This free marketing tool from Google can be used to improve your SEO while providing customers with essential info about your business. But Google My Business can also be used for direct communication with customers.
Google My Business has a messaging feature that is much like Facebook Messenger — it makes it easy for customers to reach out to your brand and ask a question or voice a concern. And, as data shows, having the option to easily connect with a business makes customers trust the brand more.
In this article, we’ll go over:
- How Google My Business Messaging works — on desktop and mobile.
- The purpose of the Google My Business Messaging feature.
- GMB Messaging best practices.
- Google My Business welcome message examples.
Bonus: Get a free social media strategy template to quickly and easily plan your own strategy. Also use it to track results and present the plan to your boss, teammates, and clients.
What is Google My Business Messaging?
In a nutshell, Google My Business Messaging is a free messenger tool that helps customers get in touch with you in real time, straight from your Google My Business listing.
This means that customers can reach out to your business directly from search results, without having to go through the trouble of clicking through to your website and looking for an email address or phone number.
How does Google My Business messaging Work?
Think of GMB Messaging as a form of instant messaging.
When you activate the Messaging feature, customers will be able to see a Message button on your GMB listing. The button is visible when your profile comes up in both Google Search and Google Maps.
Using Google My Business Messaging, customers can directly engage with your business and send you a message at any time of the day.
If you haven’t set up a GMB profile and verified your business yet, follow our guide to getting started with Google My Business.
Once you’re set, continue reading to find out how to activate the Messaging feature and handle messages on desktop and on mobile.
Google My Business Messaging on desktop
Google My Business launched Messaging in 2017, but at the time, it was only available on mobile. Business owners had to respond to customer’s messages using the GMB app on their smartphones. But that changed in February 2021.
Now, Google My Business Messaging is also available on desktop. For business owners who prefer to manage their brand’s communications this way, this update makes managing online customer service easier.
Here’s how to start using Google My Business messaging on desktop.
Step 1: Sign into your Google My Business profile
Go to Google My Business, click the Sign In button in the top right corner and follow the prompts.
Step 2: Navigate to Messages
Click Messages, then Settings (the gear icon).
Step 3: Turn messages on
That’s it — customers can now send your business messages directly from your GMB listing.
Step 4: Customize
Use customizations to make the messaging experience as easy and pleasant for customers as possible.
Add a welcome message and make sure your notifications are on ,so you know when a customer is waiting for a response from you.
Google My Business messaging on mobile
Here’s how to start using the Messaging feature on mobile, for both Android and Apple devices.
Step 1: Download the app from Google Play or the App Store
Step 2: Turn messages on
Once you sign in, navigate to Customers, then Messages, then select Turn On. This activates the feature, making the Message button appear in your listing.
Step 3: Customize
Be sure to add a welcome message and turn on your notifications.
Did you know?
Brands can now add GMB profiles to Hootsuite. This means you can manage and respond to Google My Business messages in real time alongside all your other social media interactions.
Learn more about this recent update here:
How to use the Google My Business Messaging feature
Why enable Google My Business Messaging, anyway? There are a few reasons this can be advantageous to both your business and your customers.
It’s a great way to elevate customer service
In the digital age, customers expect responses quickly.
Google will hide the Message button if a brand doesn’t respond to a message within 24 hours, encouraging brands to prioritize customer service and respond to queries quickly.
It’s a new way to introduce customers to your brand
Google My Business Messaging gives you a chance to get personal with your customers. Write a welcome message that reflects the personality of your brand — customers will see this message as soon as they click on the Message button, before they even type out their question.
Plus, communicating one-on-one with customers is a good way to provide them with a memorable brand experience.
It can be an efficient way to grow your business
With this button type, you can redirect customers to a form where they can request a quote or make a booking.
This functionality helps businesses move customers down the sales funnel in a quick and friction-less experience.
8 Google My Business messaging best practices
Set up a welcome message
The welcome message is the first thing a customer sees when they click on the Message button in your GMB profile.
Use it as an opportunity to thank them for reaching out and ask how you can help. You can also use your welcome message to tell customers how to reach out to you outside of business hours.
Try to respond within 24 hours
Try to respond to messages as quickly as you can — if possible, within 24 hours. If you don’t, Google will likely remove the Message button from your listing.
This is because Google wants to make sure that customers don’t associate the feature with an unpleasant customer experience. (However, if you do lose the button, know that you can reactivate it by turning it on again.)
Note that when customers search for your business and find your GMB listing, they’ll see how responsive you are. One of several response-time options will be displayed on your profile:
- Usually responds in a few minutes
- Usually responds in a few hours
- Usually responds in a day
- Usually responds in a few days
Turn on notifications
Make sure you see the new messages you’re getting! Knowing when a customer is waiting for an answer from you is the first step to meeting that 24-hour response time requirement and keeping the GMB message button active on your profile.
Don’t ignore spam
Yup, it happens. Your business might get messages that are spam or were clearly posted by bots.
But don’t just ignore them. Instead, be sure to mark them as spam or block the senders to avoid getting more spam in the future.
To do this:
- Go to Messages when logged into your GMB profile.
- Click on the message you want to report.
- Select Block/Report spam and choose the option that makes sense.
If you don’t report spam messages, they will affect the response time displayed in your listing. In short, ignoring any messages — even spam — will negatively affect your response time.
Keep the conversation relevant
When a customer reaches out to ask a question, they want an answer. Make sure to directly address the customer’s question or comment — they don’t want to hear about your new products if they asked about a refund!
Keep it succinct
On a similar note, no one wants a long, rambling message from a business owner when they just want to know if their favourite flavour soda is back in stock. When a customer asks you a question using the GMB messaging feature, keep the answer as succinct and clear as possible.
It’s okay if the customer has some follow-up questions. With GMB Messaging, you can go back and forth — messaging is unlimited!
You can do more than exchange text messages using Google My Business Messaging. You can also share photos with customers. Remember that sharing visuals can be an effective and efficient way to help a customer and answer their query.
Take the conversation off GMB if necessary
If your answer to a question requires you to get sensitive information from the customer, don’t ask them to share through Google My Business.
Asking for personal information like a credit card number, a password or an address could affect the customer’s trust in your business. But it is also considered a violation of GMB’s messaging guidelines.
Bonus: Google My Business Messaging welcome message examples
Here are a few real Google My Business Messaging welcome message examples.
Example 1: Google Merchandise Store
Why this works: This welcome message gets to the point. After greeting the customer, it invites them to ask their question. This example illustrates that the messaging feature is a way for customers to easily and quickly get answers to queries.
Example 2: Phone Repair Philly
Why this works: This welcome message warmly thanks customers for reaching out. It also lets customers know they’ll likely get an answer to their query faster if they call the store. This sets up customer expectations around response time.
Example 3: Momentum Digital
Why this works: This business’s welcome note is short and sweet. As well as welcoming the customer, it asks how they can help. Plus, highlights the business’s area of expertise!
When writing your own Google My Business welcome message, remember to:
- Keep it short. It doesn’t need to be more than a couple of sentences!
- Say hello, greet the customer or thank them for connecting with you. You’re setting up a relationship and making it personal.
- Ask a direct question. This will help the customer focus their question so you can write a short response that specifically answers their query. Plus, it shows you want to help!
You’re now ready to start engaging with customers via Google My Business messaging. Remember: this is simply another tool to engage directly with people interested in what you offer. Keep the communication simple, direct and friendly, and try to respond as quickly as possible. You can’t go wrong!
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