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In our first post in this “How to market your market” series, we covered how to create and maintain a Google My Business listing.
While that one marketing tool alone will generate a lot of free exposure, there are some other levers you can pull that Google makes freely available.
On your Google My Business dashboard, if you look down the menu (tap the 3 horizontal lines if you’re on a small screen), there’s a Website item. When you select this, Google My Business will automatically generate a basic website ready for you to customise and edit. It won’t be visible to the public until you hit the Publish button, so you can work on it until you’re completely happy with how it looks for as long as you need.
In the top-left of the editing window, you can change the automatically generated domain name for this website, but whatever you choose, it will have .business.site added to the end. If that doesn’t bother you, then great. If you’d like something with your own domain, there’s an option for you to connect your domain to the Google website you’re creating. Just follow the instructions from Google when you click the blue connect button.
Or you can ignore this feature altogether and follow our recommendations for setting up your own website very cheaply elsewhere.
The Google website feature is pretty good if you have no idea about websites and want to put something together yourself, but it is extremely basic. In pre-internet terms, it’s not much more than a Yellow Pages ad, but you can add short updates about your market or business and it can display your all-important Google reviews. If you need help setting up your Google My Business website, have a quick search online and you’ll find some marketing websites that can step you through the process.
If you want something more advanced, then creating your own website isn’t that hard or expensive and we’ve covered that in a separate post.
There’s very little available in terms of customising a Google website for your own look and feel, but in the absence of having your own website, it’s worth having something basic set up that people who don’t use social media can refer to.
Don’t forget your customers who don’t use social media! There are a lot of them.
Once your Google My Business listing is verified and you’ve filled it with great information about you, including where people can find you, your business hours and some great photos, you can start asking customers to review you.
Seriously, ask them. Some customers will do it anyway, but a simple request on your social media or even at the market as you’re talking to them or serving them will elicit some fantastic testimonials that money can’t buy.
Remember that people with a gripe are more likely to leave a review without being prompted. So make sure you’re asking your happy customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business listing.
Good reviews are gold and if you’ve set up a Google website, they will be given an extra showcase beyond your Google search results snippet.
Keep in mind that Google displays ALL reviews, good and bad, so make sure you’re paying attention to any bad reviews and answering them, while also encouraging good reviews (and thanking them).
Probably the best-known free marketing tools these days are social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram (less so, Twitter and Pinterest). In our next post, we’ll take a brief look at this very complex area of marketing.
Using at least one social media platform is pretty essential these days, but we highly recommend you don’t rely only on social media. Lots of people choose not to use it and while your Facebook page and Instagram account are public and can be viewed without logging in to either Facebook or Instagram, that’s not a replacement for having your market or enterprise publicly viewable on the internet more widely. So get yourself a Google My Business listing and at least a basic website.