Today I have the honor of interviewing Lorraine Ball. After spending too many years in corporate America, Lorraine said goodbye to the bureaucracy, glass ceilings and bad coffee and followed her passion to help small business owners succeed today.
This successful entrepreneur, author, professional speaker and host of a weekly marketing podcast called More Than a Few Words, brings creative ideas, practical tips and decades of real world experience to every conversation.
As the founder of the digital toolbox club, she helps business owners use internet marketing to grow. And, in her spare time, she loves to travel and take photos (you can see her photos at LorraineBall.com).
Tell me Lorraine, what do you like the most about Google My Business?
I love what Google My Business does for small local companies. It gives you an opportunity to be right up there with the big boys.
It gives you an opportunity as a local business to claim a little bit of real estate and say to Google, “Hey, I’m here and I’m in business.” And Google rewards you with traffic, with phone calls and with visibility to your website.
That’s fantastic. But let’s get into the nuts and bolts a little bit. Because one of the one of the things that I’ve noticed. and this is the biggest complaint that I get, is it seems like it’s so difficult to figure out how to use it.
Oh, you know it really isn’t. If you search Google My Business, click on it, and create an account, you’ll get to the log in page.
A lot of their social networks, not so good. remember Google Wave? remember Google Plus? They’re not good at social.
But they’re good at business. And the hardest thing that you will have to do is verify your page. And it’s only hard if you don’t check your mail because they will mail you a postcard with a code on it.
As soon as you get that postcard, you can verify or claim your page in the Google My Business dashboard. They will walk you through everything else. Do you have covid information? click here. Or, oh, you haven’t filled out all of your profile, Tell us what your hours are; Share a picture and just click through.
You can come back to it over and over, and you should. But it’s really easy now. And if you don’t want to do it, will my team help you do it? Yeah, but really and truly it’s very easy because they have created, I think, a very intuitive user experience.
That’s great to hear. What would you say is the biggest mistake that you see that people make in Google My Business pages?
And it is free advertising. As an SEO tool, you want to make sure that your business description includes the words that people are going to use when they’re looking for you.
Remember, this lives on Google. I have a customer that makes gluten free muffins and that’s her whole business. You read the description on her Google profile, it talks about healthy muffins, delicious muffins. The word gluten free isn’t in the description. Hello! So, you want to number one, right? That description needs to use the words you want to be found for (like gluten free).
I think my biggest pet peeve, especially with this last year with everything going on. has been people not updating their hours. Their hours on Google says they’re open 9 to 5 and then you go there and they say “Sorry, we’re closed for Covid.” Well, it seems to me that it’s so easy to go in and say: “Hey, we are closed physically, but here’s how to get a hold of us.” Or, especially for restaurants: Here’s our online menu.”
Is there a way for them to put a link to an online menu there for restaurants?
Well, absolutely. And there’s two things:
Number one, there’s a whole section when you log in and you just click COVID-19 update and so you can update your information in real time.
But then also Google My Business has a section where you can actually, if you have a menu, you can list all of the items that are on your menu right on Google My Business. It’s a lovely, mobile friendly, interactive menu.
You can see the product and you can see the process now. If you want to turn that into an online ordering form, you have to connect to whatever your online ordering system is. But for a lot of people, if you have a little restaurant and you don’t want to pay the premiums to Door Dash, Grubhub, or anybody else, you can be like: “Hey, look at our menu here and then call us and just pick the items right from the restaurant.”
That’s great. One other area that I have a question about, and that is their posting area. And if you’ve already got the COVID-19 hours up, what’s the use of even doing the postings?
What Google will do is underneath your listing there is what I call Real estate. There are two boxes where you can put two status updates and the updates only show for one week and then Google hides them.
Just remember; they want to have new, fresh interesting information. But there are two boxes there and so every week… I do like a Tuesday and Friday… you want to add a new status update and It will push the old one out of the way.
Google loves new information. If you want Google to point to you, you have to give them what they want.
I like that it’s free. And the other thing is that when you look at the Google feed, when you do a search its text, text, text, text, text, text, text. If you put a status update and you add a picture to that status update, you create a little burst of color that appears in the sidebar. When someone is searching, suddenly you have the only picture on the page.
What happens? People’s eyes go right to you. So yeah, definitely use pictures with text. Absolutely.
The other thing that I really like is the analytics and Google is good at analytics. I can see how much traffic I got from my listing, but I can also see which of my posts people are liking the most.
Yeah, after a week Google forgets about it. So, you can recycle your best posts.
Yeah, I like that.
So, we have a flooring company. They are my poster child for Google My business. We’ve been doing their page for about five years. They have over 100 reviews. It’s really good, solid page.
They get 50 or 60 phone calls a month. They have two or three blog posts that we post over and over. The people love the one on how to save money on your new carpet. People want to see that.
And so we change out the picture and tweak the title just a little bit. And then we re-use the status update that links to the same blog post.
And no matter what we do to it, it drives traffic. And I do want to talk about two things.
Number one with Google My Business: You will be able to see how many people click through to your website, which is wonderful. You can also see how many people call. And if you are in a business where people are ordering, then they’re either calling to order or they are scheduling an appointment.
That’s a really powerful number for my carpet company. They typically close one out of every four sales. So, if we drive 60 phone calls, they’re going to make 15 sales, Carpeting for your house could be $5,000 or $10,000. So now you’re looking at $50-60,000 every month that we’re generating in business, which is free.
Which is great. And just to kind of geek out on numbers just a little bit, when we were doing Google Adwords for them; because the big companies were spending a lot of money jacking up the price of the ads because it’s a competitive bid (big companies do that a lot).
All of a sudden, my local little carpet company was spending $25 a click: Not $25 a sale. So, to get 100 clicks, he was spending $2500 a month.
With Google My Business, I’m driving 100 clicks to his website without ads.
Economically this is the best. It’s not a social networking, building a community, you’re not making friends, you’re putting information out there and people are finding it.
That’s fantastic. Hey, Lorraine, what’s the best way for people to get a hold of you?
Lorraine: So I would say the best way to, to connect with me is either go to the podcast “More Than a Few Words.”
Or, if you’re really interested in more of the resources and tools, digitaltoolbox.club. And there are contact forms on both sides.
Well, that’s awesome. Lorraine, I just want to thank you so much for your time and you have a great day!
You too. Bye now.
-Dr Ty Belknap, Port Bell SEO
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