Get Visible

  • Google My Business: What on earth is it and why should you use it?

    Google My Business – what on earth is it and why should you use it? Good question. In the busy world of running a small business, it might just feel like yet another thing you’re ‘supposed’ to do rather than something that will truly benefit you. 

    But it’s not. It’s actually a fantastic way of getting more eyes on your business and boosting your ranking on the world’s biggest search engine. And the best bit? It’s totally free and you can quite often get instant verification. Winner.

    What is Google My Business?

    We’ve all been there. It’s Friday night and you’re exhausted from a busy week of running your business There’s a pile of washing staring at you from the corner of the bedroom and your youngest is nagging you about their homework – making a replica WW2 bomb shelter out of biscuits. 

    The thought of cooking dinner is about as appealing as a wisdom tooth extraction. 

    You pick up your phone and you type into Google ‘takeaway pizza near me’ all while trying not to dribble onto the screen. Bingo! You’ve just used Google My Business (GMB). 

    Google is the world’s most popular search engine – with 75% of the market share. Out of the 5.6 billion daily searches, a large percentage have local intent. People want to shop and buy locally. Which is great news for you…but you have to be easy to find.

    And that’s where Google My Business comes in, swooping in to make your business more visible than ever before. 

    It’s a free service designed to help local businesses get online and enables you to manage how your business appears across Google and make it stand out. But from conversations we’ve had here at JCTS, it’s widely underused. 

    So here are some of the reasons why you should consider using Google My Business, in the hope it will entice you to create your GMB profile and start reaping the benefits.

    Why you should use Google My Business 

    In order for more people to know about your business, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to find you. A GMB profile will make that happen. But that’s just the beginning. Try on a few of these other benefits for size.

    1. Google Maps and Local Pack Listings 

    Remember the last time you went out of town for a fun family day out? Chances are you relied on Google Maps to help you find somewhere to eat or stay. Up pop local restaurants, hotels, doctors and other places of interest, all identifiable by that little pin in the map. 

    One of the best bits about being one of those pins on Google Maps – also called a Local Pack Listing – is being at the top of the search page, therefore highly visible. Not only is your business highlighted, it also gives people additional information about you – e.g. contact information, opening hours and website etc. 

    You can only get to be a funky little pin if you have a Google My Business profile. And who doesn’t want to be a funky little pin at some point in their life?

    1. People can leave reviews 

    We all know why reviews matter – that know, like and trust factor that’s so important when asking people to buy from you. As many as 93% of people are influenced by reviews as they know they’re legitimate – i.e. they’re mostly made by real people with real experiences of your product or service.

    If you’re anything like the team here at JCTS, we’re always reading reviews for all sorts of things – mainly notebooks and the best type of pen, but then we’re kinda quirky that way. 

    But it’s not all about people loving your business. Research by Moz shows that online reviews make up a whopping 10% of how search results are ranked. That might not sound like much but in the world of SEO, it’s pretty mega. And in terms of local SEO, it’s even better.

    Google My Business: What on earth is it and why should you use it
    1. Google My Business Insights

    If you’re a bit geeky like us, you’ll enjoy looking at the data behind your business. And if you’re not, you could be missing a trick, but that’s another blog post. Google My Business aims to help the small business owner by providing key analytics for you to track in order to help you grow, and learn what your customers really want.

    Here are the main ones:

    • Views – of your GMB profile so you know the effectiveness of your campaigns
    • Search queries – you’ll know specific keywords people are using when searching for your type of business. This will help you stay relevant.
    • Engagement – how are people interacting with your GMB profile? Which posts are they sharing? Which are people commenting on?
    • Audience demographics – including age/gender/location, so you know if they’re the right type of audience for you
    • Website clicks – how many people are taking action and actually clicking your website link? You can then marry this up with Google Analytics on your website and see where they’re going next. 

    So there you have it, Google My Business in all its glory. As you can see, it can really help with your overall business strategy and provide you with a simple (and FREE) way of making your business as visible to as many of the right people as possible. 

    If you’d like some support with setting up your Google My Business profile, why not get in touch? We’ll get our full geek on and help you in the best way possible. 


  • Getting started on LinkedIn as a small business owner

    Getting started on LinkedIn as a small business owner

    Getting started on LinkedIn as a small business owner can feel a little daunting. After all, it’s not got that cuddly vibe of Instagram or the opinionated, soap-box feel of Twitter. Is it worth investing your time in yet another social media channel? 

