The coffee industry is a heavily saturated market. With new coffee shops popping up left, right, and centre, your customers have more choice than ever when it comes to where they choose to go for their morning cup of Joe. So it goes without saying that you need to be doing everything you can to stand out. The problem is marketing can get expensive – so finding other means of getting your customers over the threshold that don’t cost the earth is vital. That’s where local SEO (AKA Google My Business) comes in.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is a search engine optimisation strategy that helps your business to become more visible on Google, and it’s crucial to your success as a coffee shop. Google My Business is central to this – it’s the profile Google uses to deliver search results to people who are local to you. With GMB, you are able to control how you show up in both internet searches through Google and map searches through Google Maps.
The practicality of this speaks for itself, but from a marketing perspective, you’ll also increase trust in your brand (coffee shops with 5-star ratings on Google My Business have a high appeal to customers), as well as have the ability to share news, offer deals and engage with your customers. All of which is a win-win when increasing your engagement, footfall, and ultimately, sales. Most importantly, though, you can enhance your local marketing visibility for free. Yes, it costs absolutely nothing, except your time.
So, as it’s your customers who are doing the hard work searching you out – make sure you make it easy for them to find you. Here are five areas you need to focus on when it comes to making Google My Business work for your coffee shop.
Get your keywords in order
Make sure you’re using keywords in your GMB profile that truly reflect your coffee shop. Google is actively trying to give users the ‘best fit’ when it comes to their search results, so don’t try and trick it with keywords that aren’t true to you. By using accurate keywords, your customers will click on your profile when shown it by Google because you were what they were looking for - and Google will, in turn, reward you with higher search rankings. You’ll want to focus on two kinds of keywords:
- Location-based keywords – these are words that are specific to where you’re located - ‘coffee shop London’ or ‘coffee shop Knightsbridge’ are examples of this.
- Experience-based keywords – these are words that allude to the experience people will get from your coffee shop – examples include ‘dog-friendly coffee shop’, ‘organic coffee shop’, ‘best vegan coffee shop’
Complete all fields on your profile
Make sure you fill in all the questions about your coffee shop or café – name, location, category, description, etc. The more information Google has, the easier it will find it to rank you, not to mention the fact that this helps with your customer experience too. Many businesses will ignore the ‘description’ – don’t! Use this as a way of letting your customers know why they should pick you in 1 or 2 sentences. Think of it as your business's one-liner. This should grab and hold the attention of your prospective customers and show them in a fast and compelling way why they should do business with you.
Also, ensure you’ve ticked all the boxes that apply to your coffee shop in the ‘attributes’ section. Things like ‘WiFi, wheelchair accessible, outdoor seating’ are all things potential customers may want to know before choosing to do business with you.
Showcase your coffee shop with images
From a practical standpoint, images of the outside of your coffee shop are great for helping people to find you – there’s nothing worse than wandering around trying to find somewhere you’ve never seen before. But they’re also great for showing off your establishment and giving potential customers a taste of what they can expect. While you want people to come to your shop for the best coffee in town, many people will choose somewhere to eat or drink based on the photographs they see - long before they ever get to try the goods. Try and get some professional photographs taken – none of these DIY dark and grainy images. You can feature photos of the inside/interior of your shop, images of your menu, and some food and drink that looks exquisite to tempt people.
Engage with your customers
There are various ways that you can use Google My Business to engage with your customers. You can answer questions, enable direct messaging, set up associated alerts, and publish posts (similar to how you would with Facebook). But the most important would be responding to Google Reviews. Around 90% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase because they want reassurance from their peers before buying themselves. Positive reviews will establish trust in brand – but you can always use negative ones to your advantage too. People will be watching for how you respond to these, so don’t ignore them – this is where you can showcase your brilliant customer service and put potential customers’ minds at ease.
Google My Business is great for gaining key insights into your customers and local search performance. You’ll be able to use the analytics tab to learn the exact queries your customers are using to find your coffee shop’s profile, as well as a whole host of other things. This will help you to make informed decisions about what you share with your customers because you’ll see what they actually find important/want to know.
So there you have it, 5 areas you should be focusing on when making the most of Google My Business for your coffee shop. With the right know-how, you can make use of tools that don’t cost you a penny but boost your standing in what is a super competitive market.