Imagine driving around a new neighborhood, looking for a place to have lunch. Without a clear destination in mind, you reach for your smartphone and type “restaurants near me” into Google. The results, a selection of nearby eateries, are displayed in a convenient map view with ratings, photos, and hours of operation. This handy feature is a product of Google Business Profile, formerly known as Google My Business.
Just as that restaurant’s Google Business Profile helps guide hungry customers to its doorstep, a well-optimized profile can lead potential homebuyers or sellers right to your real estate business. It’s akin to installing a bright, attractive signpost in the digital neighborhood of your local market.
1. Laying the Foundation: Creating Your Google Business Profile
Like any property development, the first step to building your online presence is to lay a solid foundation. For us, that’s your Google Business Profile. Here’s how to claim and verify your real estate business:
Step 1: Sign into the Google Account you want associated with your business (or create a Google Account if you don’t have one).
Step 2: Visit Google’s Business Profile Manager and select ‘Manage Now’.
Step 3: Enter your business name. If it doesn’t appear in the dropdown menu, select ‘Add your business to Google’.
Step 4: Select the appropriate category for your business. As a real estate professional, you might fall under ‘Real Estate Agents’, ‘Real Estate Consultant’, or ‘Real Estate Agency’, depending on the nature of your business.
Step 5: Add your business address. If you work from home or don’t want your address displayed, you can choose to hide it and instead define the geographic areas you serve.
Step 6: Input your contact details, including your business phone number and website URL.
Step 7: Choose a verification option. You can verify by mail, phone, email, or instant verification if you’ve already verified your business’s website with Google Search Console.
Remember, it’s crucial to enter accurate and consistent information during this process. Any discrepancies between your Google Business Profile and your website can confuse potential leads and negatively impact your local SEO.
2. Designing Your Storefront: Updating Business Information
Once your Google Business Profile is created and verified, it’s time to optimize it. Like arranging a window display or staging a home for sale, this step is all about presenting your business in the best possible light. Here’s how to perfect your business information:
Step 1: Log into your Google Business Profile. From the dashboard, choose ‘Info’ on the left-hand menu.
Step 2: Here, you can edit all the information you entered when creating your profile. Keep your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) consistent with your website and other online listings for the best SEO results.
Step 3: Update your office hours so leads know when they can reach you.
Step 4: Add your website URL, if you haven’t already. If you offer different services (like buyer representation, seller representation, property management, etc.), consider using Google’s ‘Appointment links’ feature to direct users to specific pages on your site.
Step 5: Craft a compelling business description in the ‘From the business’ section. Google allows for a 750-character description, so use this space wisely. Describe what you do, who you serve, and what sets you apart from other real estate professionals. Aim to incorporate your targeted keywords naturally into your description for better SEO.
By carefully crafting and maintaining your business information on Google, you create a solid online foundation that can help lead potential clients right to your digital doorstep. It’s like ensuring your property’s exterior is in perfect condition – it draws people in and makes them want to learn more.
3. Open House: Adding Photos and Virtual Tours
Just as a well-executed open house can generate interest in a property, adding photos and virtual tours to your Google Business Profile can engage potential clients. This is your chance to give them a sneak peek into your business and what you have to offer.
Step 1: From the main dashboard of your Google Business Profile, click ‘Photos’ on the left-hand menu.
Step 2: Choose the type of photo you want to add – Profile, Logo, or Cover. Your Profile Photo is what users see when you post responses to reviews, your Logo helps customers identify your brand, and the Cover Photo showcases your brand’s personality.
Step 3: Click ‘Upload Photos’ to add images from your computer. Ensure the photos are high-quality, as blurry or low-res images can negatively impact potential leads’ perception of your business.
Step 4: Consider adding other types of photos that showcase your real estate business. This could include pictures of your team, your office, or a successful open house event.
Step 5: Adding a 360-degree virtual tour can help potential clients feel more connected to your business. You’ll need to work with a Google-certified photographer or agency for this, so consider if it’s a worthy investment for your business.
