What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a tool for website owners to manage their online presence across Google, including search and Map. It allows you to create, verify and edit listing information to help potential customers find your business.
So, how can Google My Business help your business?
Directly improves the SEO of your website and helps it rank better
Google My Business listings increase visibility in search results for branded searches. It also lets users find listing information and get directions directly from the search results — all without actually going to the website, which is perfect for mobile users! Google My Business is essential for local SEO as it enables your business listing to appear in local search results for queries specific to your products or services. Even broad queries with large volumes display local results, and this is something small business owners and organizations can capitalize on.
You own your information and can control your service offering
You can make sure your customers have access to accurate information such as operating hours, website, telephone number and street address when they find your business via Google Maps or Search. As such, it’s important to ensure your Google my Business page is fully optimized, accurate, and up to date to provide users with the best experience when searching for your products or services online.
In addition, Google My Business pages offer a range of tools to attract and inform local customers: details like menus, product lists, hours of operation, accepted payment types, and interactive features such as photos and reviews. You can also add coupons and special offers for your visitors.
Manage, showcase and respond to reviews
Google My Business allows you to interact with customers by responding to both positive and negative reviews about your business. Responding to reviews demonstrates that you value your customers and their feedback.
High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’ visibility. It also increases the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location. Do encourage customers to leave feedback by creating a link they can click on to write reviews on your website or email signature. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers personally to write reviews in-store, online or via email.
Learn more about customers
The Google My Business platform includes extra analytic data, enabling local businesses to learn even more about their customers. For instance, on Google Maps, you can access information on where requests for driving directions to your business originate from. This is something that can help you target new customers in the area, or even pick the right neighbourhood to expand to as your business grows.
Tips businesses can use to improve local visibility
- Be sure to select the most appropriate category/categories for your business. This way your business can appear for various product or service-based keyword searches.
- Add photos that showcase your business. Choose high-quality photos that highlight different areas of your business. These may include your company logo, interior and exterior images of your business, and product or service offerings.
- Encourage visitors to upload photos of your venue/business.
- Check the popular times of the day and use paid social or AdWords to drive more visitors to your business during slower hours.
- Encourage local reviews and social check-ins from your customers. Some businesses even offer an incentive to customers who do so.
Last month, global market research firm NPD released its findings on consumer purchase intentions in the 2017 holiday season. Drawn from thousands of consumer surveys and detailed checkout tracking (both online and offline), the data reveals five key consumer trends retailers should take into account.
Shoppers Will Spend More AND Buy More Frequently Online
E-commerce continues to outpace traditional, brick-and-mortar retailers when it comes to holiday shopping. In the fourth quarter of 2016, the frequency of online purchases jumped 12 percent, while brick-and-mortar purchase frequency dropped 4 percent from the prior year. NPD expects the trend to continue in 2017.
Not only are Americans making a higher number of their holiday purchases online, but those who opt to buy online plan to dig deeper into their wallets than their in-store counterparts. Consumers who plan to shop online are prepared to spend an average of $793 this holiday season — almost 70 percent more than brick-and-mortar shoppers, who plan to be only $467 lighter at the end of the day.
However, not all traditional retailers are being eclipsed by digital competition. The NPD report points out the Beauty category, which includes makeup, fragrances, and skincare products, is one of few to experience growth in purchase frequency in 2017. Stores like Sephora and Ulta Beauty thrive through brand exclusivity, offering products shoppers can’t find elsewhere, while keeping an ear to emerging beauty trends on platforms like Instagram.
Online-Only Stores Have Become the First Stop for Holiday Shopping
In its early days, e-commerce was mostly regarded as a back-up plan for holiday shoppers — an alternative for when products were sold out or unavailable in brick-and-mortar stores. Not anymore.
In 2017, a majority of American consumers plan to start holiday shopping at e-commerce sites such as Amazon, ebay, and Etsy. Many consumers head straight to online stores, or scope out potential purchases at a brick-and-mortar store before going online to find the best price.
Shoppers across generations are increasingly drawn to e-commerce as a primary shopping destination. Generational difference in this regard is shrinking, reports NPD, though Millennial and Gen X shoppers are still most likely to shop online.
The Internet has given consumers more choice than ever, but as stated in the report, the increase in competition has generated more online ‘noise’ for shoppers to sort through. This creates an opportunity for retailers to emphasize value consumers can’t find online.
Experiential Gifting is On the Rise
Not all gifts fit neatly into a box. Many holiday shoppers are eschewing material items in favour of ‘experiential’ gifts, like a day at the spa, event tickets, or an upscale dinner for two. Experiential gifts are increasingly seen to have a greater impact than traditional gifts, and they’re growing in popularity with holiday shoppers.
A notable subgenre of the experiential gift is the subscription box. Subscription companies have grown substantially since 2014, particularly in the beauty, food, and apparel categories. According to NPD, 7 percent of holiday shoppers plan to give a subscription box as a gift this year, representing another win for e-commerce.
