local marketing

How to name locations on Google, hint, use storefront name!

TL:DROur advice = Use your real life storefront name for locations on Google & Google my Business.

More details Lately we have noticed a few of our customers that give their locations and venues a custom name on Google that differs from the storefront sign. At first glance it could look like a good idea but we would advise against it. A commonly stated reason for using a custom name is a way to keep track of the individual locations. Another reason we hear from time to time is SEO purposes.

But beware, this is not something that flies well with the wary algorithms of Google. Their rules for naming your location and venues are clear. It should correspond with the name used on the storefront. So if your venues do not have individual names on their actual sign on the building it is advised not to use custom names in PinMeTo and subsequently on Google and Google my Business locations.

There is no automatic check that keeps track of this which means there may be no immediate repercussions, however if you use custom names you run the risk of being penalized on Google, something that might hurt you in search results and in return hurt actual business. Furthermore Google says it may decline Google my Business support if this policy is violated. Another way of thinking about it is that it is a way for your customer to find your venue and not a way for you to organize your locations.

Altogether we think it is a no brainer. If you as an administrator/owner of locations need to keep track of your venues you should do so with a method that does not require custom names. There are other ways, and if you need any help with it please do not hesitate to contact us support@pinmeto.com.

If you wish to read more Google has a Guideline page available here.

//Your friends at PinMeTo

 

 

 

Use Google Posts to display your message right in the search results!

In the end of July and beginning of August in Sweden lots of Swedes begin preparations for a traditional summer party called Kräftskiva. This is a celebration of summer that revolves around crayfish, silly hats, and schnapps. Imagine then the sort of value a company could gain by having items associated with Kräftskiva show up directly in their Google search results. What sort of impact would free shipping, discounts on decorations, or a sale on the crayfish themselves have on purchase intent? This thought process has nearly universal application. It could be applied to offers that are seasonal, regionally specific, weather dependent, or just about anything else. So how can you, as a business owner or marketing manager take advantage of this sort of purchase influencing visibility? The answer is Google's latest feature: Posts. Google, the go-to search engine for most consumers, continues to introduce new features and tools for businesses to make your search results attract customers. Setting up your company properly on Google and Google Maps means that more people will find you through direct and indirect searches and that the results will include all relevant contact information, branding, and images. Doing this correctly means that your company can dominate up to 42% of the total visible screen on desktop and laptop search results (see image below) and the entire screen on mobile (the search results will appear below your business, requiring the customer to scroll down). That's a pretty significant amount of space that can have a powerful impact on purchase decisions!

Google search results showing nearly half the screen occupied by Google My Business content for a single company

 

Google's latest offering is a post tool embedded directly in Google My Business. Google Posts allow you to leverage your verified Google My Business locations by adding custom content directly in the search results! At the moment you have to request access to Google Posts but the process is simple and can be found here. Once Google has approved your request, you will find the posting tool in your Google My Business account by clicking on "Manage Location" and navigating to the "Create Post" button shown below.

The post tools can be found in Google My Business under the "Manage Location" button.

 

The posting tool gives you a variety of options for your message including the ability to create an event or use a number of call to action options such as "buy now", "reserve", and "learn more" among others. It is even possible to add an offer for a product or service right in the search results. You can also upload an image and insert a URL to a product page, booking site, blog post, or web page. Once you have entered all of the relevant information you can click the preview button to see how the post will look once published.

Example post creation using a blog URL and the "Learn more" call to action option.

 

Three items to keep in mind when using Google posts:

  • Keep your post titles short (80 characters or less) to avoid awkward truncating of the title
  • Posts will be publicly displayed for only 7 days (This may change in the future)
  • Multiple posts may be displayed at the same time so long as they are both less than a week old

Screenshot showing recent posts displayed in Google search results for PinMeTo

 

Once posts are created and published, Google gives valuable insights into people's reactions to your posts in terms of views and engagement. Engagement in this case being button clicks for items such as "Learn more" or "Buy" or "Reserve". These insights are displayed on the post summary page at the bottom of each post.

You can read all about Google posts here. If you have any questions about Google Posts, Google My Business, or just location marketing in general don't hesitate to contact us at Hello@PinMeTo.com or just chat with us right from this page!

