Grow your home baking business by utilizing Google My Business, a free tool to help attract customers. Learn everything you need in our simple guide, and watch your sales rise like a cake in the oven.
Why Home Bakers Should Set up Google My Business
Google My Business is a massive opportunity for small, local home-based businesses. If you have an Internet presence, then you have a better chance of attracting new customers. All they need is a way to find you online!
Here are just a few stats from Social Media Today about why getting found online is so important:
- 46% of all searches on Google are seeking local information
- 97% of search engine users searched online to find a local business
- 86% of consumers rely on the Internet to find a local business
- 72% of consumers say search is their first choice to find information on local merchants
With a Google My Business account, you get a business profile that lets you connect with customers in Google Search. It is a free tool that gives you more control over what appears on your profile. If you don’t use it, you can’t manage the information that it displays—and that can hurt your business.
Google can create an account by gathering information and building a profile for a business. The owner can go in and “claim” it by going through Google My Business. I doubt Google will go ahead and create a profile for your business for your average home bakery.
Last year, I posted a positive review of the nail salon I visit regularly. When I went to their profile, their business’s main photo was their back parking lot and dumpster. The owner had no idea that was the case. She quickly claimed her business and fixed the issue. Whenever possible, you should be in control of the information posted online about your business.
What can you do with Google My Business?
Interact with your customers
We all know that a home bakery business’ bread and butter (pun not intended) comes from loyal repeat customers. The first step to building that relationship is through engagement or quickly reading and responding to their questions and direct messages. You can set it up your account to receive notifications of reviews, so you can thank them for their testimonial or act quickly if they have a complaint.
The best practice is to respond to reviews, even if some are negative. Your community needs to see a responsive, professional owner who cares about customer experiences. Check out my blog post about responding to negative online reviews.
Getting testimonials and reviews is valuable social proof. This is a shortcut to building trust because when people see that others have bought and have been happy with your products or services, many will assume that they’ll likely also be happy.
As an owner, you should be looking for ways to encourage reviews. Google My Business offers a direct link to the star review rating that owners can send to customers. You cannot offer customers incentives, but you can ask them to leave an honest review of their experience.
You can use Google My Business to publish posts to your profile. It’s as easy as adding a Facebook or Instagram post. This is a great way to announce a new product or promo or share beautiful pics of your freshly baked goodies.
The phone app makes it easy to post quickly, answer questions, and respond to reviews.
Showcase What’s Unique About Your Business
Use your profile to showcase your brand’s strengths, including that you are a licensed home bakery. You can list all your products and add descriptions. Now is the time to flex your premium ingredients, or if you specialize in a certain type of product like vegan, gluten-free, or wedding cakes. You can also edit and update this information anytime.
Analytics can show you essential Google search trends: the products that people often search for, what words they use when they look for home baking business or products, and even the sites they like to visit.
This is excellent information that can help both your marketing and your product development. You’ll know what products are popular and can optimize your web content to contain the phrases they usually use. You can even see the actions they took on your listing – what pages or photos did they click on the most?
How to Optimize Your Google My Business Profile
Here are some simple ways to optimize your Google My Business account and increase your chances of showing up in search. Note, since you work from home, you do not have to include your home address and opt to include your service area—more on that below. You will need to verify your business. Google wants to know you are legit.
Complete the Information
Google will give a higher search engine ranking score to profiles that have complete and relevant information. Most businesses will only provide the basic name, address, phone, and website. However, you can set it apart by giving time and thought to optional fields like products, FAQs, photos, and reviews.
Yes, it will be a little time-consuming—and we understand how busy home bakers can be! But the extra effort pays off. Not only does it increase your search ranking, but it engages your customers and gives them more reasons to buy from you.
Optimize Your About Us Section
Here is the place to include you are a legal cottage food baker and what makes your baked goods special or your business unique. For example, do you only use organic butter or locally sourced ingredients? Do you use an heirloom recipe, or are you particularly known for one particular dessert?
Use the keywords that people often use when they search for home baking businesses or products. Since location-based search is very popular, try to include the name of your neighborhood or city, like “freshly-baked croissants in New Hampshire” or “birthday cakes in Greenwood.”
Pick a Category
As part of your profile, you need to choose a category. The logical category is “Bakery.” You will need to provide your home address for Google to send you a postcard to your physical address so it knows you are an actual business.
Once you get the postcard you need to log in and enter the code. Once you are verified you can choose to not show your address. Instead, you can choose your service area.
You should be very careful about publishing your address. You don’t want some random stranger showing up thinking you are a bakery that is open to the public.
Add Great Photos and Videos
Scroll stopping photos and videos are the best way to get people to order from your business. Take time to shoot mouthwatering, beautifully styled cake, cupcake, or cookie photos. You don’t have to hire a professional photographer. Experiment with a few props, pretty plating, an uncluttered background, and natural lighting. You can read my blog post on How To Take Better Photos of Your Cakes for more advice.
Video posts also tend to have higher engagement and recall. Ask someone to film you while you put the final touches on a cake or decorate cookies. You can also record a tour of your kitchen or a video testimonial from customers. There are so many things you can do!
Upload Relevant Posts
Google My Business lets you publish posts with about 300 words. These posts will be prominent for seven days, so they are suitable for promos or marketing tactics like “featured cookie of the week.” You can also make seasonal posts for Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s, or other events where people tend to order pastries.
Connect Your Social Media and Website
If you have business profiles on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, be sure to connect them to your account here. Same with your website if you have one.
Check Appropriate Attributes that Apply
Google My Business attributes help your business advertise specific services and features to help your listing show up in local searches. Here are just a few of the available attributes: Delivery, No-Contact Delivery, LGBTQ-Friendly, and Cash Only, Credit Cards Accepted.
Build Your Home Baking Business Today!
Ready to create a Google My Business profile for your home bakery? Go ahead and do it for your business. It has a very user-friendly interface, and the controls are very intuitive. You could say it’s as easy as pie. Create an account and start growing your home-baking business’ Internet presence—and your sales.
RELATED: How To Attract Customers to Your Home Bakery
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