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Small Business Marketing Impact: Google Local Pack Changes

small business marketing packIf you haven’t heard, or noticed, Google recently slimmed the local 7-pack of business listings down to only 3. Gasp.

Now you’re asking, why?

Well, Google is a business just like you and they want to make more money. By slimming local listing results down, they’re encouraging more people to purchase ads, which increases their revenue.

But you don’t want to run ads (or more ads), so what can you do for your small business?

Today, we’re going to run through some small business marketing ideas and tactics you need to implement now that the “local pack” of results is slimmer.

 

#1 – Get A Google Business Listing

 

If you have yet to claim a Google business listing for your small business, you better do that now. It’s a quick and easy process, we promise.

  1. Go here: https://www.google.com/business/
  2. Click “Get on Google”
  3. Sign in with an existing Google account or create a free one (remember your account!)
  4. Search for your business
  5. It doesn’t show up (because it’s not listed), so click Add Business at the bottom
  6. Add your business details and continue
  7. Then Google will mail you a postcard with a code on it. Once you get the code, right then and there log back in and enter your code to verify your listing (THIS IS MOST IMPORTANT)
  8. Fill out your entire listing to the best of your ability: add you website, a description, business hours, logo, photos, etc. (Seriously, don’t skip this. The more it’s optimized, the better)

 

If you don’t have time to do this, let us know and we’ll create one for you, free of charge. Just click below to submit your request and will get started:

Get Your Business Listing

 

#2 – Update Your Listing. Like Right Now

When you created your Google listing, or someone created it for you, you probably didn’t add much info. Or the info could be incorrect because you moved locations or you changed your phone number. Yikes, people can’t find you or contact you!

You need to log in to your Google account, go to https://www.google.com/business/ again and check your listing.

Here’s what you need to check and update:

  1. Check that your contact info is correct (phone, address, website, etc.)
  2. Check that you set categories for your business (plumber, designer, mover, etc.)
  3. Add photos of your business
  4. Add your logo if you didn’t
  5. Add a description and include your specialties of work
  6. Add business hours

 

Okay, great. You’re all set with optimizing your listing.

 

#3 – Google Reviews for Small Businesses Are More Serious Than Ever

 

If your business only has one or two reviews on your Google listing, then it’s time to beef it up. Why? Because listings with more reviews will get higher priority and will stand out amongst the rest.

Take this for example:

local google pack

 

Which mover are you going to pick? (okay I gave it away)

I know which one I’d select. It’s Two Men & A Truck because they have five reviews at 4.4 stars. The others only have one total.

Even if I don’t particularly want to go with Two Men & A Truck, I’m probably going to pick them because they have reviews and they have positive ones at that.

If Google is going to limit where you show up, you better make sure you stand out among the competition for the local results you DO show up for.

Let’s run through a quick tutorial of how to get more reviews and beef up your marketing:

  1. After you do business with someone, immediately ask them to review you on Google. You can do so by sending them your Google listing link in an email or ask them to Google your business and then write a review.
  2. If you always forget to ask customers to review you online, assign that job to someone in your organization. If you have a secretary or an intern, ask them to do this.
  3. Ask the customer again – provide a week for them to review you and if they don’t, give a friendly nudge and ask them again. People really don’t mind.
  4. Download our Google review sheet, which you can send to your customers. It’s a 5 easy step process telling them how to review you on Google. Or you can print and hand them out physically.
  5. Thank your customers for review – don’t forget to thank people!

 

#4 – Highlight Specialties on Your Website

 

Many expert online marketers believe it is now time to position yourself more effectively as a specialist, if you are one. Since the local pack of results is slimmer, a dentist isn’t going to show up as easily for just “dentist” but he or she could show up higher for “pediatric dentist” or “emergency dentist.”

Phil has 15 great points when it comes to highlighting specialties as a small business.

The more you highlight specialties on your website and across all of your online marketing (social, listings, etc.), the more Google will pull you up for that particular specialty.

Let’s run some more with the dentist example. If you provide dental service for the entire family, but you focus on kids (pediatrics), then position your website for pediatrics, along with your other online marketing materials.

How can you do this?

  1. Change the copy on your homepage to highlight your specialty. Use more keywords specific to it.
  2. Create additional web pages specific to that specialty
  3. Produce blogs around that specialty
  4. Adjust your local listings for that specialty: update your business description and categories.
  5. Adjust your social media accounts: change your bios to include your specialty.

 

That dentist may no longer grab all of the traffic from “dentist in Miami” or wherever, but he or she may start to grab “pediatric dentist in Miami” while everyone else is fencing for just plain Jane “dentist.”

Sure, you may get fewer searches that lead to your website, but the reality is that you want qualified people landing on your website. If your website now qualifies you as THE pediatric dentist in the area… score! You just landed qualified leads.

Marketing Recap:

  • Get your Google business listing if you don’t have one
  • Update your listing with current info
  • Get reviews, get them now and get a lot
  • Market your specialties and beat competitors

It’s more important than ever to pay attention to your local search and your local listings. Do the grunt work of updating everything and getting the reviews you need to move ahead of your competition. It will pay off.

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