Exclusive Offer: Sign up for any LeadsHouse Plan and Get a Lead-Generating Website Built for You!

Mastering Google Business Messages: A Comprehensive Handbook

In today’s digital landscape, having a robust online presence is essential for businesses of all sizes. One invaluable tool in this endeavor is Google Business Messages, a communication service seamlessly integrated with Google Business Profile. Whether you’re an entrepreneurial trailblazer or a corporate giant, leveraging Google Business Messages can revolutionize your customer engagement and solidify your online footprint. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the myriad benefits of adopting Google Business Messages, unravel how it operates, and outline the best practices to optimize its potential.

Unveiling Google Business Messages

Google Business Messages stands as a beacon in the realm of business communication. This cost-free messaging service empowers businesses to interact with their clientele through various entry points on Google. What sets it apart is its effortless initiation – customers can initiate a chat simply by searching for your business on Google. What’s more, they need not even know your precise business name; a search for your product or service category could lead them directly to you, broadening your audience reach exponentially. This seamless conversational gateway not only simplifies the process for customers but also augments overall satisfaction, as both new and existing patrons can effortlessly connect with your business.

From Google My Business Messaging to Google Business Messages

Originally introduced in 2017 under the moniker ‘Google My Business Messaging,’ it operated in conjunction with Google My Business, a platform for businesses to manage their Google presence. Over time, the service evolved. From 2019 to 2022, there was a dedicated Google Business Messages app, which has since been deprecated. Currently, conversations are managed through the Google Messages business dashboard, signifying a transition towards a more streamlined and unified approach.

Evolution: From Google My Business Messaging to Google Business Messages

Initially, customers could visit a business listing on Google and click the “Message” button to initiate a conversation. However, a pivotal shift occurred in March 2019 when SMS messaging was phased out. In its place, two new offerings emerged: the Google My Business mobile app, tailored for small businesses, and the Google My Business Message API, catering to larger enterprises aiming to integrate this communication channel seamlessly into their tech ecosystem.

Early 2022 marked another milestone, with Google My Business making way for Google Business Profile – akin to a Google Business account. Consequently, the Google My Business app was retired, alongside the Google My Business APIs. This restructuring culminated in the renaming of the messaging service to Google Business Messages, now accessible on both desktop and mobile platforms. Simultaneously, the introduction of the Google Business Profile API facilitated seamless integration with third-party software.

The Global Foothold of Google Business Messages

With over 90% of the world’s search engine market share, Google stands as the undisputed champion of web browsers, a reign that has persisted for nearly two decades. This unparalleled reach is a paramount asset. Save for a select few countries, Google’s omnipresence is unwavering, making it the go-to platform for users across the globe. Even in regions where Safari holds sway, such as the US and Japan, Google remains a formidable contender.

Google Business Profile is supported in the majority of countries

This extensive global footprint underscores the potential of Google Business Profile to field a substantial volume of monthly customer inquiries through Google Business Messages. Only a handful of countries, including China, remain exempt from the reach of Business Profile on Google. For the vast majority, this platform offers an invaluable opportunity to connect with customers in an unparalleled manner.

Google Business Messages: Account Overview

Crucially, Google Business Messages isn’t a standalone application like WhatsApp or Telegram; rather, it serves as a messaging conduit for businesses boasting a Business Profile on Google. To maintain the integrity of this communication channel, Google has established a set of guidelines to deter spamming practices.

Google messages for business: messaging rules

One fundamental directive is the recommendation to respond within 24 hours. Failing to meet this criterion may lead to the temporary deactivation of the Message button. However, this can be rectified manually via the Google Business Profile dashboard. Moreover, businesses enjoy a generous 30-day messaging window during which they can interact with customers without restrictions. Once this period elapses, reinitiating communication necessitates a customer-driven prompt.

Choosing the Right Inbox: Google Business Profile or Third-Party?

Businesses have the choice of two distinct inboxes to manage their customer interactions: the Google Business Profile inbox and a third-party inbox linked to the Google Business Messages API.

The Google Business Profile inbox, conveniently located within the Google Business Profile dashboard, offers a free and accessible solution for desktop and Android and iOS devices. While it supports multiple owners and managers, enabling a dynamic exchange with customers, it leans toward simplicity. Notable absences include organizational features like tags or labels for segmentation, as well as limited automation capabilities, which are confined to welcome messages and FAQ menus. Consequently, it’s best suited for managing lower conversation volumes, making it an ideal choice for small-scale enterprises.

Two inboxes for different business needs

On the other hand, medium-sized businesses and enterprises grappling with higher conversation volumes require a more scalable solution. The Google Business Messages API serves as a potent resource, but given its API nature, it necessitates integration with customer conversation management software like Leadshouse. This amalgamation unlocks a wealth of capabilities, enabling businesses to handle large-scale interactions systematically and efficiently.

Setting Up Google Business Messages: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you already possess a Google Business Profile, you might have already configured Google Business Messages during the initial application process. However, if you’re yet to harness its potential, fret not. Here, we outline two distinct pathways to set up Google Business Messages.

