How Your Business Can Benefit from Google My Business

What is Google My Business (GMB)?

Google My Business is a free marketing tool businesses can use to manage their online presence and visibility. Instead of clicking through to the website, Google is making it easier for searchers to do almost all of their research about a company without leaving the search results page.

Having a fully optimised listing that shows all available information about a business has been shown to increase calls and enquiries. If your business is listed in Google My Business, you should take the necessary steps to claim and verify your business.

There are three easy steps to claim and verify your GMB listing: 1.) log into the Google account you want linked to your business 2.) head to google.com/business and select “start now” 3.) enter your business name, address, and details (this is where you’ll indicate whether you deliver to your customers, choose your business category, and add the contact number and website for your business).

There are several methods for verifying your Google My Business listing. A good option is to have a code sent to the business’ phone number or have a postcard sent to the business address. Once you have claimed and verified your business, you are able to manage your listing and take advantage of the features offered by Google My Business. If you are a new business, one of your first steps should be to create your GMB account.

There are two places you want to be found in local search: the map section and the organic listings underneath the maps. The businesses that appear in the Maps section tend to get 33% of the clicks on any given search and the organic listings get 44%. There are a number of factors that contribute to your local Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and proper Google My Business optimisation is one of them.

How to take advantage of GMB features to optimise your listing

Manage key information on your business profile

Properly managing your listing involves making sure it includes correct and relevant information to your business that users will see when they search for your business. Your listing should include your business location, phone number, hours, a business category and description. If you offer multiple services, make sure you include multiple categories. In your business description (750 characters) you will definitely want to include your category keyword and your city in this description, preferably a few times without looking artificial or spammy. This is vital to help your rankings in local SEO.

Completely filling out all of the necessary information and making as many additions as possible helps give users a better idea of your business and the products/services you provide. It is important to note that your listing should maintain an identical name, address, and phone number (also known as NAP) as all other webpages associated with your business to help with Search Engine Optimisation purposes or, in other words, assist with your online visibility. Following these steps will help to outrank your competition in Google Maps.

Share photos and videos

Uploading photos is a necessary step to improving the credibility of your business; customers are more likely to view your listing if there are photos related to the business that they are able to view. A logo should be included so customers can easily recognise your business. You should also choose a cover photo that you want Google to feature and display at the forefront of your listing; uploading a cover photo to your listing should make it the preferred photo, although Google may opt to show another image if it deems it more relevant.

Additional photos should be added to showcase different features of your business; additional photos can include interior/exterior photos, product photos, staff photos, etc. Within your GMB listing, you can specify what images are from the inside or outside as well as photos of your team, photos of your work, and even specify photos of food and drink for restaurants. Include several for each category that you can. For extra ranking ‘points’, make sure to change your photo file names to contain your business name, category, and location.

 

Google’s standards and sizes for photos:
Format - JPG or PNG
File size - between 10KB and 5MB
Minimum resolution - 720 x 720 pixels
Quality - the photo should be in focus and well lit, and have no significant alterations or excessive use of filters
Size for each image type:
Profile image - 250 x 250 pixels (minimum 120 x 120; maximum 5200 x 5300)
Cover photo - 1080 x 608 pixels (minimum 480 x 270; maximum 2120 x 1192)
Shared images - 497 x 373 pixels (minimum width 497; maximum 2048 x 2048)

Since 2018, you can add video to your listing. Just like photos, videos can be uploaded to share through your listing to add variety and give you a competitive edge. Video is a great way to show people what you do and what to expect when choosing to do business with you, in an engaging format.

Google’s video requirements:
Duration - up to 30 seconds long
File size - up to 100MB
Resolution - 720p or higher

Publish custom posts

Just as you publish posts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. so can you post on Google My Business. Small posts (limited to 1500 characters which translates to about 250 words) including an image and a call-to-action button can be made to share things like promotional information, updates, announcements, etc. Posts essentially act as mini-ads for your business. There are several different categories for your post including “What’s New”, “Event”, “Offer”, and “Product”. GMB also offers a variety of call-to-action buttons to incorporate in your posts like, “Book”, “Order Online”, “Buy”, “Learn More”, “Sign Up”, and “Get Offer”. Posts automatically expire one week after posting but can be republished.