Do you really know how much foot traffic Google drives to your stores?

Do you know exactly how much foot traffic is being driven to your stores by Google? If you have one store the answer is probably yes. That’s because finding the information is as easy as going to your Google My Business account and looking at the Insights for your store and you’ll see requests for driving directions and Google Maps searches for the last 7, 30, or 90 days. Simple.

What happens however when you have 5 stores? 50? 500? Chances are that no one in your organization is sitting there loading page after page for each location and copy-pasting the data into a spreadsheet to get the answer. So if your company is a chain or franchise of any size then the likely answer is you really don’t know.

This poses a real problem. Without good data how can you calculate the value of Google for your business? How do you make informed decisions regarding priorities? Are you better off diverting funds and manpower from other tasks to clean up Google? Worse still, what trends are you not seeing that could give you valuable information about which marketing activities, sales, or communications strategies to use?

The missing piece - Company wide Insights

With the release of version 3.2 of Google’s Google My Business API it has finally become possible to see insights on a company wide basis by aggregating data from the individual locations as well as benchmarking the individual locations based on which perform better, and why! In addition, Google made it possible to gather up to 18 month’s worth of data, making long term trend analysis on a company wide or individual store level possible. What this means is that for the first time companies can see online to offline foot traffic without having to resort to a special campaign, offer, or other tracking solution.

PinMeTo has now released one of the world’s first company wide Google My Business Insights tools to their clients. These new insights coupled with our publishing and monitoring tools now give companies a clear view of historical totals, highest performing locations in terms of multiple factors, and trend analysis in the form of activity graphs. Now our clients can not only ensure that their customers always find the correct opening hours, address, or telephone number, they can see how many times those actions occur. Below is real world data for one of PinMeTo’s apparel clients showing the last 90 days of Google activity.

What is immediately startling about the data is the sheer volume. In this case there were 24.8 million Google Maps views of their 190 stores and 1.2 million requests for driving directions to stores in only 90 days! That’s over 1,450 Google Maps views for each location per day and 13,333 requests for driving directions every single day!

Trends - Using data to know where and when to engage

In addition to cumulative data, PinMeTo will soon offer trend graphs* showing data for direct and indirect search, request for phone number, request for driving directions, and Google Maps views with up to 18 months worth of historic data. These trend graphs give valuable insight into customer activity making the planning of marketing activities and even what sort of content there should be much more relevant and effective. Below are a series of examples of historical trends for various market segments that demonstrate exactly when customer activity spikes, allowing for robust and detailed analysis of customer behavior and planning of communications and marketing strategies.

See if you can decide which sort of company is represented below just looking at the data trends. The answers will be in the captions.

Everyone is aware of New Year’s resolutions and it's not uncommon for people to prioritize health as a goal and here is the evidence. It is also a strong indicator that late November / early December may be a great time to push ad campaigns at the local level because the searches are spiking for directions to local gyms.

Once again the data above clarifies value more than it reveals surprises. In this case a company could consider whether adding outdoor seating to more venues would be a worthwhile investment based on increases in summer foot traffic at venues that already have outdoor seating.

The data above supports the idea that customers on vacation are using mapping services to find a gas station brand that they trust. This could lead the brand to capitalize on customers visiting new locations with a check in campaign or a photo contest to take advantage of customers vacation pictures to drive organic views across social media.

The spikes in website visits and requests for driving directions ahead of major holidays could influence this home improvement chain to push offers and deals on social media as well as advertise locally since customers are searching for local stores.

Finally this grocery store can take historic data about spikes in customer activity ahead of major holidays to drive marketing activities at specific times to really take advantage of existing behavior. Holiday specials, flyers, social media campaigns, or other marketing ahead of these spikes could drive sales even higher.

*Trends are currently in a Beta stage

PinMeTo - Trust your data, understand your customers

For chains and multi location brands there has never been a better time to take ownership of your online presence and with PinMeTo and Google’s new API you can finally have control, monitoring, and insights for your entire company in one place. Finally you can know for certain how your company performs on Google as a whole and at the individual store level and feel confident that the branding and information that your customers find is correct and up to date. With more control and better insights at your fingertips the question is no longer can you afford to prioritize Google, but can you afford not to?  

 

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