’ll cover adding Products/Services to your GMB in Part 3 of this article, so for now, let’s skip down to adding business Attributes.
These options aren’t always applicable to trade, building and service businesses, but can sometimes help you outline specific things about your company that you can’t list anywhere else on your GMB profile. Attributes allow you to build on your choice of category and better define how your business operates, letting customers make a more informed decision.
Other sections, such as your business’s opening date can also be filled out but are mostly unnecessary and don’t add any customer value to your Google My Business Listing.
Your Business Description
Perhaps the most important part of any GMB listing, your business description explains what you do and why customers should invest their time and money in what you provide.
With just 750 characters available to tell your business’s story, this description needs to be easy to understand and get straight to the point. Customers will also only see the first 250 characters of your description until they opt to view more by clicking or tapping, so frontloading relevant business info is essential.
This means that the key to creating a great business description is to keep longwinded explanations to a minimum. Instead, look to answer the immediate questions that potential customers have when their search lands on your business.
For your average customer, the first three things they want to know when they arrive on your listing are:
- What does this business do?
- Who do they cater to?
- Why are they the right choice?
If you’re having trouble creating your business description while staying within the required character limit, it may help to think about what you don’t need to include rather than what you do. Take everything about your business off the table and only add the bare minimum required to answer your potential customer’s questions about you and your products/services. Then, work your way through to the next most crucial point until you have a description that fits the bill while staying within the required word count.
Products, Services and Unique Business Information
A relatively recent addition to the Google My Business arsenal is the ability to further your listing’s specificity by adding products and services right to your profile.
Doing so gives you an incredible amount of power over the types of searchers your business listing targets, something that trades, construction and service professionals can take full advantage of.
Let’s start with services. The services available to add to your GMB listing are decided by your chosen category, which we covered earlier in this article. In the example seen below, we’ve used our service section to flag that we develop our software inhouse and are also capable of taking on enterprise clients.
This can help you highlight your professional niches and attract searchers with more specific needs. For example, a construction company may specialise in residential builds, and the Service section allows them to note this in their GMB listing.
Products are yet another level of specialisation. In this section, you can create detailed listings of anything from types of work, all the way down to specific tasks that you’re able to perform.
As shown below, we’ve broken our job management software features into specific sections and subsections, to make navigating what we offer easier for potential customers.
For trade, building and service businesses, this provides you with yet another opportunity to differentiate yourself from competitors in your market.
For example, consider a plumbing company filling out the Product section of their My Business profile. Under their Services section, they may have flagged that they offer emergency plumbing services. This is a broad definition though, so now they simply use the Products section to break up their ‘emergency plumbing’ into emergency drain clearing, emergency pipe repair and emergency gas line repairs.
By filling in these sections of your Google My Business profile, you can start appearing on the results for more niche search queries, meaning more exposure and more customers heading your way.
Cover Photos, Logos and Promotional Content
First impressions of your Google My Business profile are essential and can quickly decide whether a potential customer chooses you as their tradie, builder, or service professional.
So far, we’ve given you all the tools to optimise your Google My Business listing, but all that hard work is wasted if the visuals you provide to back up your business information aren’t up to par.
There’s nothing more frustrating than searching for a business only to be greeted by a blurry logo and a couple of job photos that were taken years ago.
This is why proving the quality of your work with good photo evidence is so important, and it starts by adding an appropriate logo and cover photo to your GMB listing. Navigate to the Photos section of your My Business profile, then add a business logo and cover photo, as we’ve done below.
With your cover photo and logo set, it’s a good idea to add some additional visual content for potential customers to check out when they view your profile.
How many photos you add is up to your discretion but consider what’s most appropriate for your line of work. Progress photos, pictures of finished jobs and images of your team hard at work are a great place to start. Just ensure that they’re high quality and showcase what you want potential customers to know about your business.
Housekeeping, Updating Information and Getting Reviews
Now that your GMB listing is ready to go, the only thing left to discuss is how to keep it optimised. Basic housekeeping includes keeping your information up to date and adding any new products or services so you can continue to maximise your reach.
Encouraging reviews is another great way of keeping your GMB listing current, so take any chance you can to ask clients to review you on Google. Take care to respond to every review that your business receives, as this helps grow your business’s positive perception. Even negative reviews can be a net positive with the right attitude and a well-written reply. By responding to criticism actively and constructively, potential clients will see that you are improving your business based on what paying customers have to say.
To run a successful Google My Business profile, you should think of it like any other social platform. Your business likely has a Facebook page, a website and maybe even an Instagram account; Google My Business is no different from any of these. If you seek to engage potential clients and grow your reach just as you would on social media, then you can’t go wrong running a GMB listing.
Just remember, the more you stay on top of things, the easier it will be to further optimise your listing in future.
To help you begin optimising your profile, or quickly revisit it in future, we’ve put together this helpful quick start checklist of the tasks covered in this guide. Hopefully, it helps you make the most of one of the best free marketing tools available to trade, construction and service businesses.
Looking to revolutionise the way your business runs? Just like GMB optimises your search potential, our job management software AroFlo does the same with your everyday operations. Streamline your workflows and cut down on administration, giving you more time to focus on effectively marketing your business and growing your success. Find out more here or get in touch to book a demo and see why builders, tradies and service professionals trust us to help them run their businesses.