Our last article in the new Marketing Foundations Series highlighted the importance of trust when seeking to build business opportunities with new markets. Research has regularly demonstrated how often Aussies turn to their friends, family and to Google for opinions or financial advice; this is particularly true of younger generations who trust social media and advice they receive from friends and family much more than advertisers.
With this in mind, the next couple of articles will help you to leverage some of the free and most powerful resources available to boost your online presence to build trust with new markets, including how to:
- Leverage Google’s free, yet massively influential business tools
- Boost your Google ratings, and
- Build a bank of testimonials and customer feedback for sales and service improvement
The Opportunity in Emerging Markets
A significant portion of the emerging financial services market comprises of your younger generations, with Gen X at 27.5%, Millennials 13.1% and Gen Z 3.1%.
Young, Savvy and on the internet
Not only are Millennials a smart young group of consumers, but they can also influence the image of your brand or business with their peers. That’s because this demographic is more likely to:
- Google to find what others say about your services before they send an enquiry
- Rate your services on public forums like Google Reviews than any other demographic and
- They’re also more social than any other, with 30% of Millennials engaging with a brand on social media at least once a month
- Gen Xers are twice as likely to follow brands on social media than Baby Boomers
This means that a bit of maintenance on your online presence – which doesn’t have to take a lot of time and can cost $0 – is a gold mine if you’re seeking to reach new markets and overcome any trust issues with prospects.
Here’s how to get started with the basics on optimising your online presence with some of the free, yet effective tools available to grow and build your business’ reputation.
Step 1: Set up (or Update) a Google My Business Profile
In an effort to gain more online visibility, organic search traffic and leads – it’s time to add your business to Google and set up a Google My Business account. Once set up, your Google profile acts like a virtual phonebook, attracting potential new clients searching the internet for relevant financial services. If your profile is up to date, this also makes it easy to find you, contact you, and review satisfaction ratings and service reviews.
With 97% of people learning about a local company online than anywhere else – and hundreds of competitors out there, you need to make your Google My Business account stand out.
How to make your Google My Business Account Stand Out
- Make sure your profile is complete and accurate – this makes it easier for anyone to find you when they need to.
- Add a business description – Google uses this data to help determine whether or not to list your business in the results page for local search queries.
- Verify your listing – Once you create your listing, you’ll have to verify it with Google via a code that is sent to your business address by post. As soon as you’ve verified your business, it will start appearing on Google products.
- Add photos and images – Adding images to your listing can make a world of difference between a customer skipping over your business or deciding to visit and use your services. Think with Google found that businesses with photos get 42% more requests for directions.
- Respond to customer reviews – If your business is receiving reviews (good or bad), you can’t just let them sit there! Responding to reviews is a great way to increase customer engagement and can help your business recover from any negative reviews that might come your way. A constructive response from your business will show customers that you value their opinion but are also looking at new ways to improve service levels.
- Enter accurate business hours – Let your customers know your opening and closing times – an easy but important step. Remember to also change hours during holiday periods to avoid negative experiences. If you are still operational during lockdown via virtual services, this may also be something you want to include on your profile.
Waiting for new business?
Without a Google My Business account, you risk missing out on local sales opportunities. Conversely, by spending a couple of hours optimising your business listing, you can increase your website’s click-through rates by 35%. Despite its clout, Google My Business is commonly overlooked, or unmaintained by small financial services firms, even though it has many proven benefits to your business.
In our next article, we’ll cover the next stage promotions for your business: how to build your Google Ratings.