Setting Up Google Business Messages During the Application Process:

1. Navigate to the Google Business application website.

Create Google Business Profile

2. Input your business details, ensuring to furnish essential information such as business name and category.

Enter details such as Google Business Profile description, name and business category

3. Verify your Google Business Profile, either through SMS or an automated voice call

Complete the Google Business Profile verification

.

4. Enable messaging by toggling the ‘Accept Messages’ bar, granting access to Google Business messaging upon application completion.

Enable messaging before completing your Business Profile on Google

Following these steps, consider augmenting your brand’s credibility by providing additional information like business description, hours of operation, and captivating images.

Activating Google Business Messages From the Google Business Profile Dashboard:

Accessing your Google Business Profile is a breeze, whether from a phone or desktop:

From a phone:

  1. Access your Google Business Profile.
  2. Tap “Customers.”
  3. Select “Messages.”
  4. Click “Turn on chat.”

How to check Google Business Messages on a phone

From a desktop:

  1. Access your Google Business Profile.

Click on View profile

  1. Click “Messages.”

Select Messages from the menu

  1. Select “Turn on chat.”

Enable messaging in the top right corner

With Google Business Messages enabled, you’re poised to embark on seamless customer interactions. Whether you opt for the native inbox or integrate the Google Business Messages API, the choice is yours. Both avenues pave the way for dynamic communication with your clientele.

As you embark on your Google Business Messages journey, adhering to best practices is pivotal. From initiating chats to crafting thoughtful responses, a strategic approach can catapult your customer engagement to new heights. Read on to discover these invaluable tips and tricks.

Helping Customers Find You: Google Business Messages Entry Points

Entry points serve as the gateways for customers to initiate conversations with your business through Google Business Messages. These touchpoints are strategically designed to cater to different stages of the customer journey.

Customers can start conversations from a variety of entry points

1. Location-based Entry Points

Location-based entry points are particularly valuable for businesses looking to attract new local customers. These entry points allow customers to discover your business when searching for relevant services in their vicinity. They can find the Chat button when multiple businesses are displayed in a certain area (Local Pack) or when they come across your business listing on Google Maps or through Google Search.

Location-based entry points: placesheet, Maps and local pack

Enabling location-based entry points is crucial for businesses aiming to enhance their local visibility. Platforms like Leadshouse support the integration of these entry points, ensuring that you’re easily accessible to potential customers in your area.

2. Non-local Entry Points

Unlike location-based entry points, non-local entry points are not dependent on a specific location. These entry points are utilized by customers who discover your business through Google Search. This may occur via Search ads, site links, or featured snippets about your business.

Non-local entry points: featured snippets, sitelinks and Google Ads

Upon locating your business in a search, customers will have immediate access to a chat button, enabling them to engage with you directly. While Leadshouse currently doesn’t integrate with non-local entry points, it’s an important consideration for future developments.

3. Brand-managed Entry Points

Businesses have the option to enable brand-managed entry points on their owned digital properties. These entry points facilitate conversations through embedded URLs, links, or websites, as well as chat widgets integrated with a website.

Brand-managed entry points: URLs and chat widgets

Customers who visit your website can directly message your business. Once brand-managed entry points are activated, you can create a Google Business Messages chat widget with Leadshouse and seamlessly incorporate it into your site.

Messaging Customers: Best Practices

Responding to customer messages is a straightforward process with Google Business Messages. When a customer reaches out, you’ll receive a notification on your Google Business Profile inbox as well as a push notification on your phone.

The simplest way to reply is by tapping the push notification, which will direct you to the chat interface. Alternatively, you can access the inbox through various routes within your Google Business Profile dashboard.

Messaging with Google as a business in a nutshell

In addition to text messages, both businesses and customers have the capability to send photos from their cameras or image galleries. This multimedia feature enhances communication and provides a more dynamic interaction.

Optimizing 1:1 Communication

Google Business Messages supports read receipts, allowing both customers and businesses to know if a message has been read after delivery. To make the most of this direct communication channel:

  1. Respond promptly to inquiries, as this reflects on your average first response time, building trust and engagement with customers.
  1. Consider implementing automated welcome messages and FAQ menus to ensure customers feel heard and can quickly find answers to common questions, leading to a positive customer experience.

Broadcast & Group Messaging

Currently, Google Business Messages doesn’t support group messaging, and broadcasting messages has limitations due to a 30-day messaging window. Therefore, it may not be the ideal platform for extensive broadcasts or group interactions.

Conclusion: Is Google Business Messages Right for You?

For businesses with physical locations, applying for a Google Business Profile and enabling Google Business Messages is highly recommended. This channel offers a valuable means of connecting with local customers and expanding your visibility.

Businesses without physical locations can still benefit from non-local and brand-managed entry points. For medium and large-sized businesses, integrating Google Business Messages with an omnichannel messaging solution like Leadshouse can overcome the limitations of the inbox, enabling seamless communication across multiple channels.

By following these best practices and strategically leveraging Google Business Messages, businesses can enhance customer engagement, build trust, and ultimately drive growth in today’s digital landscape. Visit our website today!

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *