March 21, 2016

SMB Guide: The First Step in Local Marketing Strategy

Google My Business logo. Image from Google Play.
By Megan G.

Dear Small Business (SMB) Owners,

Online marketing is easier than you think. It’s not the complicated, behind-the-scenes SEO mumbo jumbo that you might be worried about, even if search engine optimization is partially a background process and an important part of online marketing strategy. 

The thing is, it’s not everything when it comes to ranking. More importantly, background SEO isn’t something that you have to do. Let’s stick to something that the business owner who is perhaps less-than-tech-savvy can do when it comes to digital marketing. (By the way, if you weren't aware, SMB = "small business"). 

When it comes to managing your digital marketing campaign, the first step you should take is to make a Google My Business profile for your company.

Google My Business: Pros

You’ve heard of it, especially if you follow our Tek Shouts! blog, but let me revisit just how simple GMB makes local marketing online. GMB has everything a small business owner could need to rank for local searches:

  • Online reviews: Those stars are the first thing people look for in local searches!
  • A location focus, or what I like to call “Near Me” Optimization: If you’re the closest burger joint according to Google, chances are it doesn’t matter how many stars you have.
  • The option to upload images: The more natural images of the store, products, and workers, the better! Stay away from stock photos, if you can.
  • An easy-peasy setup process: Here’s the fun part of becoming a Google My Business manager—Google does all that background work for you.  

Merely having a GMB account makes your business relevant on Google Search, Maps, and even Plus. Ranking isn’t that hard after all.

Google My Business: Cons

If I wanted to downplay Google My Business—which I really don’t have to, because it is literally the smartest platform for a local business to use—the only rub is that you must have an established business location if you want the best possible GMB experience. 

Your NAP (name, address, and phone number) is key to online search; it’s basically your business’ Social Security number that lets both customers and search bots know you’re a legitimate company.

But why is the address so important?

Not every type of business needs a storefront to be successful. However, without a physical location, you cannot create a standard Google My Business account since you lack the valued “A” of the “NAP” equation. You also won’t be able to receive online reviews, which are a huge part of online ranking and, more importantly, online reputation management.

I know I’m more likely to trust a business with reviews rather than none at all. The truth is most people are, especially if your business lacks the possibility of “Near Me” searches. You can’t be “near” anyone without a locale.  

In conclusion, if you are a business without a physical location, it might be best to try other means of marketing yourself online in addition to Google My Business. Yelp, for example, can be another strong platform to market on and get reviews, despite your lack of a real storefront. It’s also a great website to practice Barnacle SEO.  

Let’s Wrap It Up!

Now that we know GMB is a great choice for most local businesses, are you ready to take the leap and set up an account? No? Let me guess:

Even though you understand Google My Business can be easy, you still don’t have the time or technical understanding to create one. Don’t sweat it. That’s what eGumball, Inc. is here for.

We are a local marketing company that specializes in Google Maps optimization, in addition to Bing and Yahoo optimization. Our reps can set up a Google My Business account for your business and officially manage it for you.

All of that pressure to market yourself is lifted and you can continue doing what you do best: altering clothes, managing accounts, brewing coffee, flipping burgers, or whatever your profession might be. You can focus on serving your customers while eGumball brings more and more of them to your doorstep.

Small business owners, we want to hear from you! Add to our SMB Guide by asking your pressing questions in the comment section below! 

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