Using Google Maps to get leads

Jul 6, 2024 | Coach Guest

“Show Notes”

This episode is sponsored by Website for photographers. Website 4
photographers help photographers get more leads from their websites. You can
get in touch here


This week Sam is talking about using Google Business and Google maps for your
business. Google maps is great for photographers, as most photographers want
local clients. Google maps is the app we all know where you can find your nearest
hairdresser, or photographer. Google maps gets it’s information from Google business, or Google my business as it used to be known. Google business is a
system that is free to use and easy to setup. It gives your business a pin on Google maps, information on Google maps and information about your business appears
on the right hand side during a desktop Google search. For photographers that
work all over the country Google maps isn’t that useful. But, for those wanting local
clients it is very valuable and can get you a lot of local leads.

If you get your Google maps account setup correctly it can delivery a lot of leads.

For most photographers the location for your business is their house. For a few it is
a studio, but most are home based. If your home is in a large urban area, like
‘Marcus here in Bristol, then your location really helps as you have lots of potential
leads nearby. If you live out in the sticks it is more challenging for Google maps to
deliver good results for you. If your location is in the middle of no where one option
is to pay for a local virtual address in a local urban area. You can often pay co-
working spaces or accountants for a virtual address service.


If your business name has photographer in the name that really helps. Fancy names
are a nice idea in theory, but if your business has photographer, or something like
brand photographer in the name that will really help you getting found on maps.


Google business gives you a choice primary and secondary categories and you
need to think carefully before choosing these. If you are a general photographer
then your main category is photographer. You can then add other sub-categories
for the types of photography you offer. But if you are a wedding photographer you
may want wedding photographer as your main category. The key is plan this
carefully. Also some types of photography, such as brand photography are not
categories that exist.

These are really important. Get customers to leave reviews for you on Google. This
is very important for Google maps and SEO in general. Lots of reviews and recent
reviews are really important. Keep pestering your customers to give them reviews.
Do not simply ask once and forget about it. Keep asking until they leave you one. If
you search for ‘photographers’ in your area in Google maps, most of the
photographers there will have lots of reviews.

This is important. Get all of your services onto Google business. List as many as you
can. And for every service use all the space that is available in the description. You
can break your services down into sub services to add more.


‘Adding photographs in Google maps as a photographer is essential. Add as many
as you like.


You get to add a large description of your business. Use all the space you have
available. Think carefully about what you say.

You can post on Google maps. It seems odd and gets almost no interaction. But, it
means when people find you on Google maps they can see recent content from
you. It also helps you getting found.

Look at your competition

Look at the other photographers locally, see what their Google business account is
like. Then work on your to make it better than theirs

Google search

Remember your entry in Google maps will show up in a standard Google search as
well as Google maps search.

“Show Transcription”

Marcus: Well hello there, it’s Marcus, and you’re listening to Shoot to the Top. Sam, how are you doing?

Sam: Very good Marcus, excellent, yes, you?

Marcus: I’m really well thank you, very well indeed and yeah looking forward to another marketing tip from yourself today Sam. I believe you could be talking about Google My Business, is that correct?

