It sure seems like Google is taking over the world. The latest installment that appeared on my radar recently was Google My Business. If HVAC contractors are not taking advantage of Google My Business, they should start now.
This came to my attention at a recent Service Nation Alliance Success Day in metro Detroit. Colleen Keyworth, sales and marketing coordinator for Online Access, presented on the topic.
Basically, Google My Business is Google’s version of a business directory. But it is a business directory that you, the owner, have some control over. Unfortunately, customers do also.
Just so we are on the same page — go Google your company name. I will wait. When you Google a company, the Google My Business is the information that shows up on the top right of the search page. It has your company name, maybe a few pictures, as well as a plethora of other information.
The downside first — this is taking traffic away from the website that you probably have invested a lot of time and money into to make it look perfect. When a homeowner gets to the Google search page, they can get your main information without having to click on your site.
“They are relying on this to be the No. 1 thing people use,” Keyworth said. “Google does not want people going to your website. To be the one-stop shop for everybody, they don’t want anybody to leave their platform. They are going farther away from promoting other people’s sites and instead are promoting themselves as a middle man.”
All you need to have a listing is a brick and mortar storefront. It needs to be a place that has a mailing address and a place a customer could park at and pay a bill.
There are a couple items HVAC contractors should be sure to include to make that listing more effective, according to Keyworth.
• Photos: Your listing should have pictures. If you have a smartphone, you should have pictures of your business. Don’t use stock photos for Google My Business. You have to stay current and consistently add photos to your listings because other people can add photos as well. That first picture that appears needs to be engaging and tell the homeowner what you want them to know about your company.
“Google loves crowdsourcing,” Keyworth said. “They don’t trust you. They trust everybody else. You have to be monitoring what people put up there.”
• Reviews: As most of you know, reviews are the currency of the internet. That is also the case with Google My Business, which of course, focuses on Google Reviews. Again, Google wants to know what your customers think of your business, not what you think of your business. Get as many positive reviews as you can, because that will move the needle. Make sure your technicians are requesting reviews after they have finished a call. As with everything in business, you accomplish what you put a focus on. Focus on reviews.
Furthermore, make sure you are answering the reviews, so everyone online can tell that you take an interest in your customers’ experiences. And be careful not to get defensive.
“First, try to stop an unsatisfied customer on the call into the office,” Keyworth said. “Deal with it, so it does not escalate and appear as an online review. But have a system in place to respond to reviews. Just assume that you’re writing a response to the person who has yet to read this review but will do so in the future. Possible future customers will be reading this response.”
• Questions: There is a question section built in to Google My Business. Questions and answers can be crowdsourced by anybody. It is a great opportunity to interact with either your current customers or your potential customers.
“What we suggest if nobody has asked questions, or if people have asked stupid questions, is that you crowdsource it yourself,” Keyworth said. “Have Patty the dispatcher sign in with her Google account and ask a question that you would like to have featured on the page.”
Those are just of a few of the tips that were presented at this Success Day. For more information, you can always visit Online-Access at www.hvacwebsites.com.
Publication date: 6/24/2019