11 New Google Features You Can Use to Market Your Small Business
Google already offers several great ways for small businesses to market themselves, including Google My Business, Google Posts, Google Analytics, and Featured Snippets. Over the last few months Google has added several more features to help small businesses tell their stories, attract new customers, promote their products and services, and increase engagement.
1. Google My Business Descriptions
Google now allows companies with a Google My Business listing to include a description of their business with a maximum of 750 characters (about 125 words). Descriptions will show up when someone uses Google Maps on a mobile device and clicks on a business’s name.
2. Google My Business Q&A
Google’s Q&A feature lets customers ask questions directly from the Google My Business listing and receive answers from other users or the business owner. Questions and answers can even show up in Google search results, so businesses should monitor questions and answer promptly to prevent someone not affiliated with the business from replying with inaccurate information.
3. Products & Services in Google My Business Listings
Google My Business is now allowing some users to add categorized listings of services or products to their listings, which is a great way to give more detailed information on what users will find when they visit the business.
4. Appointment Booking in Google My Business
Local businesses in the fields of fitness or beauty can now let customers book appointments directly from their Google My Business pages. To use the feature, businesses must have an existing relationship with a Google reservations partner.
5. Videos in Google My Business Listings and Google Posts
In addition to letting businesses add photos to Google My Business listings, Google now allows businesses to upload videos up to 30 seconds in length to both the main Google My Business listing and individual Google Posts.
6. Direct Messaging in Google My Business and Google Maps
Google My Business now lets mobile users send businesses text messages directly through their Google My Business listing. Google My Business owners can create a custom message that users will receive as an automated reply to a text, and can choose to use a personal cell phone number or Google’s Allo app to see and respond to messages. Customers and businesses can also exchange messages through the Google Maps app.
7. Google Posts for Products and Offers
Google Posts, short articles that let businesses post company news and upcoming events, have been available since early this year, and in June Google added two new post types—offer posts, which can include information on sales or promotions offered by the business; and product posts, which can be used to spotlight a specific product the company sells.
8. Following Businesses in Google Maps for Android
If an internet user finds a business by searching in Google Maps, they can now choose to follow the business, just as they would follow a Facebook page. Followers of a business will receive the latest news about the business, including events, offers and other updates in the "For You" tab. The follow feature is currently only available in Google Maps for Android.
9. Google My Business Service Area
Google now offers separate fields for business address and service area, so businesses can now indicate a service area that may be entirely different from a business address. Businesses that do not serve customers at their official business address can leave that field blank and instead designate a service area by region, city, or ZIP code.
10. Redesigned Google My Business App
In November, Google launched a new version of its Google My Business app for Android and iOS that lets businesses improve interaction with their customers, including posting updates, viewing and responding to reviews, and sending and receiving messages. Google My Business page profile owners can now use the app to view engagement analytics and see who's following them using the new “Customers” tab.
11. New Social Post Visuals to Highlight Customer Reviews
Google's Small Thanks with Google website, which offers free marketing materials to small businesses, just added several new visual social post styles designed to enable businesses to highlight customer reviews and key information about their business. If you're a verified Google My Business user, you can use the site to see actual reviews of your business in the new social post style, then update or customize them and post them on your social media channels and your business profile. You can also use the new styles to highlight a special feature of your business, like free gift wrapping or extended holiday hours.