Messaging is a new(ish) option in Google My Business Listings, and one you should definitely consider. It allows potential clients to contact you quickly and efficiently.
What is Messaging?
This tool appears as a button on your listing on mobile, right next to Call. It allows potential clients to send a text to the cell number you designate. The potential client then sees a message in response to what they sent.
How does messaging work?
Potential clients see “Message” on your Google Business listing. When they click it, either their text app comes up or a dialogue box allows them to enter their message to you. They do not see your cell number (as far as I can tell). Once they press send, they get a message (from another phone number) acknowledging their message has been sent (or a custom message you designate). Once the listing owner receives the text, they can respond accordingly.
How do I get it started?
To get this up and running, log into your Google My Business dashboard and click Messaging. You then need to enter the cell number to which you’d like to receive the messages, and a short response message. You can then toggle this function to be one or off (this is good in case you’re away for a weekend and can’t respond to messages). More detailed info may be found here. And here.
The response messages I’ve seen so far have fallen into these categories:
- Thanks for contacting us. We’re caring for puppies and kitties now, but will contact you soon.
- Thanks for contacting us. Our office hours are 9 – 5. We will return your message as soon as we can.
- Thanks for contacting us. To request service, please go to our Scheduling page on our website.
Things to consider
You should consider this tool carefully. Texting inherently means the person expects a near-instant response, so if you’re not a texting person, this may not be your thing. Also, if you’re busy, this may not work for you. Another thing to consider is whose number you should use; you may want to use your phone or a work one, or maybe a Google Voice number or something similar. But you may also want to hand this responsibility to an office manager or staffer who may be more sedentary (in an office) and more able to respond. In any case, just remember that you need to respond to every inquiry.
And remember: nothing’s permanent. If you set this up and it doesn’t work, turn it off. And if you change things, turn it back on again. This is a free service, remember, and it’s easy to activate. It can be adjusted as needed (isn’t that great?).
How will it benefit my business?
Having messaging on your Google My Business Listing shows that you’re available and ready to chat. It tells potential clients that you are responsible and ready to work for them soon. And it MAY give you the edge over competitors who don’t have it, because you have immediate availability and they don’t.
Messaging in Google My Business is a really cool new tool that is proving effective for pet sitters. It is set up in Google My Business, and allows potential clients to contact you directly. Because it appears in your Google My Business listing, it may be the first time a potential client views you. Seeing you’re available and ready to get back to them shows them that you’re responsive and interested in their business. And who, as a potential new client, doesn’t want to see that?
Thank you to Brooke Rozell of Animal Admiration Pet Sitting for permission to show screenshots of her messaging response.