I started out as a printmaker and, after I’d renovated my 2-storey studio in 2019, I wanted to share my good fortune by offering printmaking classes with access to my new press. So I signed up for Google Business as well as making an initial WordPress website.
Even though Covid put an end to all that, the google profile remained useful for directing people to my online shop and sharing reviews and “social endorsement”. I’m guessing it’s good for algorithms too?! One of my customer reviews and their photos has been googled thousands of times…
Since then, I’ve set up a gallery room for the paintings I began creating in lockdown, and that initial business content is proving to be evergreen… even when neglected, oops. So much so that a new, local customer recently found me through Google and booked a gallery visit. She was buying a special present for her Dad’s “big” birthday (I managed not to pry into his – or her! – age!! 😁)
More of that particular visit later, but here’s a quick rundown of how to set up your profile:
1/ go here https://www.google.com/intl/en_uk/business/ to sign up – you will need a gmail address to do so
2/ you will be sent confirmation and an access code using snail mail. You have to be verified so you can appear on google maps – like this:
3/ from the dashboard (see main blog image) you can do as little or as much marketing work as you fancy – this even extends to building a website using Google – but I only add photographs, updates and links to my WordPress site shop. They do take a while to be approved and visible. Patience!
4/ paid ads and other bells and whistles are optional!!
You may well be thinking, it’s just another bit of tech/SM that I have to maintain. I guess this is true but if you want to make commission-free, direct contact with customers, a small amount of effort opens new doors.
From my recent Google-led gallery viewing, I did manage to glean a few interesting titbits that may explain more:
1/ the customer moved to the area less than 6 months ago and didn’t know where to find local galleries. She discovered me on google (not SM), whereas other galleries in the area (there are one or 2 larger ones with more choice) don’t have G-business profiles so aren’t as visible. I know they *do* have FB pages – not everyone likes FB, eh?
2/ we talked about budget and this customer’s was quite low, but I do offer prints as well as original paintings so I could help. BUT… I think she had researched on Google, ahead of the visit, and was already in love with an original painting before she arrived. You can include budget in your Google business profile – this may or may not be helpful.
3/ so much of this ties in with the Art Juice podcast I just listened to: the customer said her Dad loved “unusual” and the original (slightly crazy) painting would definitely be his choice – and the fact she spent 2.5x her initial budget (I gave her a discount too because I’m a softie) shows that people definitely overcome pricing when they feel passionate about something. It also shows that seeing work on Google gives customer confidence.
There may be drawbacks – like attracting time wasters – but mostly people go to Google to get something done. They have a clear incentive and required outcome. And of course, you may not want your studio or home address known to all and sundry, in which case, definitely don’t do it!! (Spies take note.)
I hope some of this is useful for you? My FB/SM has been steadily getting quieter, as is the way sometimes, so this has kindly reminded me that FB/IG are not the be all and end all. And it was positive to meet a genuine buyer and be part of her family’s special occasion. An authentic connection made and appreciated!