In real estate, the saying is “location, location, location.” But what good is location if consumers can’t find their way to your company's front door?
A reported 1 billion monthly users — more than 40 percent of all online users worldwide — rely on Google Maps to deliver basic information, including directions and the best route to travel with traffic. Even Lyft drivers rely on Google to take ride-sharers from point A to point B.
By uncomplicating the navigation hurdle, Google Maps essentially puts your business on the (literal) map. Fifty percent of local searches result in a visit within 24 hours. Of these on-sites, 18 percent result in purchases.
How do you take advantage of the power of Google Maps for your business?
Steps on the Map
Google Maps helps you capitalize on local search queries to put basic information about your business front and center. When a Google Maps user inputs a query, such as “lunch restaurants,” your business will appear along with the competition.
When someone clicks on your business, ideally the description will be updated, with current offers and a link to your mobile-optimized website. Since such things don't happen automatically, let’s deconstruct the steps:
1. List your business on Google Maps.
You list your business through Google My Business, a free tool offered by Google to enhance your local visibility. After inputting your business name and address into the search field, you’ll either find your company in the results or will need to manually add it. If your business is already listed, make sure the information is correct. Verify, confirm and, voila, you’re live.
2. Optimize your website for mobile devices.
Eighty percent of local searches are executed on mobile devices. When a consumer sees your description and clicks on your company website, you want the website to give them further impetus to visit your store. Attractive pictures, mobile responsiveness and special offers are a few ways to achieve this.
3. Keep your finger on the pulse of Google My Business.
Make it a habit to frequently update your Google My Business listing to include local promotions and inventory. Google continuously presents increasing sophistication and opportunities for businesses to bolster hyperlocal search. Recently, for example, Google enhanced its search sidebar, which lists your business name with a direct link to your website, directions, store hours, contact info and calls to action. Now business owners can write and edit a brief description about their business for easy display to consumers following a search. Strong copywriting helps lure consumers into a website, so it’s another touchpoint in the customer journey.
4. Fit Google Maps into the customer journey.
Google Maps aids discoverability in the online-to-offline customer journey. Maps makes it easy for customers to reach your store without obstacles. What else can you add to the journey to make them convert? How can Google search, social media and lead generation aid customer decision making?
Cross-channel visibility is key. Google My Business offers insight into how customers interact with your information. Insight is nothing without intelligence, however. The most effective way to maximize Google Maps is as a touchpoint in the customer journey. You can view and analyze the customer journey by feeding Google’s analytics into a machine learning-powered, cross-platform solution to paint the big picture. The customer journey, after all, is dynamic. The right system will bend and flex with your target audience, providing the insight needed to continue to speak to them as people — on Google Maps and elsewhere.
With the summer travel season on the horizon, it’s time to drive new visitors to your business. Google Maps is a powerful way to begin, and a touchstone to keep them coming.
Chaitanya Chandrasekar is CEO and co-founder of QuanticMind, a predictive advertising management platform.
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