When I deliver marketing seminars for performing arts and cultural institutions, I often ask attendees if they’ve heard of Google My Business.
I usually see a few hands raised. But not many.
I recently started working with a client that has nearly 100 member organizations. Nearly half had either unclaimed or completely missing Google My Business profiles.
Unfortunately, awareness of Google My Business is lacking in the arts community – performing arts venues, dance studios, operas, symphonies, art galleries, theatres, museums, and other organizations. That’s the bad news.
The good news is, there’s a tremendous opportunity for these organizations to make their events and educational programs more successful by claiming their Google My Business profiles, updating them with fresh content, and engaging their audiences.
Let’s discuss what Google My Business is and why performing arts and cultural institutions must claim their profile.
What Is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool that allows businesses and organizations to help people find them, get to know them, contact them, and buy from them.
This is a free tool. The first step is to claim and verify your Google My Business listing at www.google.com/business. Next, fill out your profile with contact information, your website URL, hours of operation, types of payment accepted, a description of what your organization offers, and other information.
Why Is Google My Business So Important to Performing Arts and Cultural Organizations?
When people look for information and answers to questions, they go to Google. Having a Google My Business profile helps you show up in search results, Google Maps, and other Google offerings.
Google used to be the first stop on the way to another website, where the user would eventually find the information they need. Thanks to the knowledge panel, which appears on Google when someone searches for a specific company or organization, Google is often the first and last stop on that search.
In fact, more than half of all Google searches in July of this year resulted in no clicks. People we able to find the information they need and read reviews on the knowledge panel. They
didn’t have to click through to a website.
Some analysts have gone so far as to say Google is the new home page because it provides users with the same basic information as the homepage of a website.
Suppose You Don’t Claim Your Google My Business Profile
You won’t be as visible as you would be with a Google My Business profile, but there’s a good chance you’ll still show up on Google.
Google’s mission is to provide people with the information they seek and answers to their questions, ideally without requiring them to visit a website. If you don’t claim your Google My Business profile, Google will fill the knowledge panel for your organization with information it collects from other online sources.
That means you’re giving Google control of the information it shares about your organization and events. This often leads to inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated information, which not only can affect ticket sales and fundraising, but can also frustrate customers and cause them to leave poor reviews.
When you have a Google My Business profile, you have total control of the information in the knowledge panel. You can make sure all information is accurate, complete, and current instead of forcing Google to fill in the blanks with information from outside sources.
If you have a brick-and-mortar location, Google My Business is the foundation of your online presence – not just on Google, but across the entire online universe. Think of your profile as a branded search result, with your logo, your contact information, directions to your venue, your photos and videos, your event details, your mission explained, and your story told.
In the next article, we’ll discuss the main features the arts community can use on Google My Business, including Messaging, Photos and Videos, Reviews, Google Posts, Q&A, Descriptions, Insights, and the “Donate” button.