 

Once your post is created, it will show up in your GMB listing so that it can be viewed and shared by Google users. See the Pegasus Rental Cars example below.

Make use of the Questions & Answers feature

By enabling the Q&A feature on your GMB listing, you allow people to ask any questions they may have regarding your business. If you choose to have this feature activated, it is important to take the time to regularly monitor and answer any queries that are posted to your listing. It is also important to note that both you and other Google users can answer questions, so you will want to keep tabs on questions already answered as well to make sure the information provided is correct. To answer a question, navigate to your listing and opt to “See all questions (#)” under the Q&A section then select the question you wish to answer. Keep in mind the profile you have made the Google search under, as Google will include “Owner” in parentheses following the company name if you are using the Google account that is tied to your business account; this will let customers know that your business has personally responded to the query.

Respond to and encourage Reviews

Each business listing also gives customers the ability to post public reviews of your business. Operators should regularly read and reply to customer reviews. Replying to customers is strongly encouraged, as it demonstrates that you care about what they have to say and the experience they had with your business.

In a survey from research firm Dimensional Research, 90% of consumers who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive reviews influenced their decision to buy. In order to boost your review numbers, you should actively encourage customers to review your business; make it as easy as possible and provide them with the link. When reaching out to your customers, try and stagger your requests so that you have new reviews coming in periodically and not simultaneously. Keep in mind that having fresh reviews makes your business look even more credible.
Engaging with customers through reviews is an easy and valuable tool when communicating with former, current, and future customers that allows you to cultivate a relationship with your client base.

 

If you need any assistance regarding your Google My Business account, feel free to send us an email or call 03 474 1075


How to Create a Google My Business Listing

Every business that operates offline or online must have a Google My Business listing. Your first step in creating an account is to check that you don’t already have one as Google could have created one for your business already. If this is the case you will need to claim it. Search for your business name and if nothing appears on the right hand side, then you will need to create your account.

If it does appear with the words “Own this business?” you will need to click this link and claim your business.

 

Go to www.google.com/business to set your account - you will need a google account to move forward at this point. Follow their instructions but if you would like some more help, here is a video that walks you through the process:

To create a Google My Business page simply follow the instruction within this video. When you get to the end of setup and you haven’t validated your business using a mobile number, then you’ll need to request a postcard containing a code from Google.
When you get this code you can validate your business and finish updating your listing so that you can:
  • allow new customers to find you on Google Search and Maps
  • promote your business with photos and posts
  • track analytics
  • respond to customer reviews

Once you have set up your listing, you'll want to make sure it is fully optimised to ensure your business appears higher in local Search Engine Optimisation.


Introducing Our New Senior Graphic Designer

Introducing our new Senior Digital Designer Adeline Michon. Adeline has Visual Arts Degree and a Higher Certificate in Graphic Design, Publishing and Advertising from France. She has worked with clients such as L'arc National Theatre, L’Embarcadère Culture and Congress Centre, International Antarctic Centre and Natural Ozone.

Adeline designs with a holistic perspective, ensuring that there is a connection between her designs and the client’s brand story. She is excited about being able to tap into and learning more from the cross-disciplinary resources at Cre8ive.

When she’s not at Cre8ive, you will find her dressed in snow gear hitting the slopes or skydiving, or closer to home enjoying the theatre. We are so very ‘heureux' to have you at Cre8ive Adeline and the touch of ‘Frenchness’ you will bring to our agency and clients!

Some of Adeline's design work:

Adeline Michon Cre8ive Graphic Design Portfolio

Should You Upload Your Video to Facebook or YouTube?

The world’s largest social media marketing resource, Social Media Examiner® helps millions of businesses discover how to best use social media to connect with customers, drive traffic, generate awareness, and increase sales. They offer original and comprehensive articles, expert interviews, original research, and the news businesses need to improve their social media marketing.

They received a variety of feedback from their fan base - some were shocked and disappointed as they don’t view YouTube as a social platform. However, most applauded the move because they don't watch videos on Facebook. Instead, YouTube is their preferred place.