Sam: Yeah, Google Business, Google Maps, whatever you want to call it, Google My Business, they changed the name a little while ago. This episode of Shoot to the Top is sponsored by Website for Photographers. I’m Sam Hollis from Shoot to the Top and Website for Photographers is my business. I help photographers get more leads and more customers from their website. I do this through SEO and website services, both tailored specifically for photographers. In this business, I only work with photographers and as you know from the podcast I spend loads of time talking to photographers and really getting to know the photography business. So if you want more leads and more customers, get in touch with me via the Shoot to the Top website, email me at info@website for, that’s the number four, or look for more contact details in the show notes. And now on with the show. So yeah, it’s all the same thing really, so I think people get confused with the term. So Google Maps is the map function where people search on a map for stuff. So the reason it’s really great for photographers is because photographers need local business. So yeah, if I want my hair cut and I’m in a new place, I’ll go to Google Maps, I’ll type in hairdresser and bang they all come up and the same will be for photographer or whoever else. So that is Maps and the way Maps gets information about businesses is a system called Google Business. It’s a free system and you can just register and then your business gets fed into Maps and you also get, you know, when you do a search market and then sometimes on the right-hand side, if you’re on a desktop, like a little bit of extra information comes up, you get that too, it’s kind of all part of the package. But so yeah, I’ll kind of probably use Google Business and Maps interchangeably. But I think what’s important for photographers really is Maps, because yeah, most photographers, some photographers work all around the country and then it’s not relevant. But for most photographers, most of the clients they use and want are local to them. And that is what Maps is useful for. One of the important things when you think about Google services is what does Google doing it for? What’s it want out of it? And what’s Google saying is right, you’re a person stood on a street, you want a service, you look on Google Maps, and it finds you the nearest and best one. So you got to kind of think of it from that point of view, what’s it delivering to the user. So yeah, so for most photographers, it is amazingly, amazingly useful, it can get you lots and lots of local business if you do it right. So the first thing is get on it, it’s totally free, just search for Google Business, enter your business, and then we’re going to talk a little bit about what you want to put in there and how you want to add the information and so on.

Marcus:  Yes, I use Google Maps, Sam, I think you’re right, I think it’s a really good one. Now we have covered this before, haven’t we, a little bit, so you’re going to go a bit more in depth on it.

Sam: Yeah, so we’re just going to talk about Maps now to get found on Maps, because it is just such, if you get this nailed, and every time people search for photography in your area, you come up, you’re just going to get the leads coming in, and they just keep coming. So you know, it’s worth spending the time and getting it right. So it just delivers brilliant returns. So it’s definitely worth doing.

Marcus: And as you said, Sam, it’s free.

Sam: Yeah, it’s free, that’s it. Now there’s a few things to think about when you’re first set up, and I think one of the most important is your location. So for 99% of photographers, I would say their location is their house. A few have a studio, but not many, most their location is your house. Now whether that is the best location for you on Google Maps depends on where you live. If you live in the middle of an urban area, like Marcus, who’s in Bristol, and there’s a lot of accommodate, a lot of businesses and houses around him, it’s great, because location is one of the key things. If you live in the sticks, and there’s frankly nobody nearby, that’s not as good, because one of the biggest search factors in Google Maps is your location. So I would think before you register, think carefully about your location. And if your location isn’t right for Google Maps, there’s two options in my view. One is don’t use it, but it’s really great for leads. Two is pay for an address. So accountants use addresses, you know, you can go to lots of co-working spaces will give you an address, pay for an address and have a virtual address and use that as your address somewhere near you, you know, it can’t be miles away, it’s got to be somewhere you can go and take photos. But if you’re kind of a bit out in the sticks, and there’s a city nearby, get a virtual address in the city, and you don’t need like a bang in the centre, but you know, because you’d pay a lot, pay one a bit further out maybe, but get, it doesn’t really work if you’re not near anybody. Yeah, you know, there’s nobody going to be sat on the top of a Lakeland fell thinking, what I need now is a brand photographer.

Marcus: Are these people, are these addresses quite, these buy addresses quite easy to find?

Sam: Yeah, yeah, you know, just find a, I mean, offices, you know, offices will often have a real office service, they also offer virtual office services, you know, your post can go there, you know, and you can register with HMRC there and that sort of thing. So yeah, loads of places have a kind of register your office, most, if you’re asking accountants, loads of accountants do it, so often your accountant will do it for you as well, and if it’s your accountant, it could be part of your fee anyway, so that can work. So yeah, think about your location. Also, think about your name. So I was looking at this with a photographer recently. If your name has photography in it, I’ll be honest, that’s really going to help. If your name is like something completely weird, so you know, you’re kind of gone a bit off the wall, you know, what do you think you’re going to do? Forestry shutters? And that’s lovely, but people probably think you’re doing blinds. You know, put photography as one of your keywords. You know, Marcus, I mean, photography, it kind of gives it to the people and to Google.

