Google My Business is now testing a messaging feature nationwide that allows you to chat with your customers directly from Google mobile search results, says Search Engine Land. It’s part of a pilot program that’s rolling out across the country and it’s called Google My Business Messaging feature. Testing began back in November and is available for existing Google My Business customers. You’ll know you’ve been selected for the pilot when you see the option to turn on messaging in your GMB dashboard, according to Search Engine Journal.
This is Google’s latest attempt to help businesses like yours connect more easily with customers and clients. As a local home care business, your company can take advantage of this new feature as part of your online marketing strategy. It can benefit your customer relations as well as your bottom line.
If you’re not already signed up for Google My Business, do so. Once you’ve done that, you can go to the home page. Look to the left for the section that says “Messaging.” In the middle, you’ll see a button that reads “Message with customers.” Enter your mobile phone number and choose how you want to receive and send messages: either through standard SMS text messaging or through an app called Allo that you can install on your phone.
Now that you’re set up, you can start to receive messages from customers who are searching for eldercare companies in your area. Your name, among others, will pop up when they make a mobile search. From there, they can click on the message icon to send you, the business owner, a query about anything from hours and directions to specific services and rates.
Benefits and Drawbacks
Before utilizing the Google My Business messaging feature, think about the pros and cons. This feature certainly has many benefits to you as a home care or eldercare business but it can also hurt you in some ways as well. First, the pros. You get real-time accessibility to potential clients who need your services, acting as a catalyst to open up dialogue between the two parties. This can lead to new or continued business, adding to your customer base and bottom line. Once you start racking up stats, you’ll get to see those stats regarding messaging activity, including:
- Number of clicks to message
- Number of conversations
- Number of total messages
Customers who may not feel comfortable calling you or just don’t have the time due to their own demanding schedules can now ask you questions quickly and immediately. This is a huge benefit of the messaging feature, putting you in touch with clients who otherwise wouldn’t reach out.
Now on to the cons. Let’s say you’re too busy, and forget to use the app or check and respond to texts. This slow response time or failure to respond at all could harm your reputation. Plus, if you’re one who values your privacy and the ability to “turn off” at the end of the day, you won’t like the constant interruptions posed by this messaging feature. The very same benefit that many business owners like about Google My Business messaging can be the bane of existence for others, adding to an already full plate for some business owners.
How SEO Applies
Implementation of SEO strategies on your website is a must. Proper SEO tactics can help customers find you online. However, that’s not enough. You also have to rank high in Google searches and that takes times. Optimizing for local search when it comes to Google My Business is an important component. No one can find you if your business information is unclear, muddled or different in all the various business listing directories. Clean those up first before hopping head long into the Google My Business world.
Local search optimization is another critical element. Moz says you have to optimize your mobile content for local search, including standardizing your name, address, and phone number in business listings, as well as including your city and state name in your website’s metadata.
A strong SEO game and solid mobile SEO strategy are both critical. Both help you rank higher in the major search engines because Google favors mobile-optimized sites. You can tag your home health care business with geo-specific locations to be found easily by your core audience. And with so many people searching on mobiles these days, the stats can’t be ignored. eMarketer says there are 1.75 billion smart phone users globally and about 2.23 billion mobile phone users searching online each month. Therefore, you can use this new messaging feature to extend your reach.
Contact A Servant’s Heart Web Design and Marketing
Got more questions about how Google My Business Messaging works? Want to know how your home care business can benefit from it? Call us at 760-744-8200. A Servant’s Heart Web Design and Marketing specializes in SEO and online marketing as we help you stand out from the competition. Our team can assist you in formulating a plan, so get in touch for a free website SEO consultation today.