Founder Michael Stelzner likes to use this analogy “it’s kind of like putting a TV show on a highway and expecting people to watch it as they go zipping by. And Facebook is a highway"

The Results

They published the behind-the-scenes documentary called "The Journey" exclusively on YouTube. It's their ongoing story about how they market. Each show is about 7 minutes long and offers a peek into the real struggles and discoveries made by their marketing team.Their results showed that on YouTube, about 50% of the people who watch each episode actually make it to the end. That is exceptional compared to Facebook, which is almost always less than 1% for the exact same content.
The misleading part:
It "looks" like a lot more people are watching on Facebook because the view counts are deceptive. Facebook counts what's really a drive-by impression of 3 seconds as a view. On YouTube, a view is 30 seconds or more (although this has recently been changed to 10 seconds.)If you receive 5000 video views on Facebook and 1% make it to the end, that's 50 people. If you get 1000 views on YouTube and 50% make it to the end, that's 500. That's a 10x improvement and the Social Media Examiner team decided they would rather have 500 people make it to the end, not 50.

 

YouTube is where people prefer to watch videos that are longer than a few minutes. Here’s what a typical video’s retention looks like for Social Media Examiner on Facebook:

This pattern they witnessed over and over.

Despite the fact that Social Media Examiner has a significant fan base of 534,000 on Facebook and a small but growing one on YouTube (23,000), the data is clear. It's YouTube for the the long-form video content from now on for them.

Introducing Our New Intern

Maggie, born in Poland, grew up on her family farm with her four siblings until her parents decided to move to Florida in 2006. Since then, she has excelled in learning a second language and completed honours and AP/college-level classes, graduating in the top 10 percent of her class. Early in her move to the United States, she joined a junior rifle program where fell in love with competitive shooting and earning herself a Collegiate Scholarship.

 

maggie mical and her rifle
Maggie competed locally and nationally ranking in the top 18 at the Junior Olympic Championships catching the eyes of recruiting scouts. She was offered several university scholarships eventually choosing University of Nebraska where she succeded in becoming team captain for her last two years and led her team to place 3rd at a national championship in her junior year. At first her professional goal was to become a physical therapist but switched to advertising since she loved the creativity involved in campaigns. Maggie graduated as a double major in Advertising & Public Relations and in French. In her free time she volunteers at elementary schools as a mentor, coaches local teams and spends time with her family in Florida.

maggie and her local team
Maggie and her local junior shooting team.

Maggie enjoys exploring new places, having been to most of North America is starting her journey abroad with beautiful New Zealand, planning on hiking, rock climbing, sky diving and any other extreme sport she can find.


Five Key Tips on How to Optimise for Google’s ‘Local Pack’

Is your business in Google’s ‘Local Pack’? This refers to the top three listings showcased during a relevant search. Statistics show how valuable this position can be, with the first result receiving 33.55% clicks per search, the second 14.96% per search and finally 9.3% clicks per search. So how do you make it into the top three businesses showcased in Google’s Local Pack?

There are three different criteria to rank the listings and dictate who will appear in the Local Pack.
1.Relevance:how much does a local listing matches what someone is searching for?
2. Distance:how fair is each potential search results from the location term used in a search?
3. Prominence: how well-known is a business?

First of all, you MUST have a Google My Business listing. Complete all of the information fields and most importantly, verify it! This will give your business credibility. Here are the top five tips to optimise your Google My Business Listing to give your business the best chance of showing in the Local Pack.

1. Reviews
Focus on receiving positive reviews. Google highly values the amount of reviews a website gets, if they are positive, and if the company responds.

2. Online Directories
List your business on as many relevant, local directories as possible. The more citations you have on other websites and directories, the more prominent your business will become. Ensure your NAP details (name, address and phone number) are identical as this will create more credibility and weight behind your business in Google’s eyes.

3. Backlinks
Focus on earning local backlinks. Local Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) relies far more on local backlinks than usual SEO, so make a target of getting mentioned and linked in a particular number of other local websites relevant to your own. For example, if you were a cafe in Dunedin, it would be hugely advantageous for your SEO if you could have an inbound link on a Dunedin tourism website, or on the coffee supplier’s website that you use, so visitors will know you are a local stockist of a certain coffee or other product.

