A few months ago, I started noticing notifications coming into my wedding pro clients’ Google My Business listings.
They arrived as message notifications, and the people sending the messages were inquiring about available dates and photo sessions.
Who were these people sending messages? And how were they contacting these businesses on Google?
It was only after a little digging that I realized that several of my clients’ businesses had Google My Business messaging turned on.
What interested me the most wasn’t that messages just started appearing, but that wedding pros were getting Google messages at all.
Believe it or not, engaged couples are willing to contact vendors with a message on Google. And businesses can respond back right away.
I think Google My Business messaging may be a useful tool for some wedding pros, so I’ve done my homework. Below, I share exactly what messages are, what they look like, how you can turn them on, and if messages are right for your business.
What are Google Messages
Messages are a feature of Google’s business listing tool, Google My Business.
They allow Google searchers to easily send a message to a business right on Google.
Messaging may show up in Google search results for your business name or on the Google Maps app.
What Messages look like on mobile
Let’s say a searcher is looking for a photographer in the Google Maps app. They find your listing and start scrolling through it.
If you have Messages enabled, a searcher using the Google Maps app will see a “Chat” button on your listing:
When they tap that “Chat” button, a new screen will open up that looks very much like a text message:
What Messages look like on desktop
Businesses with Messages turned on used to have a large “Request a Quote” button when searched on a computer.
However, as of writing this on October 7, 2021, I am no longer seeing the “Request a Quote” button on any of my clients’ listings.
I will keep this post updated if chat seems to reappear on desktop for wedding vendor listings. Right now, I can’t find a way to send a business a message from a computer.
How to Turn on Google My Business Messages
To enable messaging, you must have a Google My Business listing, and it needs to be verified.
Follow these steps on your computer to allow customers to send you Messages:
- Log in at business.google.com
- If you have multiple businesses or locations, click on the one where you’d like to turn on messages.
- In the menu on the left, you should see a “Messages” option. Click on it.
- From there, you should see a screen like this, where you can click the button “Turn on messaging & quote requests”
- That’s it! Searchers should soon see a button that allows them to chat with you from Google search results and the Google Maps app.
How to Manage Your Messages
You can respond to customer messages from both mobile and desktop.
If you have Messages enabled, I highly recommend downloading the My Business app for your phone so you can get notifications and respond quickly.
You can also manage your messages on desktop by following the instructions above to navigate to the Messages screen on Google My Business.
Should Wedding Businesses Turn on Google Messages?
This is a completely individual decision, and I don’t think all wedding businesses should use messages. Here are my thoughts on who is right for Google Messages.
Google Messages might be right for you if…
- You’re new to business and need those first few clients. Messages will help you start those conversations with potential clients easily, right where they are.
- Your inquiry numbers are low. If you want to get more opportunities, turn on Messages. Even if you ultimately want couples to fill out your inquiry form, you could have a brief conversation, check availability, and then send them to your inquiry form if it feels like the right fit.
- You have a solid sales process. Messages make it easy for couples to get started with you and start moving through your process.
- You have the capacity to make sure Messages are checked and responded to. Since Messages look like a chat or text, customers will expect that you get back to them within a few hours.
Google Messages might not be a good fit for you if…
- You’re already inundated with inquiries.
- You only want to talk to people who provide the information on your inquiry form.
- You just don’t have the bandwidth to check messages in another place, even if you get a notification.
Have you used Google My Business messages? Are they working for you? Let me know with a comment!