At the close of 2021, Google announced it would rename Google My Business to Google Business Profile as part of its plan to retire the My Business app in 2022. What this means for independent insurance agencies is the ability to better manage their listings directly on Google Search or Google Maps via the web or mobile apps.
There is not, perhaps, a more important marketing tool for insurance agencies than maximizing their use of Google, the most widely used online search tool.
New Name, New Features
For those agencies that have not done so already, it is now possible to claim and verify a Google Business Profile directly in Google Search or Google Maps.
Call History offers inbound calls through click to call. This will allow agencies to track phone calls from customers who use the click-to-call function on Google Search or Maps. This feature is still reported as experimental, and might only be available to a select group of businesses in the US and Canada at the time of this writing. These calls are forwarded to a designated number, which can be different from the online number listed for the agency such as a cell phone or call center. Agencies will be able to track recent and missed calls, as well as identify calls from Google that are generated as the result of a Google Ad campaign.
Speaking of advertising, Performance Planner is a new feature that allows agencies to create plans for advertising with forecasting tools while managing budgets across multiple accounts or ad campaigns.
Finally, a new feature called Messaging will allow insurance agencies to incorporate a Chat function on their Google Business Profile. This Chat function will allow customers to communicate in real time with the agency.
The Power of Google
Specific features aside, the real power of Google for an independent insurance agency is in keeping agency information up to date.
The cost of a basic Google Business Profile is simply time. Time to set up, add photos, descriptions of the agency’s products, contact information and hours. At a cost, there are add-ons, including custom buttons like “Request a Quote” that can be added as well.
Additionally, through Google’s Search Console, agencies can use Google’s tips and advice to improve their website’s searchability, as well as offering important insights on what not to do in website design.
It’s worth noting Google will automatically update most Business Profiles using a range of information found online including user reports, reviews, and licensed content. Agencies can choose to accept, discard and replace or edit proposed Google updates. Therefore, it is important to monitor the agency’s Google Business Profile.
In an increasingly competitive business landscape where most consumers begin their search for products and services online, including insurance, independent insurance agencies are well advised to make the most of their Google Business Profile.