4. NAP Details
Make sure all pages of your website, your NAP details are identical to those entered in your Google My Business listing. To further increase your rating, embed a Google Map with a business marker into your landing page. These improvements to your website are important because Google’s new blended algorithm that it introduced in 2015, now takes into account your website’s SEO rating as well as your Google My Business listing.

5. Sync website and Google My Business description

Sync your Google My Business description and your website’s landing page so they both contain relevant keywords and NAP details/Google syncs all these details with the amount of reviews you have and the amount of citations/backlinks you have, and they will start working together to give your website a better chance of ranking higher.


Helpful Tips to get Your Organisation ready for GDPR

Have you heard of the European Union’s (EU) new privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)? It came into effect on 25 May 2018, and is known as “the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years”. While it is an EU law, it applies not only to EU-based entities, but also to any organisation worldwide (including those in New Zealand) that have personal data of EU citizens or residents, even if these residents are not living in the EU. The fine is hefty; up to $20 million euros or 4% of annual worldwide turnover (whichever is higher).

Now is a good time to review your marketing strategies that involve collecting, tracking or using your customers’ personal data. While we recommend you consult with a legal and/or privacy professional to understand the full scope of your obligations under the GDPR, here are some tips that might be helpful for fulfilling your compliance obligations.

Firstly, it’s important to understand what is meant by ‘Personal Data’.
Personal data is broadly defined in the GDPR as any information relating to a person who can be identified either directly or indirectly. These can range from from personal details such as name, address, financial, medical and location details to images and voice recordings. The Law Society of New Zealand provides a comprehensive list of all the forms of personal data included under GDPR.

What are the New GDPR Regulations?

There are multiple changes as to how a business can use personal data from now on. Three major changes that are most likely to affect New Zealand businesses are:
The customer now has to take clear, affirmation action to give consent for the use of their personal information. Inactivity does not constitute as consent.
The business must give a clear, specific explanation to the individual of what data will be collected and what it will be used for.
The data can only be collected for a specified, explicit and legitimate purpose and may not be used for any alternative purposes.

What Action Should You Take as a Business Owner?

Review these processes below to ensure they comply with GDPR requirements.

1. Update Sign Up or Subscriber Forms

Review consent with existing subscribers, and if it contained a pre-ticked box or any other form of non-action gaining of consent, run a “re-permission” email campaign to gain consent that complies with GDPR legislation.
Review your subscription forms for new subscribers and ensure they have to actively consent to the use of their personal information, such as an ‘opt-in’ box.
Ensure you have an easy “opt-out” option for users to withdraw their consent later on.

2. Update your Privacy Policy

Ensure you are transparent and clearly state what personal data you will be collecting and what purpose you will be using it for.
Explicitly state any third-parties that you will share user’s personal data with, such as analytics and payment processes.
Ensure the policy is written in simple language that is easy to understand to the user.
Explain the subscriber’s right to, at any time, submit a ‘User Access Request'. This means providing the user, free of charge, the following information: what personal information is being processed, why this information is being processed, who has access to it and how this information is being used.

3. Notify Existing Customers

Once you have updated your Privacy Policy, make sure you notify existing customers. See Creative Market’s email as an example:

How Will GDPR Affect Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

The posting of content and engaging fans will not be affected majorly by the new regulations, because it does not usually collect personal data from users who view or engage with it. However, there are still two things you should avoid doing:

  • Exporting or saving the contact details of your followers
    If you are sending traffic from your social media account to your website and using Google Analytics to analyse this, you will need consent to track visitor behaviour
  • Social advertising (or paid social media marketing) is a different story.

If you are running social media ads, and wish to use your customers’ data or track their behaviour, you must gain their legal consent to do so. This means having clear ‘opt-in’ option, which the customer must actively consent to. While most of this will be covered in the terms and conditions and privacy notices of the majority of social media platforms, it would be wise to check this and ensure you are gaining consent through their policies.

If you are using lead form ads, such as on Facebook, you will need to state what you are using the data for, how it will be processed and gain explicit consent again from the user. Facebook now allows you to add a custom disclaimer to your page, which you can use to include all the additional necessary information to comply with GDPR.


