As the vast majority of businesses know: Online sources have become a powerful tool for driving in-store traffic and ecommerce sales. However, most brands are unsure which online source is bringing them more traffic. Business owners (and many marketers) tend to believe their website is the greatest driver for sales, which explains why a recent Gartner survey found that brands spend most of their marketing budget on their website. Is this assumption misguided?
There is an alternative source for both ecommerce sales and online-to-offline traffic which should be getting more of your attention: Google My Business (GMB). This free tool is a necessary resource, especially if you are looking to direct local individuals to a brick-and-mortar location. GMB has become such an effective hub for driving traffic to businesses that websites have become something of an afterthought to consumers. But why?
Almost all consumers (97%) are using search engines to find local businesses. The majority of that traffic is going to Google and its Google My Business platform, making it the #1 local search site. Google receives nearly twice as much local search traffic as Facebook (the second most popular local search site) and 4x as much traffic as Yelp! (which comes in at third place). Google owns 74% of the desktop search market share and 90% of the mobile search market share.
What does this mean? Google is top of mind for your customers! It has been so seamlessly integrated into the way we live our lives that it is our go-to resource when we need to find a nearby business or purchase a product or service. With our mobile devices always at hand, we have immediate access to any and all information we may want. This explains GMB’s continued success and importance for your business.
GMB vs. Website
The GMB platform itself has become so dominant because it delivers to consumers exactly the information for which they were searching. When Google identifies that a user is searching for a place or business, it bypasses delivering links to websites and instead provides a handy list of nearby businesses (GMB listings) that match the search criteria.
This sorting feature from Google makes it easy for consumers to quickly narrow down their choices to a handful of promising businesses/locations… while simultaneously allowing Google to direct consumers AWAY from your website and TOWARD your GMB listing. Even if a potential customer directly searches your business by name, your GMB listing is more prominent than the link leading them back to your website!
Google is giving your customers everything they need through your GMB listing, so there is less and less need to actually click on the link to your website. On your GMB listing, they can quickly and easily find:
- Store hours
- Address / Location
- Phone number
- Email address for inquiries
- Easy links/buttons to book an appointment or make a reservation
- Reviews for your business (and for your products/services)
With some added time and effort, your GMB listing can provide consumers with even more information:
- Photos (of your business’s interior and exterior, employees, events, etc.)
- Your products (with images, descriptions, and a link to buy directly on GMB)
- Your services (with descriptions and links to purchase or schedule an appointment)
- Any other feature that is unique to your business
An added benefit of GMB comes in the form of Google reviews. People trust reviews from strangers on the internet more than they trust what a brand has to say about itself. More reviews are left on Google than on other online sources, and they are read more often (Source: Search Engine Journal).
To Sum It Up…
Everything is all in one location: right there on your GMB listing. Customers can (and do) go from a Google search to a purchase without ever visiting a business’s website. As a result, your Google My Business listing has the potential to be the top driver of sales for your business.
Read our next blog for tips on how to optimize your Google My Business listing to enhance its success!