    Well, first and foremost LinkedIn isn’t a social media channel – it’s easy to think it is, but it likes to call itself a ‘professional network on the internet’ – maybe even stretching to a ‘social network’ but then you might be expecting Justin Timberlake to make an appearance and you’d be sorely disappointed. 

    The great thing about LinkedIn being a little different is there’s no algorithm to try and negotiate. You’re not jumping through the usual hoops in order to get noticed. It’s just a great way to connect with other like-minded people and grow your network of contacts – which often leads to enquiries and leads along the way. 

    In this post, you’ll learn a few easy steps to get started on LinkedIn so you’re no longer facing the overwhelm of where to even begin.

    What is LinkedIn?

    What is LinkedIn?

    Essentially LinkedIn is a marketing tool – to help you promote yourself and your business to a wider network of business-to-business (B2B) professionals. Now, this can seem quite daunting, especially if you’re just starting out on your self-employed journey and you thought B2B was a Star Wars character.

    After all, a whole new platform means you’re probably not quite sure who’ll be reading about you or your product/service; maybe it feels outside your ‘safe and established network.’

    You may have also heard that LinkedIn is a serious place, for serious people – no sharing funny GIFS or last night’s dinner on your feed unless you wish to be cast out as an imposter, albeit one wearing a business suit and kitten heels to try and fit in around the metaphorical water cooler.  

    But LinkedIn has moved on from the stuffy, boardroom type feel it had a few years ago. It’s actually a fantastic platform to be part of and can provide many benefits for small business owners like you. But before we delve into exactly what you need to have on your LinkedIn profile to gain these benefits, let’s turn the clock back to those heady days at the start of your business journey and get intentional about your LinkedIn usage.

    Your LinkedIn account and your business goals

    Your LinkedIn account and your business goals

    Now we’ve travelled back in time, let’s settle in, shall we? It’s time to get a little honest with yourself. Why did you start your business? What did you want to achieve? What were your goals? 

    If you can’t remember, take a look at your business plan and remind yourself. No doubt it was because you had a great idea or you were filling a gap in the marketplace. Maybe the lure of being your own boss was terribly tempting and you were keen to be as successful and profitable as possible. 

    You probably created your LinkedIn account at the point of starting out – one of those ‘must dos’ you were given by a well-meaning biz buddy to help get yourself established. Equally, you may have thought LinkedIn wasn’t for you – you were a small one-person business and LinkedIn was for big corporate groups – therefore it didn’t fit your business profile. You’d also thrown away your kitten heels…

    Whatever the case, I would guess that, right now, your LinkedIn account is either non-existent or sits in the background, ticking over but not really working for you. Unlike your social media channels, it lies dormant – apart from the occasional connection requests from someone you vaguely remember from school or one of those ‘coaches’ who can definitely help you make £3million an hour.

    But fear not, we’ve all been there – it’s so easy to get caught up in the ‘now’ of running a business that some things slip. So let’s look at a couple of things you can do right now to get more active on LinkedIn and start connecting with people who will enhance your business and generate more leads.

    Jennifer Cooper Timesaver LinkedIn Profile

    Your LinkedIn Profile 

    This is the first thing people will read about you on LinkedIn, so it’s really important to keep it up-to-date. Your profile is all about your story – i.e. who you are and what you do. Here’s a look at mine.

    Before you begin composing, or if you already have a profile, take a good look at it and ask yourself these questions:

    • Does your profile reflect what you want it to?  

    • Is it specific and clear about what it is you do?  

    You probably think I’m stating the obvious but it’s surprising how many people get caught up in the ‘writing’ they go off-point and these two key questions aren’t addressed. 

    Now let’s move on to some other points you’ll need to look at: 

    • Profile image – it’s so important to have a picture on your LinkedIn profile – ideally a professional headshot of you. Stats show that a lack of a photo means you miss out on people connecting with you.

    • Cover Image – this sits at the top of your profile – acting as a header to your page. This needs to reflect your brand, so you could incorporate your company logo or any graphics that show you in a work setting or ‘in action’ at work – now’s your chance to pull on those kitten heels…

    So there you have it – a few easy steps to start using LinkedIn to grow your business. As with all marketing, try not to overwhelm yourself with too many things to do otherwise, it’s tempting to do none of them at all. Even just doing the few suggestions in this post will get you off on the right foot.   

    If you’d like any help with your LinkedIn account, saving you time to get on with the ‘business side of your business,’ then do get in contact. We’re here to help you expand and grow – you don’t have to do this alone.