Google My Business for the Senior Industry

Improving your business’s products and services is of primary importance to success. But what good is a quality business if customers don’t know you exist? That’s where marketing comes in. To get out the word, businesses in the senior industry benefit from partnering with an online and print resource such as Seniors Guide. Google My Business for the senior industry provides an additional important tool to help potential customers find you.

Knowing the basics of this Google feature – and its new Call History Notification feature – will help you connect and stay engaged with customers and promote your business.

A ‘GOOGLE MY BUSINESS’ OVERVIEW

When you search on Google for businesses, products, or services, whether general or specific, Google My Business listings appear. These directory-like listings provide a wide variety of information. For Google, the feature adds value to its search engine pages. For consumers, the feature lets their fingers do the walking. And for business owners and managers, Google My Business provides an easy promotion and communication tool.

GMB information also connects with Google Maps and other Google properties, for easy synchronization.

SETTING UP A LISTING

In some cases, Google may create a listing without your input. After all, Google has plenty of resources to draw from, including crowdsourcing. However, this information is likely sparse and could be inaccurate or misleading.

To start fresh, go to Google.com/business, sign in with a Google account, and follow the step-by-step instructions. If your business already has a listing, click on “Claim My Business” or “Own this business?” to make changes.

LISTING INFORMATION

The listing includes basics like business name, industry, address, website, phone number, service areas, and business hours. You can include services and products, appointment links, photos, videos, a logo, cover photo, business description, and more.

You can add secondary hours, updates on holiday hours, COVID-related changes such as temporary closures, safety precautions, curbside pickup, and delivery. You can add an event, a product, or a special offer.

You can also share posts to demonstrate your expertise. No need to reinvent the wheel for these updates – if you’re already posting and/or sending out social media shares, just add this quick GMB update at the same time. Choose the “What’s new” option, add a brief description that will appeal to your audience, and include a relevant link to your website.

TWO CASE STUDIES

The first image pictured below shows that a generic search pulls up multiple businesses, listed after the paid ads.

No business is featured; however, clicking on one of the businesses (in this case, UVM Medical Center Palliative Care Services) takes you to a Google My Business listing – the next image. The link to “Own this business?” indicates that the business hasn’t claimed the Google-created listing.

And see the 1-star review? The business hasn’t responded to the review, putting that negative review front and center for consumers searching for hospice care.


Google My Screenshot of Google search page: Business for Senior Industry Businesses


 


 

The third image, below, demonstrates the advantages of using GMB more fully. Not only does the listing appear when a user types in the business name, it also appears when the user types in a generic search: “Bangor Maine in-home nursing care.” The listing includes a compelling image, a map, address, hours, contact information, website, and more.

Google My Business Senior Service 3

CONNECTING

Such background information unquestionably provides a useful one-way communication tool. But GMB also allows you to go deeper with valuable customer engagement. People can ask questions, send messages, and post reviews and photos. On your side, you can respond to reader queries and comments.

A Google search is the first step for many people when they’re actively looking for a product or service – including when they’re ready to buy. Using this free tool, businesses and organizations can manage their online presence across Google. Since this listing might appear even without your input, by connecting (i.e., “claiming” your business), you can verify the information to ensure its accuracy and on-brand messaging.

QUESTIONS AND REVIEWS

Even after you’ve fully updated your listing, the Google Review and Questions features will remain active, so you should actively monitor both of these regularly.

Look at it this way. Imagine someone looking for a business that specializes in {insert your industry here} and they find your listing on Google. But they also see a complaint. And they don’t see any response to that complaint. You immediately have a huge strike against you.
On the other hand, if they see a complaint with a positive response, you’ve already gotten to first base.

Better yet, if they see a compliment with a personal response, you might even make it to second base!

Similarly, the Q&A offers an easy opportunity to engage and to create positive vibes. I’ve seen plenty of Google My Business questions answered by other web users (accurately or not, who knows?), with crickets from the business. Not a good look! Even if it’s not a question you can answer – asking about cost is a popular question on assisted living listings – you can still engage. For example, “Thanks for your inquiry! The costs depend upon many factors. Please call so we can schedule a tour and answer your questions accurately.”

CALL HISTORY NOTIFICATION

Coming soon, you’ll be able to keep track of phone calls that come from Google Search and Maps. These calls will all be in one place to help you respond to missed calls and stay engaged with your customers. These calls will start with a short message that tells you it’s from Google.

When this feature launches, a dedicated “Calls” tab will be added to the app, which will log missed calls and answered from customers who click the “Call” button on your GMB profile.
One downside is that the phone number isn’t the business’s number, but a forwarding number. If you need customers to retain your number (as when a mobile phone retains an outgoing call), this matters. Otherwise, the benefits may be worthwhile. After all, the real phone number will still appear on the GMB profile.

DO I HAVE TO MANUALLY CHECK MY LISTING?

Fortunately, Google has made it simple for you to receive notifications. The simplest DIY manner uses a smartphone app, for Android or Apple, with real-time communications. Download the application to your phone, turn on notifications, and be connected with customers! App notifications include:

• Reviews
• Followers
• Booking requests
• Uploaded photos
• Business profile insights
• Reminders to respond

The app also offers the opportunity to update your listing and add information.
By registering your application to obtain OAuth 2.0 credentials, you can receive notifications and change settings through real-time notifications in the Google My Business API. These notifications are published in the Cloud Pub/Sub service.

HOW DO I GET REVIEWS FOR MY BUSINESS?

A positive review goes a long way toward helping a potential customer connect with your business. Since you can’t write your own reviews, you’ll want to request reviews from customers.

Google offers a link for sharing your request for reviews. On your Google My Business management Home page, look for the “Get your first review” module, click on “Share review” form, and find a link that you can use for your business website or social media. You could also create a QR code that customers at your business can scan. The QR code will send the user to GMB to leave a review. Just ask. It’s free and painless!

SIMPLIFYING THE PROCESS

If you choose to advertise through Google as well, your Google ads can be managed through your business profile page. Having an updated listing can even help your ad perform better.

Google My Business for the senior industry

Many of the processes are simple, but they can be time consuming. When you get into options such as Google advertising, targeted digital display, and so forth, the process gets more complex. Ross Media Solutions can help you navigate the complex aspects of digital marketing. Contact our digital media team for web work, geographically and demographically specific web ads, targeted media promotion, and more. RMS can also coordinate with Seniors Guide for listings and other ways to connect with your target audience.