Marcus: I’ve never understood why people—I mean, it’s very nice, and it’s lovely to think of a name for your business—but really, you’re right, it’s just a pain in the bum, isn’t it?

Sam: Yeah, I mean, it doesn’t have to be your name, but I really suggest it has photography in the title. And if you’re—or, you know, if you’re a specialist wedding photographer, whatever else, you know, make it really obvious what you do. Yeah. Okay, that’s really important, and then you think about categories. So, Google Maps gives you categories, and you have main categories and subcategories. You need to think about which is your main category and which is your subcategory. Clearly, if you’re a photographer and you do loads of things, photography is your main category, while if you’re a wedding photographer, you might want wedding photography as your main category and photography as the subcategory. You’ve got to think about which way around you want to do it and only put categories in there that you actually do. And the other thing, not all types of photography are a category that exist on Maps, so you can’t have brand photography marks; it just doesn’t exist. So, you’d probably end up with photography. So, you’ve got to work it out, but think carefully. Lots of people just like tick, tick, tick, think, which makes sense being my top ones, which makes sense being my sub ones. That’s really important, okay? So, that’s the first thing to set. When you set it up, name, location, categories, think carefully, get them in there. The next thing is one of the most important things. On there are reviews. Get customers to leave you reviews on Google Maps. It’s absolutely vital. It’s part of your SEO, it’s part of your social proofing. So, you can say, you know, when people are searching you online, look, here is Fredblog’s photography, and look, the last person said, ‘Oh my God, it was the best photo shoot ever. I was so nervous when I went in and came out so relaxed, and I love my photos.’ Oh wow, isn’t that great? Yeah? So, that’s great for people, and it’s great for Google. If you’re constantly getting reviews, Google does a couple of things. One, it will move you up the Maps so that you’ll get found on the Maps nearer the top. And two, it knows your business is still going, and people do. If your last review was two years ago, I’m going to be a bit iffy if you’re still in business, even if you’ve got loads of reviews back then and you haven’t got any now, so get reviews. I think I’ve said this in loads of shows, constantly get Google reviews, pester all your customers. Don’t ask them once, don’t ask them twice, keep asking them until they give you a bloody Google review, just keep going.

Marcus: Yeah, agreed. I mean, people are used to giving reviews these days. It’s pretty enormous.

Sam: They are, and they do take two, three, four prods, and they don’t mind. They are probably thinking about it and probably saying, ‘Oh, I’m going to give Marcus a review, but I’ve not just quite got time now,’ and they will forget about it, so do keep prodding them. They don’t mind. You do need to do it, okay? But they are absolutely vital. And if you look at the people who are appearing, if you do a look in Maps and search for a photographer where you are, you will see the people near the top, by and large, are the people with lots of reviews. That makes a massive difference.

Marcus: Yes.

Sam: Oh, and the other thing is, just be a bit careful, because what a lot of people do is they sit in their office where they are registered on Google Maps, and they search for photographer, and they come to the top, and they go, ‘Wow, I’m top for photographer in my area,’ and you’re top because you’re sat in your own office, so you’re the nearest one. Just be a little bit aware of that. Go somewhere else and do the same.

Marcus: What area does—is there a guideline about what area that covers? Because I’ve often thought, ‘Yeah, does somebody in, say, North Bristol, say 10 miles from me, see me coming up?

