More threads by Jon Hall

Jon Hall

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Hi all, I was hoping to find out your opinions on GMB's messaging feature. Now that it's been around awhile, are you turning Google Messaging *on* or *off* or *it depends*?

I have my own biases but I'll bottle them in for now ;) From what I can tell, it hasn't been huge topic here one way or the other.

@Brian Barwig posted an excellent overview of the feature here: New Google My Business Messaging Options And it sounds like Sterling Sky is turning Google Messaging ON: "We believe these are a terrific addition to the GMB rolodex and should be taken advantage of."

But there are also some mixed reviews from those using Google Messaging in different industries, notably the comments on this thread from people turning it OFF: Google My Business Messaging and Metrics are getting a boost

What say you? What say your clients? Are you turning Google Messaging ON or OFF? Thanks ❤️
 

Jon Hall

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Seriously, @Eoghan_MomentFeed. Thank you! And I almost can't contain my own editorial here because you point out real value propositions in messaging: leads/sales for small business, efficiency for the enterprise through automation, etc.

<begin editorial>
So I'm personally excited about the opportunities in messaging. But I think the question for brands and business owners becomes: How much ownership/control of your customer conversations do you want to cede to Google (or Facebook via Messenger and WhatsApp) by promoting their products? And what happens when those products are monetized, their rules changed, etc.?

It's a risk/reward calculation, no doubt. While I'm "all in" on messaging, I think moving customer conversations into good ol' fashioned text messaging can deliver on the value props you mention (and more, e.g. increased responsiveness, customer retention, re-marketing) while allowing brands and businesses to own the data.

Google no longer lets you have a "Text Us" CTA on GMB listings or Google ads. Hmmm... I wonder why! But there are strategies and tools to work around that :)
</end editorial>
 

Contractor

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For service-area businesses, the messaging button shows up on profiles as Request a Quote.
I didn't realize that was for all SAB's, I thought it said "Request a Quote" on my profile because I have the "Online Estimates" attribute turned on.

But now that you mention it, I see the difference. An online estimate is something that they want done online, without a site visit, and they most likely expect it sooner rather than later. Requesting a quote via a button is essentially the same as calling me and saying that they want a quote for work, in which we would discuss a day and time in the future to do it.

I really like the idea of messaging. I prefer it thru the form on my website, but direct text message or thru Google is good just the same. I like being able to qualify it as I mentioned before. And really like being able to research it. Someone wants a certain item installed I can lookup it's power requirements (etc. etc.) before getting back to them so that I can speak from a level of authority instead of telling them that I am not sure about it as I would if they just called and sprung it on me.
 

Jon Hall

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I like being able to qualify it as I mentioned before. And really like being able to research it. Someone wants a certain item installed I can lookup it's power requirements (etc. etc.) before getting back to them so that I can speak from a level of authority instead of telling them that I am not sure about it as I would if they just called and sprung it on me.
Great point, thank you @DontBiteUrNails! This resonates with me.

One of the core aspects of messaging that seems to draw consumers is its "asynchronous" nature: they're reaching out on *their* timetable, in a medium they're comfortable with, without fear of immediate sales pressure, etc.

And as long as the business is responsive, this arrangement suits many of us, even across generations. (@Nicole Basham mentioned a 15-minute window to respond or miss the lead. I wonder if you have seen that as well?)

But your example suggests there are advantages to messaging's asynchronicity (I don't think that's a word) for the business, as well: to qualify the lead, prep for an informed response, put our best foot forward in every communication.

Efficiency
and efficacy seem to me like pretty significant wins for messaging! Though I agree with the sentiment here: better to have it through a medium you control than through the Big G.
 

Jon Hall

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I started this thread 3 months ago and have pored over the insights since. Thank you @Contractor @JoyHawkins @Eoghan_MFeed @Nicole Basham @MiriamEllis @abrandt @Annika Neudecker and @Amy Toman

I have also since been involved with Google's Business Messages Partner Program. Here is my update:

Google is clearly building Business Messages with intention. My prediction? Google will eventually use Business Messages (adoption and performance) as a significant ranking factor in local. On-site SEO, GMB content, and even customer reviews are manipulable and rife with spam. But messaging presents an (almost) incorruptible private view into a business's reality.

There are flaws, of course. Joy reported on "Request a Quote" messaging exchanges that showed competitors right in the conversation 🤮 CSAT surveys and single-channel visibility give Google only a partial view of the reality it ranks. And of course, Google just recently released a desktop version of Messages for business use which is still, um, lacking.

Still think messaging won't take off? Maybe. But if local businesses get a lift from turning messaging on, you can bet others will follow suit. And then the race is on.

So I want to share with you what I've been working on to meet this future where messaging plays a much bigger role in local rankings. Of course, I'm building a messaging platform, but please consider this a request for collaboration, not a promotion of a product. To allay any doubts, if any of you original contributors to this thread want to use it, it's gratis.

Here's a little demo I just did of how we're handling GMB automation and 2-way messaging with omni-channel messaging funnels and a full-featured inbox:

 

Eoghan_Aircam

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Yep, Google, Apple , Yelp are all changing customer expectations with the hard push of their business messaging features. They don't want to click around your website or call you anymore - just shoot you a text. Once one of your competitors offers the feature, you will soon follow. Same happened when early adopters started doing social customer service.

Won't be surprised if it impacts rank or at least listing CTR as Google highlights the feature more and more.

Your app is well built!
 

Jon Hall

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Exactly, @Eoghan_MFeed. Business owners can have the most principled resistance in the world but it doesn’t serve them if their competitors zoom past them.

We take the pragmatic approach that keeps our principles intact: embrace *any* messaging channel that your customers embrace, but have a strategy and tactics to move those conversations to your preferred channel. That’s the “Switch” in “Switchbird”.

Thanks for the kind words about it too. Means a lot coming from you 😊
 

Jon Hall

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Thanks @JoyHawkins. Interesting! One of my old clients in healthcare said he felt like the GMB mobile app just gave him and his staff another pie pan to keep spinning and it wasn't worth it. Having that dashboard on desktop could change the calculus 👍
 

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