Of course it helps your local search rankings when you build a complete profile within Google Places, but it’s also important to consider how your profile convinces people to either pick up the phone and call for an insurance quote or actually make a trip to your agency to buy a policy.
There are many things you can do to make sure that visitors to your Google Places profile will soon become customers. Here’s 10 of my favorites:
#1 – Upload A Video Customer Testimonial
Every agency has at least a few insureds that are very fond of the service and willing to speak about it on video. Don’t worry about the quality, in fact the less professional the appearance, the more genuine it will seem. Use your digital camera, iPhone, or get one of those cheap flip cams and get your customers to say a few words.
Don’t just put them in front of the camera and ask them to talk. Ask questions with answers that would be appealing to someone searching for insurance and unfamiliar with your agency. Think of objections people might have with doing business with you and then ask your reviewer to answer questions that resolve those objections.
If you can, get a whole bunch of testimonials on video. Google will let you upload up to 5 to your profile. Try to get a diverse bunch since people are most influenced by others similar to them in age, gender, nationality etc.
#2 – Make Your First Uploaded Picture Great.
The first picture you upload to your profile may actually display right in the search results. Here’s an example for a search for pizza shops:
Choose a picture that will really make people want to click on your agency name. If your agency has a striking outdoor appearance, use a picture of the storefront. You can also use the agency logo. You can’t usually go wrong with pictures of people, and if they look attractive in the little picture, searchers might click just to see the larger version (yes, I’ve done this).
Google makes this picture 85 pixels wide by 60 pixels high so you should try to upload a picture that has the same ratio otherwise your image won’t look as good. (See third from the top in the image above)
#3 – Add Coupons
Yes, Google Places profiles offer you the ability to give visitors to your Places profile a special coupon. Although it’s questionable whether adding coupons to your Google Places profile will have any positive effect on your rankings, you never know when it just might influence someone to become your customer.
Here’s the catch. Google has become pretty picky about these coupons over the years. Where agents used to get away with “free quote” as a coupon it’s not working anymore. If you can’t offer a legitimate offer that is a price reduction for a product below the normal cost you might just be better off ignoring this one.
#4 – Upload a Funny Video
If you can make me laugh, I’m more likely to do business with you. Show your customers that you don’t just deliver a high quality product with great service, you’re also fun to do business with. If you don’t feel like creating something funny yourself, try to find something on YouTube related to your business. If you’re a franchise business, use commercials from the main company.
#5 – Use a Local Phone Number and Physical Address
I strongly suspect that having a local phone number and physical address (vs. an 800 number or PO Box) will help your listing rank higher in the search results but that’s not the only value. When potential customers see your phone number, they will feel more comfortable dialing a local number than an 800 number. The physical address will have the same affect.
#6 – Upload a Variety of Pictures That Sell
At the time of this writing, Google will allow businesses to upload up to 10 photos. I recommend you take full advantage of this. Upload pictures of your logo, your storefront, your top selling lines of insurance, your smiling producers and support staff, and your happy customers. I strongly encourage pictures with lots of customers from a diverse background because it makes you look like a busy business and adds social proof to anyone trying to decide whether to do business with you.
#7 – List Accreditations and Awards in the Additional Details
As part of your profile, Google allows you to add additional details you may think are relevant to people researching your business. Here’s what the form looks like:
Depending on your business, I’m sure you could come up with lots of interesting additional details to include.
#8 – Put A Call To Action In Your Business Description
Google only allows you 200 characters to describe your business so choose them wisely. In addition to using lots of keywords people are searching for, I recommend some type of call to action within the description. Here’s an example:
We have the cheapest rates for any type of insurance, Don’t take our word for it, go to our site and see!
#9 – Encourage Positive Reviews
Okay, so this one takes a bit of work and it’s not something you actually do yourself, but its huge for making your Google Places profile convert. If you don’t ask for reviews, people are not going to give them. So ask for them. Train your employees to ask for reviews, ask for reviews on your interior signage, ask for reviews on your customer paperwork.
#10 – Upload a Video From the Agent/Owner
It’s very important to put a face on your Google Profile. People want to do business with other people right? When viewers of your Google Profile get a chance to meet the owner, they’ll see it is someone they trust and will look at your business in a much more personal way.
This doesn’t have to be a really professional video, and in some cases the more amateur it looks the more genuine it will appear. Talk about your business philosophy, years in insurance, pride of service, quality etc.
Do you have other suggestions for Google Profile customization that sells? Questions about what I’ve written. I’d absolutely love to hear any feedback.