Chances are when you’re looking for a new salon, the first thing you do is a Google search. The first thing you see? Business listings. How many of you click through to a business that doesn’t have images? Or has incomplete information? Has no reviews, or bad reviews? Doesn’t have a website listed? And yet, these sorts of mistakes are incredibly common with online business listings, particularly salons, whose owners and employees don’t have the time or knowledge to adequately set up their Google My Business listing. Or they don’t have the money to hire someone to do it.
Forbes magazine says “Google My Business has always been important because it’s often the first thing your customers notice when they search for your business. … GMB has Google Maps integration, which makes it easier to find your business on the world’s most widely used mobile map and directions app.”
Kitomba Salon and Spa Software points out that not only are they the top things to show up in Google searches of business but they are also FREE to set up, which means there’s no reason you shouldn’t be doing this and doing it right by now. “Google My Business is Google’s free business listing service for local businesses. Google My Business listings are the businesses that show up at the top of Google search result alongside the map. For example, if you searched for ‘salons near me’ in Google, a map with local salon businesses would show up near the top of your search results.”
Are you invisible online?
Kate Christopher Head of Marketing for Podium Australia says “It’s a free and easy-to-use additional “shopfront” for your business, so if you’re not using it you’re missing out. We asked Christopher all about GMB and how salons can get it right, without having to spend money on an expert to do so. Read on and learn why it’s so important and how to DIY it.
Most importantly, says Christopher, if you don’t have a Google My Business Page you are as good as invisible online, which is a death sentence to most businesses nowadays. “If you don’t have a Google My Business Page, you are simply not being found online. Even if you think you can rely on foot traffic, keep in mind 28% of Australian consumers admit to looking up a business’ online reviews while standing right outside. If you’re not showing up, they may not come in.”
Why salons are lagging behind with Google My Business
And the experts have noticed that salons aren’t particularly diligent when it comes to setting up their pages. Christopher says that often salons think it doesn’t matter if they have a full book of regulars, She even if salons think they don’t need to rely on the internet to get new clients, “A lot of salon owners don’t realise how much their customers rely on search results. Even your regular customers will use Google if they want to check your phone number or your opening hours.”
What you need to do
When asked what the single most important thing a beauty salon could do on Google My Business is, she says there are three things you need to do asap if you aren’t doing them already. “You should add your website immediately, for professionalism. Adding a good description is the next point, and a contact method for new clients to reach you. One thing many salon owners forget is photos. Photos are a huge benefit and add legitimacy and warmth. Finally, make sure you have a strategy to drive Google reviews. Not only does this help you look great, it can also impact your ranking in search results.”
Where and how to do it
If you don’t already have Google My Business page that simply needs updating, getting started is as simple as setting up a free Google Business account, read Google’s tips about optimising your listing online or even book an appointment with a Google small business advisor who can walk you through things.
Christopher also notes to “Make sure you have your business address ready for the Google Postcard to verify the business. Then, be ready with your website, contact information, description and pictures to add.”
The single biggest mistake small businesses make on Google My Business
After not using it in the first place, that is. The biggest mistake she sees beauty salons making on Google My Business? “Letting bad reviews go unanswered. If you receive a negative review, make sure you’ve offered a timely, thoughtful response.” (Podium has a four-step guide to responding to negative reviews, but common sense says respond as quickly as possible and acknowledge the complaint in a calm way).
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