Google has announced a new and exciting option for businesses to get more customers through the search engine.

“With 82% of people turning to search engines to find local information … your Google listing is the ideal place to showcase what is unique about your business,” Google said on its small business blog.

“Even when customers know exactly what they’re looking for, they still want to get to know the business and see what it has to offer. That’s why Google My Business is bringing Posts to local businesses — an easy way to help attract new customers and build relationships with the customers you already have.”

Until recently, Posts were only available to certain politicians, celebrities, and major companies. Now, all businesses can promote offers, events, and important news directly in Google search results.

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If you have multiple Posts, the newest ones will show first, and the older ones will show in a carousel. The first 100 characters of the Post show in the carousel, with the full content viewable, clickable, and shareable once a Post is selected.

Posts that are not events, expire after seven days, but will always be available to mobile users in the new Posts tab.

Here are three of the best ways to leverage Google Posts to get more customers:

1. Share an Offer

Google Posts are a great way to directly reach customers searching for you with special offers. Let’s say you want people searching for your business to find a 20% discount. This is now possible. All you have to do is go into your Google My Business dashboard, select “Create Post,” add a photo, details of the offer, and a link to the offer.

Offers and other regular Posts expire within seven days, so make sure you update your messages regularly. 

2. Share News

Another thing that’s so great about Posts is that they allow businesses to stay in touch with their customers on Google in real time. This is why posts, outside of events, expire after seven days. Timely information is key. You can now let customers and prospects know about new menu items, a change in hours, special achievements, or other exciting and important news. 

3. Promote an Event

Businesses can promote events by adding an event title, start date/time, and end date/time to their Posts. For restaurants, this may be a certain menu item that is available for a limited time (“The Big Fat Bacon Burger Event”). For automotive maintenance centers, you may be having sales event, where customers get a discount on their oil change service.

Whatever the event, it will be visible to every customer who searches for your business location, within the timeframe selected. Make sure you offer a link that allows customers to learn more about the event and reserve a spot, if tickets are required.

The buttons available to businesses (Learn More, Reserve, Sign Up, Buy, and Get Offer), are interchangeable, and offer great flexibility in terms of what type of landing page you will be sending your customers to.

There’s a Post for Everything

The options for what you can post, and the methods for posting, are extensive. They will go a long way to get you more customers on Google.

Need additional subscribers for your newsletter or email marketing? Use the Sign Up button to get new people on your list.

Have a new product you can sell online? Send your customers directly to it with the Buy button.

From an analytics end, Google makes it easy to see what kind of traction your Posts are getting. In the Google My Business dashboard you can see how many times a Post was viewed and clicked on. Compared to Google+, this is a major step up. Google+ only allows users to see if a post was liked (or +1’d).

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Better Visibility Equals More Customers

Business owners are often at the mercy of others when it comes to what shows up about their businesses and where. Google has offered them an exciting new way to take control of the content customers see; and being seen is absolutely crucial to success.

After all, according to Google:

“Seventy percent of people look at multiple businesses before making a final choice … With Posts, you can share timely, relevant updates right on Google Search and Maps to help your business stand out to potential customers. And by including custom calls-to-action directly on your business listing, you can choose how to connect with your customers.”

To get started, you will need to have a Google My Business account connected to your business locations. If you need help getting set up, or would like to discuss this feature further, Merchant Centric is here for you.