Google My Business was developed by Google as a free tool for business owners to manage their online presence and make it easier for prospective customers to find their listed business online. Since Google connects a suite of websites together, including Google Search, Mobile Search, Local Search, and Google Maps, by listing you retail store with Google My Business your store will gain a wealth of exposure across all of these sites. Even more convenient, you will not need to do any additional work of plugging in SEO keywords on the backend of your business website, because Google will handle all of the necessary SEO for you once your listing goes live!

All you need to do is create a free listing with Google My Business, verify and edit the information, and—voila!—potential customers will be able to easily find and contact you straight from the Google search engine!

If you’re ready to get started, click the hyperlinked text above and follow these simple steps:

  • • Click “Manage Now”
  • • Sign in with your Gmail account, or if you do not have an account with Gmail, go ahead and open one (it’s free) by clicking this Gmail link
  • • Once you’ve signed into Google My Business with you Gmail account, the site will ask you to “type to find your business” or “add your business to Google”, choose the appropriate step
  • • Follow the steps of filling in the information that Google asks for here
  • • Provide your business’s physical address location where you receive mail
  • • If your mailing address is a P.O. Box or some other location where you wouldn’t want customers to show up, you can always hide the address once you’ve verified the page and that way the address won’t be visible to the public
  • • Be honest about your mailing address! Google is going to send you a postcard as part of its verification process!
  • • Next confirm the telephone number you would like included on your business listing

Once your business listing is verified, move on to the editing steps:

  • • Now is your chance to enter in even more contact information by going into your listing page and updating your phone number, website, and your hours of operation
  • • Create a profile “short name” by clicking the “info” tab on the left
  • • Click on “services” and add each of your services with descriptions and all of the details you want prospective customers to be aware of
  • • Click on “photos” next and add a cover photo, your company logo, and location photos of the exterior and interior of your retail store; if you don’t have a physical location, then add photos of the products you sell and your personnel performing services
  • • Next, create a “post” about either a product or service or even a special offer you’re promoting. These posts only last for 1 week, so mark your calendar to update this every week so that your business listing stays fresh and current
  • • If your business has multiple locations, click “add a location” and follow the same verification steps (outlined above)
  • • Finally, ask happy customers to review your business on Google. When you click on the “home” tab and then “share review form”, you can provide your customers with this exact link for them to use to review your business

Building up favorable reviews is without a doubt the most important aspect of Google My Business when it comes to free promotion, advertising, and marketing. Nothing boasts your business better than virtual word of mouth that goes “viral”, so you’ll want to consistently direct your happy customers to your business listing on Google for them to type up concise, flattering reviews. The more positive reviews, the better, because when potential customers see the rave reviews that other shoppers have left, they will become highly inclined to trust your business and buy from you. These kinds of reviews are the best free advertising there is, and retail stores that do not utilize this feature of Google My Business are missing out on a huge opportunity that would otherwise directly translate into dollars in their bank account.

There you have it! Now if anyone within a radius of your store types into Google’s search engine “best restaurant near me”, “auto mechanic with fair prices”, or “pet store with the best deals near me”—or some other qualifier—your business listing will pop up at the top of their search!

Eventually, your website will rank better on the Google search engine, and that’s not all. Here are even more benefits you will receive when you list your retail store on Google My Business:

  • • Control your information and service offering, for example, you can add additional information like product lists, accepted payment types, menu items and their prices, plus you can add interactive features such as new photos and new reviews as they’re created
  • • Manage, showcase, and respond to reviews. Google has recently started a campaign to recruit users as “local guides” and rewards them when they rate and review local businesses (like yours!) High-quality, positive reviews will improve your visibility on Google
  • • Learn more about your customers. The extra data analytics is perhaps the best feature of Google My Business and with it, you can learn even more about your customers by accessing all of the information they use in relation to your listing. For example, if a customer plus in driving directions to get to your location, you can analyze their starting address and implement targeted ads to that suburb or city to attract even more customers from that area

Your new Google My Business profile will display essential information to potential customers and best of all, it’s completely free to you, which is what makes it the most essential marketing strategy of 2020, especially as the retail industry continues to survive the economic downturn that has been caused by COVID-19.