What’s your first port of call if you want to find something? Google. The world’s biggest search engine picked up where phone books left off. These days, we ‘Google’ something rather than search for it.
We’ve previously discussed how to make your website more visible by using paid search and organic methods to bump your business up the rankings, but the sometimes-overlooked Google My Business tool is incredibly useful for managing your dealership’s first online impression. So what is the tool and how can you use it to your advantage?
What is Google my Business?
Launched in 2014, Google My Business—often abbreviated to GMB—is a free online tool that allows an organisation to control its presence on the search engine. You can publish and tweak elements relating to search and map facilities, such as opening hours, your website, and street address. Google claims businesses that verify their information on the platform are “twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers”.
It also opens up the ability to respond to reviews and interact with customers. You can reply to anyone who leaves a comment about your business on Google and add photos to your profile, both of which are a good idea to improve visibility and attract potential buyers. The internet giant reckons companies that add photos to their page receive 42% more requests for directions via its map service and 35% more clicks through to their website than those that don’t.
Why should dealers use GMB?
The fact that you can control your business’s appearance on the world’s biggest search engine is a pretty good reason to start using a free platform, but there’s more to it than that.
One of GMB’s most useful functions is the ‘insights’ tab which, among other things, displays the search terms that initially bring a customer to your listing. For example, it will tell you if someone arrived at your website after punching in ‘Volkswagen Golf Manchester’ or if they searched for your business directly by tapping in something like ‘John’s Ford dealership Birmingham’.
Google describes these respective types of search as ‘discovery’ and ‘direct’. The former is when a customer is sniffing around for a category, product or service offered by your business, the latter an instance where a user has actively looked for your specific company. Essentially, GMB gives you a really good idea of what customers are searching for online and how they arrive at your organisation’s page.
You can also make your dealership more relevant to people searching for specifics. Google has a multitude of categories for different types of business and, while you might have to stick with something like ‘car dealer’ for the primary description, you can have up to 10 categories in total, which means you can add terms such as ‘franchise’ or ‘independent dealer’ to help capture buyers looking for something more precise.
Keep your customers informed
In addition to listing evergreen information such as your showroom’s address, website, and opening hours, dealers can also use GMB to keep customers up to speed about short-term events. Bank holidays are a good example: many businesses operate reduced working hours on such occasions, but the catch 22 is that customers have more time to physically visit a showroom.
Google is many people’s first port of call for finding out whether or not a business is trading, and you can easily update your opening hours via the GMB tool. Many companies don’t bother, leaving an air of ambiguity, but those that do are more likely to convert a humble search into a buyer in the showroom.
You can also promote offers or special events via GMB’s posts tool. If you’re having a sale or pushing a particular product or service, then you can add it to the Google listing so it’s visible to anyone who sees your company on the search engine. It’s essentially another form of social media, as customers are more likely to find the business via a quick Google than any other method.