Black Friday is Losing Its Shine
Once the apex of holiday shopping, Black Friday has been on decline in the United States for the past several years. Black Friday sales and shopper traffic in brick-and-mortar stores declined in 2015 and again in 2016, and there are no signs backtracking on the trend in 2017.
It’s not that people are waiting until December to start their holiday shopping. Nearly 30 percent of consumers still plan to shop for gifts during the week of American Thanksgiving, but fewer consumers are choosing to ‘save’ their big purchases for Black Friday, instead choosing to shop online throughout the week.
But retailers aren’t finished with Black Friday yet. In response, many brick-and-mortar stores are turning Black Friday into a week-long event, advertising in-store exclusive offers through online channels.
Value Beats Price in Consumer Purchase Decisions
An overarching theme of this report, as NPD’s chief industry analyst Marshal Cohen points out, is the importance of value. Value comes out ahead of all other reasons for consumer purchases, including price, and it’s more significant than ever in the 2017 shopping season.
Today, consumers can instantly compare one seller’s price to that of another, and price matching is standard among the biggest retail players. Keeping pace on price is a losing battle. To stand from the competition, retailers have to promise (and deliver) additional value to consumers.
For e-commerce platforms, value often comes in the form of free shipping and bonus features, such as Amazon Prime. For brick-and-mortar stores, it can be exclusive products and brands, standout customer service, or an extraordinary shopping experience.
You don’t have to hop the border to see great marketing in action. In the spirit of #Canada150, let’s show some true patriot love for our most iconic Canadian brands!
44 years ago, a small leather goods store sprouted up in Toronto. Its line of comfortable, durable clothing caught on with Canadians who love the outdoors.
Today, there are over 200 Roots stores all around the world.
From its iconic beaver logo to its rustic store design, Roots capitalizes on our reverence for the Canadian wilderness. When we think Roots, we think nature. And when we think of nature-ready clothing, Roots is the first brand that comes to mind.
With so many distinctive cultures, it can be hard to pin down what it means to be Canadian. Roots succeeds by tapping into something that transcends cultural and generational lines: love for the great outdoors.
Hudson’s Bay Company
Hudson’s Bay Company holds the title of Canada’s oldest company, but the modern Bay bears little resemblance to the bygone fur-trading empire. The company dabbled in everything from fur to transportation to oil exploration before it finally settled on retail in the 20th century.
The retail face of Hudson’s Bay has evolved as well. When it broke ground in Quebec in 1965, the HBC gave its stores a trendy new title: The Bay/La Baie. The company later refreshed its brand and reclaimed the original name.
Throughout its incarnations, Hudson’s Bay has maintained an iconic brand identity. People immediately recognize the name and the four-colour stripe pattern (known as the HBC Point Blanket) as a symbol of quality. Hudson’s Bay has held its place as other large department stores struggle in tough economic times.
When times change, Hudson’s Bay changes with it. The original Canadian company owes its longevity to its ability to adapt without compromising on core values.
Surprised? You’re not alone. Aldo is iconic, but many shoppers don’t realize their favourite shoe store is Canadian.
Aldo was fashioned from the remnants of Le Chateâu’s shoe division. Its key to success was bringing trends to its shelves before its competitors could. Its founder set out to capture the latest in street styles in record time. Now, Aldo has 2,000 stores in more than 55 countries.
Aldo sells itself as a global brand, and its social feeds feature photos of trendsetters from around the world. This has paid off to the tune of millions of followers on Facebook and Instagram. Its success proves Canadian brands don’t have to fly the flag to stand out in the world marketplace.
As the story goes, John Molson was committed to “brewing the best beer in the world for the people of Canada.” We could argue about the merits of his brew all night, but one thing’s for sure: Molson knows the Canadian people.
Molson first launched its “I Am Canadian” campaign in 1995. Canadians aren’t prone to self-promotion, but when Molson made the declaration a retort to Canadian stereotypes, it was a hit.
“I Am Canadian” has been the heart of Molson’s marketing ever since. Molson has since incorporated theme into mountains of merchandise and viral video campaigns.
We love brands that help us define our Canadian identity. Molson has leveraged this to build an incredibly loyal following.
Let’s face it: we can’t talk Canadian brands without mentioning Tim Hortons. Canada’s most trusted brand is so prevalent in our communities and culture that it’s practically a part of Canada itself.
It didn’t get there by accident. Though it has changed corporate hands over the years, Tim Hortons has always maintained a clear and consistent identity. Its advertising appeals to nostalgia and family values, and small communities embrace Tim Hortons for its sponsorship of sports teams and fundraising for local causes.
The Tim Hortons of today is the same one we stopped by for Timbits after hockey practice. It owes its success to the generations of good will it has built with Canadians.