The internet has increased competition for all retailers, including those with brick and mortar stores. More consumers are searching for local businesses online, and businesses with stronger online presences are capturing the attention of potential customers before their competitors. Using Google My Business to promote a local company online is a good start, and Google has introduced several updates in 2019 to make the service more useful to retailers. Last week, Google introduced some new changes that give retailers new options on Google My Business.

Introductory offers are an excellent way to attract your target audience. Giving a special discount to first-time customers gives them a reason to take the chance of trying something new. A good offer for first-time customers also encourages people to learn more about the business.

Among the updates to Google My Business from last week was the new ability for businesses to reward customers who follow their business on Google with welcome offers. Consumers have the option to "Follow" businesses to learn when they post new material. The latest update to Google My Business lets companies give special offers (e.g., 15% off coupon) for people when they follow a company for the first time. 

Google My Business is also adding new ways to customize profiles to make them more engaging. New options for cover photos were added, and certain companies will have their logo displayed more prominently. If you want to have your logo displayed on the top right-hand side of your profile, you need to have completed adding your core information to your profile. This update will encourage business owners to complete their Google My Business profile, so they have the best-looking profile.

Other additions include new options for shortened and vanity URLs for businesses. Business owners can now claim a short name and URL for their business, which will make it easier to refer people to their Google My Business profile in marketing materials and advertisements. Google is also making photos more prominent. Pictures uploaded by a business will appear instantly and prominently on a new dynamic module, so it'll be easier to give your new followers something to enjoy.

Google has already made significant modifications to Google My Business this year, but the company still plans on doing more. After announcing all of the features that went into effect last week, the company teased a plan that could give local businesses even more exposure.

Google ended their announcement by saying, “Finally, we want to recognize those businesses that consistently deliver a great experience for people. We’ll be highlighting the top five percent of businesses in a particular category with the “Local Favorite” designation. To help people easily find and engage with these businesses, we’re also creating digital and physical badges of honor.”

The new features added to Google My Business, and those on the way, will make the platform more useful to retailers and consumers. Businesses should make an effort to update their profiles and think of ways to use the newest options to promote their brand.

For more recent news about new features to online platforms that will help businesses, read this article on updates to Instagram that give companies more advertising options for branded content.