Sam: Yeah, it depends on all sorts of things. You generally won’t go outside your kind of local urban area, so like your city. You definitely won’t go outside, so it doesn’t go up to county-wide and regional-wide. How far you’re found, it depends on all sorts of things—kind of how many other people are offering those services locally, how good your profile is. So, if it’s a bit better, you will reach out further. If there’s a lot more people doing it, you will probably be a bit closer in. So, it’s kind of, you know, there’s all sorts of things in the mix, but yeah, kind of, you’re never going to reach. It’s for that local audience. You’re never going to reach out to the county and regional area. It’s going to be your city, an area of your city. If maybe you’re starting out, that’s the kind of area. The other thing you can add into—well, there’s lots of things you can add. One of the things you can add into Google Maps is services. Now, this is really important because basically you can put lots of content in here which is really great to talk about your services. So, it has a services section. So, you need to add all your services—you know, if you’re a wedding photographer or you try and break it down. Don’t just put wedding photography job done, you know, think about, ‘Okay, I’ll do maybe bronze package wedding and I’ll do maybe a luxury wedding package and at weddings abroad.’ Try and, you know, break down and get as many services as you can. And then you’ve got a column. But it’s like a thousand words or something about each service, so use them and write about that service, write about what’s great about it, and you’re getting more and more content in there, which helps Google and helps people when you’re looking for. So use those services. You can add as many as you want. You know, don’t go mental, don’t have a hundred, but, you know, get at least five, six, seven services in there. Even if you’re just one type of photographer, you could break down what you do—you know, brand photographer, I could—you know, put in their headshot sessions, I could put in—you know, a recurring service where you come back every three months, I could put in a one-day photo shoot. There’s all sorts of different things. Try and think of different services you could put in there.

Marcus: In fact, I was just looking online just then and exactly what you’re saying, Sam, and I put in Bristol photographers and it came up very differently to if I put in Bristol brand photographers. for example. So yeah.

Sam: And you don’t normally need the location in maps because it’s just—it focuses on wherever the map is.

Marcus: Oh, I see, okay.

Sam:  Yeah, then you can also, obviously, you can add photos as well. So to your photographers, add photos to their—you know, and unlike in other shows, we’ve said, you know, you don’t want to have loads of photographs and not just text, but add a load of photographs because it will only show relevant ones. So add as many as you like, just add time.

Marcus: It changes them around, but I must admit, it’s very hard to remove photos. You can’t—yeah.

Sam: if you’ve added them, you can usually, but yeah, it’s not easiest, it’s usually better to flood them out with other ones. You also get a description of your business, so again, use that, think carefully about the sort of audience you want, what you want to say to them, what keywords you want to be found for, so craft your description carefully, and use all the words you’re given. If you’re allowed a thousand words, don’t write four or a hundred; write a thousand or, you know, 946, but use those words and talk—you know, we’ve got loads of shows about what to write, so we’re not going to go into that now, but think carefully about what you write, don’t just, like, bung anything down in your descriptions. And then another thing you can do on there is post, which is a bit odd, isn’t it? It’s like social—you can post, and lots of people go, ‘That’s just bloody weird,’ and scratch their head. Lots of people post a bit and they go, ‘Well, nobody’s liking this or commenting on this, so this is a bloody waste of time.’ It’s not a bloody waste of time, so posting on there is really useful. It doesn’t matter, you’re not going to get any comments because, frankly, you’re not, okay, but when people find you, so that person who stood on the street thinking, ‘I want a portrait,’ and he got on his phone, goes to Maps, and goes ‘portrait photographer,’ bang, you come up, and you’ve just got something that’s new and relevant there. It will help you move to the top of the map search because there’s new content on there, you’ve constantly been adding content, and it will mean that, you know, they’re going, ‘Oh, there’s something, yeah, he did this last week, and you can see, oh, you’re talking about a portrait you did last week, and somebody you worked with, so yes, it’s one of those.

Marcus: So just to entrap you there, sorry, I just want to clarify that, Sam, so if you want to get to the top in Maps, A, have lots of reviews, and B, you’re saying if you post regularly, it’s going to affect—just like SEO does, does it really?

Sam: I mean, Maps SEO, it’s the thing, getting to the top of Maps is really, really useful.

Marcus: Yeah, that’s interesting and it’s not difficult to do that, Sam, because all you’ve got to do is cross-platform it from your Facebook post, your LinkedIn post, whatever, it’s cut and paste.