9 Top Tips on Pay-Per-Click Advertising

1. What is pay-per-click advertising?
Pay-per-click, or PPC, is one of the tools you can use to promote a business online, the most well-known is Google Adwords. It is a specific type of search engine marketing designed to drive traffic to your website. When certain keywords are entered into a search engine, your ad appears in the search results. You only pay when a user clicks on your ad.

2. Where do ads appear and what do they look like?
Search engines like Google and Bing allow businesses and individuals to buy listings in their search results (ads). They appear alongside, and increasing above the non-paid organic search results. The ads can have several different looks depending on which search engine you decide to advertise with.

3. What are the benefits of PPC ads?

  • Speed - PPC ads can be launched quickly, bringing in targeted traffic and leads to your website almost immediately.
  • Cost - You only pay when an ad is clicked. It’s easy to manage costs, track conversions, and determine your Return On Investment (ROI).
  • Reach - You can target specific target markets and bring in additional traffic to your website.
  • Control - You can modify your ads, try new search terms, pause campaigns and restart whenever.
  • It Can Be Very Effective - When set up correctly, it can really work! That is why many spend millions on paid search.

4. What sites offer PPC advertising?
Google AdWords is the most popular but there are others like Bing and Yahoo who also offer PPC advertising.

5. What are the components of a PPC ad?
Google Adwords PPC ad:

  • Headline 1 (30 characters).  Include keywords and use attention grabbing headlines.
  • Headline 2 (30 characters). More room to add to your headline or perhaps describe who you are targeting.
  • Description lines (80 characters).  Describe your product or service. It’s good to include a “call to action”
  • Display URL. Shows your website address.

Google also offers:

Sitelink Extensions
Link Text: 25 Characters
Description Line 1: 35 Characters
Description Line 2: 35 Characters

Callout Extensions
Callout Text: 25 Characters

Structured Snippets
Value 1, 2, 3…: 25 Characters

Bing PPC ad:

  • Ad title (60 characters).  Two 30-character ad titles separated by a hyphen
  • Ad text (80 characters). Highlighting the details of your product or service.
  • Display URL. Domain and subdomain automatically generated from your final URL plus two customisable URL paths.

6. How do you find the best keywords to use in an ad?
Keywords are very important. They may make or break your ad so you need to choose wisely. There are tools that help you to select the best keywords. Try the Keyword Tool or check out this list of keyword tools.

7. Keyword Match Types: What’s the difference between broad, phrase, exact and negative match?

  • Broad match. With this option, customers will see your ad if they enter searches that are “similar” to your keywords. Ads may show on searches that include misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant variations.
    - Example keyword: web design
    - Example search: hire web designer
  • Broad match modifier. Ads may show on searches that contain the modified term (or close variations, but not synonyms), in any order.
    - Example keyword: +web +design
    - Example search: design for web
  • Phrase match. Ads may show on searches that are a phrase, and close variations of that phrase.
    - Example keyword: "web design”
    - Example search: a great web design example
  • Exact match. With this option, customers will only see your ad if they enter the exact keyword, or keyword phrase that you selected.
    - Example keyword: [web design]
    - Example search: web design
  • Negative match. With this option, you can select keywords that you don’t want your ad associated with. If these words are entered into the search bar, your ad won’t show up.

8. How can I target my PPC ad?

  • Device. Choose which devices you want to target (phone, desktop or tablet).
  • Location. Target people within a certain geographical area.
  • Language. Select a specific language to target.

9. Where can I find more resources on PPC advertising?


Introducing Our New Designer

Johanna joins us with over 9 years of UX design expertise from agencies and in-house marketing teams in Australia, New Zealand and England. Her most recent role was the Senior Graphic Designer in a Brisbane Marketing Agency and is excited to have moved back to New Zealand and closer to family.

Johanna has taken on the challenge of her new role with enthusiasm and has already created some amazing design work for our clients. Her pro-active and quality-driven approach is evident in her work to date.

Her industry knowledge and creative flair will undoubtedly prove an invaluable addition to our team.