A surprisingly large number of business owners, including many language schools, still overlook the power of the “Google My Business” marketing power. Many think that there is nothing more than just adding your business to Google maps.
Google My Business For Language Schools
Google My Business can be a real hidden marketing powerhouse if you utilize it right and discover all its elements that can be a powerful ally for your language school.
The influential marketing center is free for your language school to use, and of course, you can use it also to buy Google advertising, which is their ultimate goal with you becoming an active user of Google My Business (no surprise!).
But all the free features are compelling and
should be one of your daily or at least weekly marketing activities for sure.
Google My Business For Language Schools: Did You Claim Your Listing?
Some language business owners just do not have enough time through their busy schedule in organizing and maintaining their active language school activities and say that “they are listed on Google Maps,” and it seems all to update on its own.
The problem is that any entry on Google that is not claimed by their rightful owners could be manipulated by the competition and without you actively claiming your language school business entry – which is for free by the way – you are basically given your control away.
It means you can’t update and correct outdated and incorrect information like phone numbers or your business hours and holidays yourself. You can’t respond to complaints and praise with Google reviewers, and you miss out on adding your own powerful images to communicate your products and services the way you should and do not have access to powerful analytic features that show you how people try to interact with your business.
And having your own Google My Business entry and management center is free and uncomplicated. Getting started is easy: usually, Google sends you a physical letter to your location in order to verify that your language school really exists.
That can take several weeks, but if your business is already listed with an outdated street address, it will need several attempts from other people to correct the “public and unclaimed entry” before you can claim it yourself. You might want to employ the help of local guides.
If you already use an email address via Gmail for your language school business, you might even be able to claim your own business entry via smartphone. It would be the fastest way to gain control, but that option is not always available.
Google My Business: Google Local Guides Might Help You
Here is a trick to correct your business information if it is incorrect, and you seem not to get the letter from Google to get started. Try to get some help from Google Local Guides.
Google Local guides are people who add, update, and help voluntarily to keep Google Maps up to date. Google rewards such people with incentives, and they are, of course, not allowed to ask for money for writing reviews for businesses. Nor are they allowed to ask for money to update and correct business listings.
Some of them make money by taking 360º degree pictures for businesses. You could join them at https://maps.google.com/localguides and find more about them.
You can find local reviewers by looking at other reviews on businesses nearby and might be able to get in touch with them to help you to correct your business listing – if enough trustworthy Google Local guides add the correction, Google will update it very fast (they have an internal rating, how much a Local guide has contributed and is awarded a higher trust-rating).
Google My Business: The Social Proof Your Business Needs
Nothing looks worse than deserted social media for business. Offices, shops, restaurants, and language schools that have not updated Facebook or Twitter for several months look dead – without anyone knowing if you are just on a vacation break or if you are out of business. No potential customer will bother to call you and usually just look who looks active and alive on social media and deal with your competition instead!
Also: if you ever experienced that you want to eat at a restaurant that you looked up on Google or Tripadvisor of Facebook to stand outside and it is closed… remember that feeling. It is how you lose customers that were actually interested enough to show up at your location physically.
The countermeasure to not disappointing potential customers is to update holiday schedule, closed days due to whatever reason you might have and communicating when your business is open – and for example, offering even special event days to be announced.
Google My Business: The Review Secret Strategy
If your business receives complaints and praise via the Google 5-Star-rating-system and nobody answers, it also looks unprofessional – and just ONE negative rating can damage your business to grow. If you control your own Google My Business entry, then you can actively respond and also invite more people to rate you more favorably by responding to their reviews.
Social Proof is also very important to improve your SEO, your search engine optimization performance. Websites rank naturally higher above their competition if they have an active social media presence with ongoing reviews and ratings coming in. Not only “good reviews” are essential; getting some “lukewarm” or “negative” reviews is quite typical and expected with every business. But if you take control and respond to each of them, Google will notice.
So the key really is to always respond as fast as possible to reviews and engage with your audience – people are actively taking their time to rate your business and deserve recognized for their efforts. It is a win-win situation for them and your business in the end: being recognized!
Google My Business: Translation By Smartphone Default
Funny enough will help Google My Business to reach people that might NOT speak your language. It is obviously more important for restaurants and other tourists activity-based business than for a language school. But make no mistake, you might reach people with languages you may have never thought of. Watch your Google My Business management center to see who clicks and visits your entry. If you are in a touristic zone, you could offer specifically designed mini-courses targeting tourists with Google My Business features.
Google My Business: Location, Location, Location
People are curious and love walking around virtually on Google Maps before they travel to their favorite vacation spot. So it is so imperative that you enter your location correctly and add as much high-quality photo material to show off how much fun it would be to study with your language school.
Avoid just uploading “magazines like” pictures and video clips. With almost any smartphone that can take high-quality images, it is straightforward to create “snapshots” that could have taken any language student. You might want to encourage current language students to add theirs to your Google Maps entry.
With maintaining your virtual location, you gain the trust of potential language students studying with you. It is because if they can have a convincing virtual visit themselves, they basically “sell themselves” that they want to learn with you and are more likely to book their language vacation with you.
Google My Business: The Secret Business Blog
A very cool feature is the ability to add updated blog-post like information snippets that are attached to your Google Maps entry.
It is very cool to feature special events like an open day event or to announce a new special language training that is starting soon. Or to promote a youth summer camp.
The options are almost endless. It not a paid ad feature like Google ads. It is literally a free feature (at least for now) that allows you to add extended information to your Google Maps entry.
At the time of writing (October 2018), it is not really possible to “preschedule” those posts. You can use “event” posts that will expire at the end of a period. But you can’t pre-post things like it is possible on Facebook, for example.
Having that said, this “secret business blog” feature is a potent instrument to test also different offers because Google will show you how many people clicked on your business updates. It can also help you to gain insights you might want to know before considering paid traffic with Google Ads.
Google My Business: Gaining Valuable Insights
What makes Google My Business so valuable is the business insights they give you for free.
You will see if more people actually use and find your business via Google Maps or more on the Google Search Listings instead.
You will see how many people did visit your website, asked for directions, and even how many did call you.
A very cool feature gives you a heat-map where you can see from where people came via the Google driving directions.
If you get enough people visiting your language school using their smartphones on location, then Google shows you when the most popular times are. It is actually another social proof that you exist and that your business is real and exciting for people to show up.
Overall the insights you get from Google My Business are very action-oriented and much different from Google Analytics or Google Search Console. With it, you can monitor website visitors’ behavior where with Google My Business, it is the analysis of the actual physical action of people.
Google My Business: Doing Paid Target Traffic
It should be obvious that Google does all that for free, not because they are some charity helping your business. Still, they instead want to see you and understand the value of doing paid traffic marketing with them utilizing paid Google Ads.
Using the free tools from Google My Business will give you already a great advantage against other language school business owner who is not using them.