When you're looking to make a big decision, it's likely that you'll do a fair amount of research before committing. In today's digital world, that usually starts (and ends) with a search engine.
And while we're on the topic of search engines, let's take a quick look at the search engine market share that Google now commands (versus Bing, Yahoo!, Baidu, and a few others). A staggering 92.42% of searches are funneled through Google.
What now? That means there's a 92% chance that your constituents use Google as they make decisions about their children's education. Enter Google My Business, a fantastic, yet little-known tool that you can leverage at your school today to personalize and promote your brand on that all-too-important first search engine results page (SERP).
What's even better? It's FREE! For a quick and easy guide to begin using this phenomenal tool at your school or organization without fear of bringing your marketing budget into the red this year, read on.
What is Google My Business?
Google defines Google My Business as a free tool that allows you to promote your Business Profile and website on Google Search and Maps. By claiming, verifying, and editing your school’s information, you can connect with families, post updates regarding key enrollment/community/development activities, and see how customers engage with your school on Google.
Here’s an example of what a GMB listing looks like on desktop:
Why you should verify and update your Google My Business listing
For starters, you'll want to make sure that all of your school's information is correct. Ensure that your business hours, location, category (Google provides you with pre-populated options – see below), and other details are correct, and then you can roll up your sleeves for the (more) fun stuff.
Now that you've claimed (if necessary) and optimized your school's information with Google My Business, here are a few of the exciting aspects that will make your life easier via GMB:
- Read and respond to reviews from students and parents. Prospective students see these reviews too, which can help boost interest in your school!
- Share photos of campus, events, current students, school apparel, etc. and put the most appealing photos right in front of prospective students when they’re on the SERP.
- Create Posts to relay timely text, video, or photo content in front of prospective families when they find your school listing on Google.
- There’s space for more copy! Use your school’s slogan for brand purposes or to optimize it for certain keywords or industries.
- Insights are available! Within GMB, you will have access to the “Insights” section, which reveals how many people searched for your institution, called directly from the listing, clicked through to the website, or checked driving directions.
- You'll be able to comb through where customers request your directions from (by zip code). TIP: Mine through that data and make sure you're aware of where your visitors come from!
- We mentioned this before, but it's worth it again. It's FREE!
Just a few weeks ago, we helped The Baldwin School, a PK–12 girls private school in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, claim their GMB and use the platform to promote a Spring Open House.
After only 3 weeks, our first post together drove:
- 1.88K views (of the post itself)
- 16 clicks (to the Open House landing page)
- 1 registrant (submitted within hours of posting!)
What's more, is that GMB is free! Wait, I think we already covered that.
We've helped many schools and organizations optimize Google My Business listings to align with, and perform against, strategic goals. Reach out to us and we'd love to help you do the same!