In our previous article on how to promote your retreat center using Google My Business, we covered the evolution of Google My Business, and how to create or claim your listing.

In this article, we’ll go through the ways you can use the service to inform and communicate   with prospective and existing customers to help build your brand and generate more business for your retreat venue.

Providing Useful Information about Your Retreat Center

Once you’ve created or claimed your Google My Business listing, the next step is to complete your profile.  Once you’ve signed in to your Google account, navigate to your Google My Business profile and verify or update your profile.  Click on the edit button located in the upper right hand corner of the screen to access your information.

You can edit the name, business category, street address, phone number, website address, and hours of operation, and add photos to your profile.

edit google my business listing


When editing your business address, be sure to check “No” for the statement “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their locations.  Checking “Yes” will limit your visibility in Google Maps results.

Google My Business Listing 2

Add Photos

It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Adding photos to your My Business listing allows you to speak volumes about your retreat center, so don’t skip this step.

In addition to your logo, a profile picture, and a cover image, you can also add photos of your facilities, staff members, or whatever best represents your retreat center and will entice prospective clients to click through to your website to learn more.

add photos to Google My Business listing

For more help editing your My business profile, check out this video:


Integration with Google+

According to an April 2015 Forbes article, the number of “truly active” Google+ users is less than 1% of Google’s 2.2 billion users, and 90% of people with Google+ profiles have never posted anything to them.  Last year, only 13% of small businesses in the U.S. were using Google+ as a social media platform to communicate with customers and prospects.

So, although Google+ doesn’t have the potential of many other social networks, like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, it does provide you with an opportunity to market your business in a space with very little competition.

Google My Business Reviews and Ratings

According to a 2014 survey conducted by BrightLocal, 88% of the 2,104 respondents said they preferred to read at least 10 customer reviews of a business before they felt comfortable contacting the business.  Seventy-two percent said that “positive reviews make them trust a local business more.”  And 88% said they “trust online customer reviews as much as personal recommendations.”

online reviews impact on trust

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in 2009 Google made an unsuccessful bid to purchase Yelp. In 2011 Google acquired Zagat to power its local reviews and ratings, which are prominently displayed in Google’s Map results.

These results frequently appear in a “3 Pack” near the top of Google’s organic search results for queries that contain a location – for example “retreat centers near Houston.”  As you can see in the image below, My Business listings, including customer ratings, appear above the organic results.

Google My Business results

So, in addition to building trust with your prospective customers, Google reviews also have an effect on your online visibility.  There is evidence that reviews have a direct impact on your website’s organic rankings.

In his December 2015 Search Engine Watch article entitled “The importance of user reviews for local SEO, Graham Charlton states, “if you want a prominent position in the local SERPs, you need user reviews. If you want to encourage clickthroughs, or physical visits, you need good reviews.”  And user reviews account for 8.4% of Moz’s most recent ranking signal pie chart:

Moz local rankings factors pie chart

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 Managing Your Google Reviews

Google reviews can be managed from your My Business console, and you should always post responses to every review, good or bad.

Manage Google Reviews

While posting a quick “thank you” for good reviews is easy, responding to negative reviews can be a little trickier.  If possible, contact the person who left the bad review and try to resolve their complaint offline.  Here’s an example of a situation in which this approach worked:

resolved Google complaint

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If you’re unable to resolve a disgruntled customer’s issue, it’s best to post a response in which you acknowledge their concerns.  Google offers these tips when responding to reviews:

  • Be nice and don’t get personal. This isn’t just a guideline—it’s also a good idea as a business owner. It’s difficult to win an argument with a frustrated customer, and you want to avoid burning bridges. Keep your responses useful, readable, and courteous. In addition, responses should comply with our local content policy.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Users are looking for useful and genuine responses, but they can easily be overwhelmed by a long response.
  • Thank your reviewers. Respond to happy reviewers when you have new or relevant information to share. You don’t need to thank every reviewer publicly, since each response reaches lots of customers.
  • Be a friend, not a salesperson. Your reviewers are already customers, so there’s no need to offer incentives or advertisements. Tell reviewers something new about your business, or share something they might not have learned from their first visit.

Did you find this article helpful?  Do you have other tips or advice on how to use Google My Business to promote your retreat center?  Please post a comment to share your thoughts with us.



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