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Broadlume | Mar 4, 2022

The Flooring Retailer's Playbook (Pt. 2)

In part one of The Flooring Retailer's Playbook, we broke down three tools that you’ll need to take your flooring business to the next level.

In part two, we’re going to show you more digital platforms that don’t require a lot of effort on your end, but can make all the difference when it comes to beating the big box stores.

Let’s get straight to it!

If you're looking for Pt. 1 of The Flooring Retailer's Playbook, click here.

Chapter 4: Why Flooring Retailers Need Google My Business

If you’re a flooring retailer and you don’t already have a Google My Business profile, what are you waiting for? Without using Google My Business, you’re missing out on the ability to manage your company’s appearance and reputation across the web.

In this article, we’ll help you understand the basics of Google My Business, demonstrate some of its key features, and show you how to leverage it to enhance your flooring business.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business is a free tool that allows businesses to manage their presence across Google platforms. Essentially, it gives you the opportunity to tell Google—and potential customers on Google—everything you want them to know. 

Some elements that you can include on your Google My Business profile are:

  • Hours of Operation

  • Website

  • Street Address

  • Phone Number

  • Social Media Profiles

Once you enter and verify this information, it’s rendered across Google platforms, including Google Maps and Google Search.

But Google My Business offers much more than just these basics (though they are very important to have on your profile). 

With Google My Business, you can read and respond to customer reviews, add photos to show off your flooring business, tell your company’s story, and even receive customer acquisition data. 

Why Should I Use Google My Business?

It’s really a no-brainer. Without accurate contact information, it’s harder (and less likely) for customers to find your business. That means you’re missing out on local leads who might otherwise come straight to you. 

Just as importantly, Google prefers to direct users to businesses with higher local rankings. These businesses are suggested more often in Google searches because they’re considered more “reputable”. And one of the only ways to improve your local ranking is to thoroughly fill out your Google My Business profile!

Finally, Google My Business allows you to connect with potential customers on a personal level. In an age when users have millions of listings at their fingertips, first impressions are everything. You need to be able to connect with your client base quickly and effectively.

Example: in the graphic below, you’ll see a Google Maps search for “flooring in my area”. Notice that businesses that have verified their info by creating a Google Business Profile are shown more prominently than those who have not.

Why does Google My Business make my flooring business more reputable?

The more information you offer Google, the more accessible your company becomes. 

Example: would you feel comfortable driving to a flooring showroom with no listed hours of operation? Would you take the time to call an unverified number to find those hours? Especially if there were another flooring business close by that did have that information listed on Google?

The answer: probably not. Without up-to-date information, your business is simply less accessible—and seemingly less legitimate—for potential customers. 

Just look at the numbers: according to a Google/Oxera study, businesses that verified their info on Google My Business were twice as likely to be considered reputable by customers as businesses that didn’t. 

That’s why companies without Google My Business profiles have lower local rankings than companies that do have them. And again, a lower local ranking means your business will be shown less prominently in local searches. 

How Can I Use Google My Business to Interact with Customers?

Google My Business can be an amazing tool for connecting with potential customers on a personal level, especially to make a first impression.

Consider the profiles below. Which do you immediately trust more? Which do you feel more personally connected to?

Odds are, it’s the second of the two. That’s because this business actually tells you who they are, person to person. Additionally, this business has uploaded photos, so you know it’s the “real deal”. They’re showing off the features of their business.

According to Google, companies that add photos to their Google My Business profile receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps than those who don’t. On top of that, these companies receive an average of 35% more clicks through to their websites.

We think those results speak for themselves.

Why Is It Important to Manage My Google reviews?

Google My Business also allows you to manage and respond to Google reviews. If your flooring business has ever been the victim of an unwarranted one-star Yelp review, you’ll know how important this feature is. 

By managing and responding to reviews, you’re able to tell your story and humanize your business—whether you’re thanking a reviewer for a compliment or defending your business from unfair criticism.

Equally as important, this feature gives you the ability to win back customers who have already left reviews. Plus, you can use constructive criticism to improve your company.

