We live in a Google world. If you need to find something on the internet, you search for it on Google. If you’re trying to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B, you look up directions on Google Maps. If you want to figure how to convert inches to centimeters, where do you go? You guessed it. Google. And of course how could we forget email with Google and storing our files with Google.

In a few years, we may all be seeing the world in Google-vision through our Google Glasses and getting from that Point A to Point B with ease in a Google driverless car.

Google also has something to offer your business as well: Google My Business, a free program that gives ‘Googlers’ (potential customers) more information about your business and how they can contact you.

What’s in it for you? If you do it right, more customers.

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Use Analytics to Understand Your Traffic

Understanding your customers will help you boost traffic, and thus boost sales, to your business. If you know what it is that actually driving customers to your business, you can know how to emphasize the factors that attract customers and stop wasting money on factors that customers don’t care about.

The Insights feature of Google My Business will help you figure out just that. You will discover how many hits your Google My Business page is getting, and you can even see what these prospective customers are searching for when they land on your site. Insights is also connected to Google Maps so you can see where the people are when they search for directions to your business, giving you a better idea of where and to what demographic you should aim future advertising campaigns.

Round Up Your Reviews

Let’s face it. You and I are paying less attention to traditional advertising like television and radio spots and more attention to what’s going on on the good old Internet. Your customers and potential customers are the same way! Google My Business allows you to look over how customers are reviewing your business, and gives you a chance to respond to such reviews.

If someone has left a positive review of your business, respond to it with a ‘Thank You’ sort of response as a way to draw more viewers to see those positive reviews. These positive reviews can really help you catapult your business to the next level! It’s important to be pro active and develop a review strategy so that you can build up amazing reviews on your Google My Business listing, as well as all over the Internet.

And when you happen to receive a negative review, respond in a rational way that allows you to come off as under control and taking full ownership of any perceived problem.

And when you see a negative review, try not to take it too personal. These negative reviews are actually much more insightful than positive reviews, as they show what people are not satisfied with. If there are multiple people that don’t like the very same thing, this is sign that things need to change. If appropriate, heed this advice and change whatever it is that people don’t like.

Stand Out from Your Competition

Running a business can be brutal. No matter how skilled you or your workers are, no matter good your good or services are, there is always another business, or two, or twelve, in the same area trying just as hard as you are to attract customers from the very same customer pool.

Google My Business gives you a venue to showcase more to your prospective customers than what your competitors have online. Consider hiring a Google trusted photographer to take 360 degree panoramic views of your business that will give prospective customers a full, complete view of what your business has to offer. If your store is attractive enough, then these panoramic views will result in more visitors to your retail store.

You’ll also want to consider creating a professional cover image for your Google My Business background and profile photo’s. These professional images can help you stand out from the crowd and allow your company to really shine. Here’s a resource that you can do it yourself and have it turn out as good as the pro’s.

Connect With Your Customers Face-to-Face

There is no opinion out there more important than those everyday people who are considering shopping at your store or using your service. The Google Hangout feature attached to Google My Business allows you to connect face-to-face with customers via video chat, allowing you to connect in ways previously only imaged. What benefit does this have? It helps you understand why potential customers want and allows you to get it from the ‘horses mouth’ if you will. Previously, businesses would have to use sales results and maybe surveys as a semi-abstract way of deriving what it is that people you are selling to actually want.

Now, with Google My Business, you can directly ask customer: ”What is it that you actually want? What are we doing that you don’t care about and ignore? What is it that we could do more of that would interest you?” These are the insights that are invaluable to a business that grows rather than fails.

Start using Google My Business to better understand your customers, maintain your online reputation, stand out from your competition, and connect with your customers face-to-face. This free and easy-to-use program is another valuable tool for growing your business.

How are you using Google My Business to better connect with your potential customers and to grow your business?

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