google posts

How To Use Google Posts To Market a Local Business

Google Posts are one of the most underutilized features of GMB profiles. Yet if they're used correctly, they can do a lot to help you bring in new business. Read More...
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Google Posts are one of the most underutilized features of GMB profiles. Yet if they're used correctly, they can do a lot to help you bring in new business.

Why do they work?

1. They make your GMB profile more visually interesting, which makes people far more likely to click on it.

2. They meet Google's freshness goals, which means your GMB profile gets a boost in rankings.

3. They provide customers with more information about the benefits of doing business with your company.

Not everyone gets great results, but not everyone is doing it right. Here's the breakdown on how to get the best results from Google Posts.

Google post the right kind of content

Blog posts and social-media style posts perform very poorly on GMB, so steer clear of those. I think it's possible they could do well, but most people have their content strategy backwards anyway. Don't create the kinds of things anyone would want to spend even 5 minutes reading.

But that's a rant for another day.

Today, let's talk about what has been proven to work. Businesses and the marketing companies that serve them consistently report good results when they focus on seven types of content:

  • Promotions, sales, and/or coupons
  • Showcasing products, especially new products
  • Advertising events
  • Answering individual frequently asked questions
  • Highlighting reviews
  • Videos
  • Sharing recent news

One more point to keep in mind: while social media demands that you be a good citizen, gamely posting and sharing other people's stuff, Google Posts are a different animal. They are one of the places where it is absolutely okay, even necessary, to talk about things your business is doing, and only things your business is doing.

"The ultimate goal is to drive more awareness of the product categories they [customers] have, and to increase organic web traffic," says Jason Martinez, the Marketing Coordinator at Redefine Marketing Group. Martinez reports consistent use of Google Posts has led to a steady increase in his client's local search rankings.

Caveat #1: The right kind of Google Post content changes depending on the type of business you're running.

Businesses with some sort of physical product to sell that have some visual interest definitely have an edge on Google Posts. Housing or lodging rentals of any kind, restaurants or delis (people love food porn), retail stores, and vacation destinations definitely have a broader base of material to choose from.

Does that mean you are S.O.L. if you happen to be running a service business?

Not necessarily. You just need to focus on the other types of content on the list, or get creative. For example, in a recent Q&A interview, Cori Graft made mention of seeing results when healthcare providers use the space to post patient stories.

Caveat #2: Repurpose where you can

Chances are, you're already creating a bunch of content that would be suitable for Google Posts. You're just doing it in other formats. You can speed up your process by repurposing suitable Facebook or Instagram posts to work with the Google Post format.

Pay attention to pictures and copy

Posts won't perform well if they don't look amazing. Do not use stock photos. Take photos of your own business, customer, or products.

Don't forget the Google My Business free marketing kit. It lets you create visual, branded posts which are perfect for Google Posts. They can give some of your announcements, featured reviews, and the like some visual "pop" they might not otherwise have, which can make them way more successful.

As for copy, use the principles of good copywriting to your advantage:

  • A strong headline that immediately conveys what’s in it for the customer.
  • A call to action, so the reader’s “doing brain” switches on and they perform whatever action you were hoping they would perform.
  • A body that either includes a clear statement of benefit or a piece of extra relevant information.

Character limits turn traditional copywriting rules on their head: the order must be Headline, CTA, explanation, because you might only see a portion of that third sentence. Communicate right away what's going on and what you should do, and then let your body be even a little more enticing insofar as it's possible. If you need that room for your CTA, use it.

A/B testing different formats, headline types, and CTAs can help you determine what works and what doesn't.

Here are some great examples of posts with good pictures, headlines, and post varieties from Dallas wedding planner, Chancy Charm.

chancy charm google post example 4
chancy charm google post example 2
chancy charm google post example 1
chancy charm google post example 3

Mix your Google Posts up

See how Chancy Charm has different types of content in their posts? You'll get better results if you use several different types of posts, too. If you just posted one product photo, maybe post a featured review. If you've just posted a featured review, maybe post an offer.

Different posts appeal to different types of people. If you're only using one of them, you're leaving an awful lot of business on the table.

Mixing it up also helps to make your GMB profile more lively and interesting.

Be consistent with your posting frequency

Posts are gone after just 7 days. A few one-offs won't help you get the results you want. Figure out a posting schedule, and stick to it.

This isn't because an individual person is going to come back to your maps listing again and again to see what you've been posting lately. That's highly unlikely. It is because:

1. If you don't have a schedule, you'll go days without posts and miss out on the cumulative results and momentum of having them at all.

2. If you don't have a schedule, you won't have a strategic way to vary up your content, and you'll miss out on appealing to a wide variety of people.

3. Google still loves it when businesses keep things fresh, and there's no easier way to keep your listing fresh.

Don't have time or energy to run back and post something every morning? Well, who the heck does? Fortunately there are already some scheduling tools, like dbaPlatform, that are specifically for GMB posts. Schedule one day each month to load up for the next 30 days, then go about your business.

Use UTM tracking on your Google Posts so you can attribute traffic to each campaign

Google does not offer a direct tool for tracking clicks on your Google Posts. In fact, this happened to be a frustration I got quite often when reaching out to various business owners.

You can track the results. You just have to take the extra step of generating a UTM URL for each link so you can see where the traffic is coming from. If you don't, you'll only be able to look for upticks in your rankings, or phone calls, to make some vague guesses about whether the posts are working for you. And you'll lose your ability to A/B test or otherwise optimize the content you're posting.

Claire Carlile has put together a wonderful step by step tutorial for adding UTM parameters to Google Posts.

You can use a free UTM builder like the one Google provides.

Free Google UTM Campaign Builder

Here's what happens if you use Google Posts right

Your mileage may vary, but here are some of the numbers I got back when I asked around:

Jacob Landis-Eigsti, owner of a video production company in Denver:

"I saw a 20% increase in the number of visitors to my Google My Business page, website clicks, and leads."

Barb McGrath, owner of Above the Fold, a marketing agency in Regina, Saskatoon:

"We have seen a direct correlation between businesses that consistently post on Google and rankings improvements in their local pack placement. So, we tell our business owners, based on experience, to expect up to a 30% increase in rankings per month, slowing as they get closer to the top. We've also seen listing actions increase by 10% a month, which typically leads to increased sales and store visits."

Diane Hansen, Senior Copywriter and Marketing Strategy at Cougar Digital:

"We've found clients get a good number of clicks from the posts and other GMB information. As an example of click throughs from posts, one client has received 72 clicks in just one week."

You get the idea. While your mileage may vary, there's enough data to support the idea that building a GMB strategy is a good call for most local businesses.

Here's a bonus reason—sad but true—a lot of people who visit your GMB profile will never find their way onto your webpage. They will either make the decision to call or move on based on that page alone. And while nobody is thrilled that Google is taking so much traffic away from business owners, you can't beat them, either. All you can do is join them by making good use of the tools they give you.

About the Author

Raney C. Hudson

Raney C. Hudson is an independent content consultant with a 10+ year track record in the digital marketing industry.