Tell me something…
When you need to find a local hair stylist, nail tech, or photographer, where do you go?
When you would like to discover a website designer or marketing agency near you, where do you start your search?
How about when you need to find a mechanic or local thrift store?
You check Google first, right?
So tell me something…
Why do you trust Google to find the answers you need but you don’t trust Google with your local creative business?
What’s up with that?
Here’s Why Your Local Creative Business Isn’t On Google
Well, here’s the truth.
In the world of digital marketing today, many young adults have become hyper-focused on social media.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if most millennials think that digital marketing only consists of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snpachat and Twitter.
But that’s NOT the case.
Social media is only one channel within digital marketing, in particular, internet marketing.
Digital marketing also includes non-internet channels like billboards, radio, TV, and SMS (aka texting) PLUS internet channels like email marketing, and mobile marketplaces (aka the Apple store and Google Play).
Basically, there are a ton of options.
However, the internet channel that is FREE and most easily missed is local Search Engine Optimization, also known as local SEO.
What Is Local SEO?
Thanks to personal experience within my career, here’s how I define it:
Local SEO is an affordable and effective way to market your local business online.
It’s a digital marketing channel that gives a local creative entrepreneur a competitive edge when connecting with potential customers.
Well here’s a secret.
When you conduct a search on Google, it provides results based on three things:
- Peer Feedback
Relevance – Google makes sure that the results you see actually answer your question, or provide the product/service you are looking for.
Distance – Google makes sure that the results you see actually are close to your location. After all, who wants to drive 30 minutes to get something if they’re able to get the same thing within a 5-minute drive?
Peer Feedback – Social media alone proves that we value what our fellow humans have to say about a topic so Google values the same type of feedback and uses it as a deciding factor for what’s at the top of your search results.
So, if you are a local creative entrepreneur, you have the chance to attract more customers purely based on your location!
Isn’t that great news??
So why in the world are you essentially leaving that money on the table because you want to grow your social media following to >10K?
“Bloom Where You’re Planted”
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Bloom where you’re planted?”
It’s normally used to emphasize the lesson that someone needs to be grateful for and should maximize the opportunities in their current situation.
I’d like to apply it to your creative business.
Water your home base.
Before you get caught up in the grandeur of social media influence, use the tools at your disposal to create a local portfolio of clientele.
And one of those tools you can use is a free Google My Business Listing.
What Is A Google My Business Listing? And How Will It Help Me Attract Clients?
Let’s handle one question at a time.
What Is A Google My Business Listing?
In Google’s own words, a Google My Business Listing is a “free Business Profile [that] lets you easily connect with customers across Google Search and Maps.”
It’s the informative box you see on the right of Google Search Results that looks like this:
And it’s also available in a shortened version called the Local Pack that you normally see when you conduct a Google search with the phrase “near me” right above the search results.
How It Will Help You Attract Clients
Besides the alluring factor that your local creative business can be placed at the top of search results for FREE, you also have the following Google My Business Listing features that will help you attract clients:
- You can share all your important business info here, which we call NAP – Name, Address, and Phone Number. If you have a physical location, it’s important to list the address so that a customer can find you based on your proximity to them. However, if you travel to your clients, you can enter a service area and still be discovered by potential clients based on a general location. For example, a nail salon (physical location) vs a photographer (most likely travels to clients).
- “You can post photos and offers to your profile to show what makes your business unique.” This is one of Google’s value propositions for Google My Business Listings. You can add your logo, special deals, etc! You literally have control and can use this tool as a part of your local creative business’ sales funnel.
- Potential customers can interact with you by calling, messaging, visiting your website or, if you have a physical location, getting directions! PLUS if you are a beauty or fitness creative, clients can even schedule appointments from your Google My Business Listing!! Say what??? Click here for a list of booking partners Google currently has available.
- Your customers can leave reviews! This goes a long way with getting you high ratings and is an organic way to create consumer advocates for your product/service.
- You get analytics! You are able to see what actions your potential customers are taking from this part of your sales funnel. Talk about engagement! It would be nice to see how people are choosing to interact with your local creative business.
Are you sold now?
Now, keep reading for the eligibility requirements you have to meet in order to use this tool.
Who Can Have A Google My Business Listing?
As with all things, there are boundaries and Google has some specific ones for their Google My Business Listing local SEO tool.
If you want, you can read the full requirements here but I’ve shared the short version below.
In order to have a Google My Business listing:
- You must have a brick and mortar (physical) location where you interact with customers in-person.
- You must make in-person contact with customers within specific service areas, OR
- You do both.
So to be clear, if you are a local fashion designer and you have a showroom, you can use this tool!
If you are a traveling make-up artist or hairstylist in your local area, you should use this tool!
If you are a web designer and you have an office that clients visit for consultations, you can use this tool!
Trust me, there is a long list of creative business categories that Google offers for Google My Business Listings but, the one thing you have to remember is that you are only eligible if you “either have a physical location that customers can visit, or that you travel to visit customers where they are.”
How to Create A Google My Business Listing For Your Local Creative Business
So, you’re eligible for a Google My Business Listing, how do you create one for your local creative business?
Surprisingly, it’s quite doable via a computer or phone!
Just go to Google’s support article below and follow the directions! Done!
Dear millennial, I know this is a digital marketing concept that’s out of your comfort zone.
But guess what, outside of your comfort zone is where the magic happens!
[bctt tweet=”Outside of your comfort zone is where the magic happens!” username=”baydiangirl”]
This local SEO tip will improve your online visibility! That’s a fact.
It’s not as instantly gratifying as seeing a ton of likes and followers BUT it’s a long-term success strategy for your local creative business.
Just imagine, you could be discovered this way for a movie set someday just like a dear fashion colleague of mine was a few years ago in Columbus, Ohio.
So will you give it a try?