Using Google My Business

How to Sign Up for Google My Business

  1. On your computer, go to Google My Business.

  2. In the top-right corner, click Sign in.

  3. Sign in to your Google Account, or create one. 

  4. Enter your company information as prompted.

  5. Select a verification option.

  6. Confirm that your business information is correct. If it isn’t, correct it before verifying your business.

How to Verify Your Business with Google

For most businesses, Google will verify your address by sending a physical postcard. The postcard will include a unique verification code, which you’ll enter into the Google My Business platform to confirm your location. Once you receive your verification postcard:

  1. Return to google.com/business

  2. Sign in and click “Verify location” from the menu (or click the “Verify now” button).

Congratulations: your business has now been verified!

Conclusion

While we’ve only scratched the surface of all the powerful tools offered by Google My Business,   you now have all the information you need to start building out your company listing. We hope this guide was helpful, and we’re excited to hear about all the local leads you get with your new Google My Business profile!

Chapter 5: Why Flooring Retailers Need to Harness Online Directories

When’s the last time you used the Yellow Pages to find a local business? Odds are, it’s been quite a while.

Obviously, that’s because the internet has rendered phone books obsolete. Or more specifically, online directories have rendered phone books obsolete.

Just like the phone books of yesteryear, online directories are a powerful tool for circulating information, building brand trust, and generating leads. 

Below, we’ll explain exactly what online directories are, why leveraging them can be such a powerful asset for your flooring business, and how to harness them successfully.

What Is an Online Directory?

Technically speaking, online directories are simply catalogs of webpages—and you probably use them every single day without knowing it. 

They’re usually geared toward a specific purpose or field, and can be searched to find relevant results. 

Examples of online directories include search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo (which are just massive online directories for all types of websites), along with single-industry directories like LinkedIn, Zillow, Autotrader, and Hotels.com.

Think about it: at its core, LinkedIn is an online directory for professionals. Most professionals have their own LinkedIn pages, which are contained within the overall LinkedIn directory.

Similarly, Hotels.com is just a big directory for hotels. Each hotel has its own Hotels.com page, all contained in the Hotels.com online directory.

Why Are Online Directories Important for Flooring Retailers?

First and foremost, an online directory functions in the same way the Yellow Pages used to: as a place for you to create brand awareness and spread your contact information.

But here’s the difference: phone books only served a limited area and charged for listings. Your online presence is everywhere. And it’s entirely free.

Think about it this way: if you need to find a service near you, what’s the first thing you do? Probably search Google, of course! And Google will show you the profiles of carpet installers in your area, pulled from its directory of local businesses. 

And of course, Google is just one example of local business directories. Yelp is another directory that works exactly the same way. And the more directories you’re listed on, the higher the chance that a prospective customer will find your brand and engage with it.

Basically, if you want to create awareness of and engagement with your business, there’s simply no better way to do so than by harnessing online directories—and as many of them as possible.

Directories Are Also Helpful for SEO

If your company engages in SEO (search engine optimization), getting your business on online directories is a must.

Whenever a webpage (including your own) links to another webpage, it generates something called “link juice”. Link juice refers to the overall SEO value of a website. The more link juice your site has, the higher it ranks in the Google search results.

Obviously, it’s not quite this simple—Google works hard to prevent low-quality and manipulative links, and not all links generate the same (or any) amount of link juice. But generally speaking, the more high-quality links that go to your website, the higher your level of link juice.  

Translation: links to your webpage from directories are super helpful—both for lead generation and SEO purposes.

How to Leverage Online Directories

When listing your company in a directory, remember that your business will be displayed alongside all of your competitors in flooring searches.

So, in order to make your listing look better and attract more consumers than your competition, you should include as much information about your business as possible. 

Post pictures of your staff and showroom if the directory site allows it. Tell your story. Link to your social media profiles. And at the very minimum, include accurate contact information (like your website address, physical address, hours of operation, and phone number.)

Think of your directory pages the same way you would think about your website. You want your website to stand out—just like your directory pages. You want your website to attract leads and build trust—just like your directory pages! All the elements of building an amazing website also ring true for building an amazing directory page.

Conclusion

There is no question that you should harness online directories if you want to build a presence for your flooring business.

While Google My Business, Yelp, LinkedIn, and Foursquare are great directories to start with, they’re only the tip of the iceberg. There are even directory websites made specifically for flooring retailers

Our advice: invest your time and energy into building out a wealth of directory pages for your company. And if you need some help doing that, Broadlume can help.

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