Sam: Yeah, that’s it, exactly. I would recommend exactly that to most people. Once a week, one of your posts, you put, sorry, I just bung it on there, yeah, I don’t think it needs a lot of effort. And the other thing to do, don’t tell the other photographers, look at the other photographers locally, and you’ll find most of them are not doing this stuff, so all you’ve got to do is do it better than the other local ones, and you’re going to start to move up. They have momentum on their side because whoever’s at the top, even if they’re doing it really badly, because they’re at the top, they keep getting visitors, so Google keeps thinking they’re good, so you’ve got that momentum to fight against, but if you see what other people are doing, and you look at these areas and go, I’m going to add more services, I’m going to add more reviews, I’m going to think more about all of these things,’ you will start to outrank them.

Marcus: Okay, Sam, I’ve got a Google Maps, I call it, you’re right, I don’t know what to sort of call it anymore.

Sam: Maps, business, whatever.

Marcus:  I’ve got two, I’ve got one for my education side, and one for my branding photography side, and every month, or whatever it is, I get sent from Google information about how many people have searched, clicked on it, messaged me, or asked directions, whatever. I find, and I’ve got two different accounts, I just, how believable is that information, Sam, because I find it very suspicious that they’re both very similar.

Sam:  No, the data’s spot on, they’re not trying to con you with that, the data is absolutely bang on. Yeah, yeah. They are, if one thing you can rely on Google for, it’s data, their data will be absolutely bang on.

Marcus: Well, if it’s true, then, if it’s true what they’re saying, that, yeah, you’ve got to have a Google My Business account, because it really does work, if it’s true, they’re generally clicking on you, and asking for, and coming up in people’s feeds.

Sam: Yeah, yeah, 100%, it is a really, really useful thing, and not only for when people are in Maps, but actually when you do a Google search, you know, yes, it will show websites, but it will also, if it’s a local search, it will show up Google Maps, and so you being at the top of Google Maps will actually mean you’re showing up top in a Google search too, pretty much. So yeah, it’s a way into Google search as well, as just the Maps search.

Marcus: And also, Sam, I’ve got to say to you, I’ve not really heard many people talk about Google Maps, so I really commend you for talking about it, maybe, and it’s such good information, and so easy to do, and it’s free, you should maybe put a little download together, or something we can work on for our listeners, that they can download.

Sam:  Well, have a look, there’s blogs about it on my website for photographers website, so you can go there, and yeah, there’s blogs about it there, that kind of goes into more detail, and I run reports on people, which are really useful, so I run reports for people, and it like compares them to the top three people, so you can really see what am I doing, what are they doing, then you can really see what you need to do to get to where they are.

Marcus: Oh, can you do a report for me?

Sam: Yes, Marcus, I’ll invoice you later, I’ll talk to you about that later.

Marcus: Yeah, okay. Well, that’s nice.

Sam: I’ll talk to you about it later, Marcus.

Marcus: 50 shows you’ve done together, Sam, 50 shows.

Sam: Cool, so yeah, basically, Maps is a really untapped thing, loads of people don’t use it, ignore it, or just, if they use it, they’ve kind of thrown stuff away. But if you just put a bit of effort in, it is a way you can get, as long as they say you’re not in the middle of bloody nowhere, you can get, you know, consistent queries. And once you put the work in, as long as you’re then just getting the reviews, and putting some posts on, they keep coming, they just keep coming in.

Marcus: Yeah, fantastic.Oh, Sam, that was excellent, I really, really enjoyed that. And I really hope our listeners have enjoyed it as well. And if you’re a new listener, please go to our website and subscribe to our newsletter. And then you’ll be able to get even more information about the show. We give little tips out and stuff and so on and so forth.

Sam:  It is. And what is the website, Marcus?

Marcus: Oh, yes, it’s Yes, that’s right. A lot easier for me to say than the old one. So you can go there. And if you are a regular listener, thank you very much for being a regular listener. But oh, we’d love a review. Because what a review does, it not only makes us feel good, it gives us better rankings so more and more people can listen to the show. And we can spread all this lovely goodness of information to everybody in the whole wide world.

Sam:  Brilliant. Thank you, Marcus. Right, I’ll see you next week, Marcus.

Marcus: See you next week.

Sam:  Take care.