One of the most valuable assets any small business has is its customer data. Most business owners know how valuable this data is. What they aren’t necessarily clear about is the multitude of sources they have available to review and capture customer data, and how much can be learned from each source.
One great example – Google My Business. Google My Business is the free tool Google provides to let businesses and organizations manage how their information is displayed on Google Maps and in search results. Every business needs to use Google My Business for two reasons:
- It’s where your customers can find out a lot of information about your business, including your location, hours of operation, and phone number.
- Google My Business collects tons of data you can use to better understand your customers, improve your marketing, and attract more business.
To learn more about this, watch this video. You’ll discover that there are at least seven ways you can benefit from Google My Business insights:
#1: Choose Better Keywords
One of the most valuable insights Google My Business collects is the search terms people use when they’re looking for a business like yours online. These are called queries, and you’ll see the top ten terms, ranked by volume. If you’ve been struggling to figure out what keywords to optimize for, this list serves as a good starting point.
#2: Assess Your Local Brand Recognition
Within the Insights section, you’ll find a chart that details if users found your Google My Business as a result of a Direct Search, they were looking for your specific business by name, via Discovery, they were searching for your type of business, or via Brand, they were searching for something reflective of your inventory or offerings. The higher the Direct Search percentage is, the greater local brand recognition you enjoy.
#3: Determine How Well Your Marketing Is Working
One of the reasons the Insights are so valuable, particularly as they apply to local brand recognition, is that they make it easier to understand how well your marketing efforts are working. For example, one of the goals of radio advertising is to boost local awareness of your business. If you see the number of Direct Searches going up at the same time you have a radio campaign going, you’ve got validation of your investment. Of course – the same thing applies in reverse: if you’re spending the money and not seeing the Direct Search percentage increase, it might be time to reconsider your choices.
#4: Learn When People Are Most Interested In Your Business
If you’ve ever pondered what day or time potential customers are most likely to be searching for your business, Google My Business Insights has the answers for you. This is useful information to have if you do a lot of event marketing – a spike in searches for your business immediately before the event is good news; especially if this is accompanied by accessing directions to your location. As you’ll see when you watch the video, the times of peak interest can vary by business type, as well as the season, holidays, and other factors.
#5: Discover How Your Customers Prefer to Learn More About You
A very valuable insight reveals what steps people take directly after visiting your Google My Business listing. Customer actions include visiting your website, requesting directions, calling your business, or messaging your business. Being able to see both the volume and type of actions customers are taking in an effort to learn more about your business can help you ensure that you’ve got the adequate resources in place for them to find out everything they want to know.
#6: See Where Your Customers Are Located
When people search for directions, Google My Business captures, on the neighborhood or zip code level, where they’re searching from. As you’ll see in the video, this can give you a fairly robust picture of where your customers are located – and where they’re not. This information can help guide your marketing decisions, particularly when it comes to geo-targeting campaigns.
#7: Better Understand Your Staffing Needs
Google My Business tracks when your business is most popular, both in terms of search volume, and for some businesses, in-store traffic. By diving into this information and discerning when you’re most likely to need increased staff presence to provide excellent service, you can schedule staff appropriately while helping to control labor costs.
The Point Is…
While it’s important for every business to have their Google My Business set up properly, it’s even more important to take the time to review the data it – and your other digital marketing platforms – provides for you regularly. At a minimum, you’ll want to do this review monthly.
Over the course of time, as you become more familiar with your data, seeing changes in it will help you understand the impact of your marketing initiatives, identify opportunities for improvement and growth, and, ultimately, better understand your customers. To expedite the process and start realizing the value of your data, work with a trusted partner who can guide you through the reports and help you determine where the information provided impacts your decision making.