Remember, visuals are a powerful marketing tool in real estate, and your Google Business Profile is no exception. You wouldn’t list a home without images, so apply the same principle to your online presence.
4. Customer Testimonials: Gathering Reviews
Like a seller’s disclosure statement that provides valuable insights to potential buyers, customer testimonials on your Google Business Profile give potential clients a sense of what they can expect when they choose you as their real estate agent.
Step 1: Ask your happy clients to leave a review on Google. The best time to ask is right after a successful transaction when their positive experience is still fresh in their minds.
Step 2: Make it easy for your clients to leave a review. Share a link to your Google Business Profile, and provide brief instructions on how to leave a review.
Step 3: Monitor your reviews regularly. You can do this by logging into your Google Business Profile and clicking ‘Reviews’ on the left-hand menu.
Step 4: Respond to all reviews, both positive and negative, in a timely and professional manner. Thanking clients for their positive reviews shows appreciation, while addressing any issues raised in negative reviews shows you’re proactive and committed to excellent customer service.
Step 5: Showcase your best reviews on your website and social media. This can help bolster your online reputation and attract more leads.
Like in real estate, online reviews build trust, and trust builds clients. Make the process of gathering and responding to reviews a regular part of your business operations to make the most of this powerful marketing tool.
5. Engaging with Visitors: Responding to Reviews and Questions
Like a conversation at a property viewing, engaging with visitors on your Google Business Profile can turn casual browsers into interested leads. Answering questions and responding to reviews can help potential clients feel heard and valued, fostering trust in your real estate services.
Step 1: To see reviews and questions, navigate to your Google Business Profile dashboard and select ‘Reviews’ or ‘Q&A’ from the left-hand menu.
Step 2: For reviews, respond to each one individually, whether they’re positive or negative. Start by thanking the reviewer for their feedback. For negative reviews, acknowledge the problem, apologize if necessary, and offer to discuss the issue further offline.
Step 3: For the ‘Q&A’ section, monitor regularly for new questions. Respond promptly and professionally. If a question is asked repeatedly, consider adding the answer to your ‘Business Description’ or ‘Posts’ to make the information readily available for future visitors.
Step 4: Encourage happy clients to engage with your Google Business Profile. The more positive interactions, the more attractive your profile becomes to potential leads.
Remember, engaging with visitors is like hosting a successful open house – it’s all about the connection you build, showing visitors that their needs and concerns matter to you.
6. Keeping the Buzz Alive: Regular Updates and Posts
Just like you’d keep potential buyers informed about price changes or upcoming open house events, regular updates and posts on your Google Business Profile can keep your audience engaged and informed.
Step 1: From the Google Business Profile dashboard, select ‘Posts’ on the left-hand menu.
Step 2: Click ‘Create Post’. You’ll be presented with several post types, including ‘What’s New’, ‘Event’, and ‘Offer’. Choose the one that best suits the content of your post.
Step 3: Add the relevant details for your post. This could be a short update about your real estate services, information about an upcoming open house, or a special offer for first-time home buyers.
Step 4: Add an engaging, high-quality photo to your post to catch users’ eyes.
Step 5: Keep your posts updated regularly. Google Posts expire after 7 days, so consider this a weekly task.
Step 6: Monitor the engagement of your posts. By tracking views and clicks, you can understand what type of content resonates most with your audience.
Like keeping a property listing up-to-date, regularly updating your Google Business Profile with fresh, relevant content can keep potential leads interested and engaged, helping to drive conversions for your real estate business.
Conclusion: Reaping the Benefits
Just like a well-located, eye-catching property is more likely to attract potential buyers, a well-optimized Google Business Profile is more likely to attract potential leads. Investing time into optimizing your profile is a crucial part of your online marketing strategy. As a real estate professional, understanding this digital tool can give you an edge in the competitive real estate market.
At ThriveByWeb, we specialize in optimizing Google Business Profiles for real estate businesses, so you can maximize your online visibility and lead conversion. Let us help you set up your digital signpost in the vast neighborhood of the internet!