Entrepreneur

This Is How Google Can Help Your Business Up Its Online Marketing Game—For Free

  • Google My Business is a free platform created to allow businesses take control of their online listings on Google’s search engine.
  • Through the platform, business owners will be able to edit their descriptions, view user engagement patterns, and build a custom website among other things.

With every passing day, the internet gives us with more ways to get ourselves heard.

But with the ease of entry comes the guaranteed issue of clutter. As more people take advantage of the internet’s easy accessibility, it becomes even more difficult for businesses to have a distinguished online presence and set themselves apart from their competitors.

Aiming to give businesses more control over how their brand is seen online, Google My Business platform is free to use and gives owners the capability to customise their own listings on Google’s search engine.

Launched in 2014, the platform is an upgrade on the old Google Places service, which was previously the centre of all business interactions on the search engine. The platform is also available on smartphones and aims to aid business owners by taking everything that was already available on Google Places and tweak it to become more manageable for business owners.

Currently, the Google My Business platform lets businesses with a listing on Google claim the listing for themselves and build around it a free customisable website containing relevant information such as opening hours, prices, and contact information.

It also lets business owners do other things such as:

  • Interact and respond to user reviews
  • Share news updates
  • Understand how people find and interact with their business
  • Answer questions from customers.

More recently, Google My Business also introduced a “custom descriptions” feature that gives business owners the ability to edit the descriptions of their business on the Google search engine to make themselves even more personable to potential customers.

Business owners who are interested in using My Business will only need to sign up through the website and verify their businesses with Google.

Upon receiving a verification postcard, owners will then be able to edit their business listing as they see fit.

A snapshot of the profile shown through Google search. Business owners can claim this profile and customise it to provide more accurate descriptions of their business.

According Google Malaysia’s Head of Communications and Public Affairs Zeffri Yusof, businesses should consider using online tools such as Google My Business to help themselves grow faster.

“Businesses that are online grow 40% faster than those that aren’t,” he said.

“Since signing up for Google My Business is free, every business can try it out risk free and see what features work best for them.”

He also mentioned how that there were currently too few businesses taking advantage of the internet’s ease-of-use.

“Too many businesses—more than half in the United States even—still don’t have a website,” he explained.

“Google’s annual Consumer Barometer study shows that over 48% of people in Malaysia visit a business’ website when they do research for products and services, but less than a third of the 700,000 or so small-to-medium businesses in Malaysia actually have a website.”

“These businesses are missing out on many potential customers by not being discoverable on the open web. With consumers spending most of their time on smartphones, being found online is simply a must for any Malaysian business looking to grow.”

Speaking on how increasingly easy it’s becoming for businesses to conduct their own online marketing, Zeffri also spoke about how businesses could ultimately be empowered to do everything themselves.

“The entry bar is already super low for any business wanting to do digital marketing,” he said. “We have companies such as Printcious and Sonicon Construction basically managing their own marketing campaigns to the point where they skip having sales or marketing functions and claim to have gotten the best out of the service only for a few ringgit a month.”

He stated that this doesn’t mean the end of marketing agencies, however, and instead thinks that affordable online tools such as My Business and Adwords could actually complement paid marketing services to help grow businesses even further.

“As businesses grow and run multiple campaigns, they would still want to work with marketing agencies to scale up and out,” he said.

“Far from being rendered obsolete, marketing agencies that help businesses get results will thrive.”

“Meanwhile, tools like My Business are meant for businesses that want to sustain a vital and relevant online presence but might lack the necessary resources to run a transactional site,” he added.

“When the time is right, these businesses can start exploring self-managed digital marketing campaigns or work with an agency.”

  • Business owners interested in using the Google My Business platform can check out the website to register or get more information.
  • The Google My Business platform is also available on iOS and Android.

Feature Image Credit: Search Engine Land

 

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