Something I’ve spent a fair bit of time looking at and thinking about recently are Google My Business listings. It’s been a wild few weeks, believe me. These listings are generally the entries that come up on the Map when you search something like “plumbers in Hull” or “man size fairy costumes near me”, the latter of which I was Googling for a friend. No, you wouldn’t know him.

Anyway, it struck me that in this age when people make a judgement about you or your company by your website or social media page before they actually engage with you, My Business listings cause people to make a judgement even before that. If you’ve taken control of your entry, added the required details and some good photos, you influence the impression people get from this first glance and make it easy for them to contact you by phone, email, your website or your social media.

If you’re proactive about it, you can encourage satisfied customers to give you a five-star rating and a complimentary write-up on your listing. How many of us will look at the thoughts of other humans – on TripAdvisor, Facebook, Imdb or Amazon – before deciding which restaurant, joiner, film, whatever to choose?

If you don’t control your listing, at best it will get your details right and pull in your logo from another source. At worst, Streetview will pull in an unattractive picture of a wall near your house and a dissatisfied customer will have uploaded unflattering photos and an even less flattering review.

All this seems so obvious, yet it’s incredible how many businesses don’t bother with their listing. As I’ve been contacting local companies over the past few weeks, I’d say 8 or 9 out of 10 don’t have their listing sorted.

At the same time, Google starting sending out reports for My Business listings and so I received the email on the right for a listing I put together a few years ago. Look at how those numbers illustrate the effectiveness of this simple little thing over a one month period.

Forget the 3,700-odd figure… more than 180 people tapped on directions to open their satnav app and navigate to this place; more than 50 clicked through to the website; and, again, more than 50 tapped on “call”, which put the phone number into their mobile phone dialer and resulted in them making contact. Then there’s the five-star rating, which would impress anyone.

So there you have it: A simple thing done well can be highly effective, as I seem to keep saying. Maybe I’ll start a business on that basis…