A Guide to Using Google Places for Your Business
As the owner of a small business, you have to promote both your name and products in order to survive. But with all the tools and methods available these days, how do you know which ones allow you to increase wider exposure?
Now, you have to know that while traditional advertising means (e.g. putting up billboards and banner displays) are still effective these days, you can market to a bigger crowd online.
Just how big? You may ask. According to statistical analysis, there are over 2 billion (estimated 2,279,709,629) individuals logging on the Web for the first quarter of 2012 (source: http://www.internetworldstats.com/top20.htm).
It is a high figure, right? It only goes to show just how wide your promotional reach will be when you start implementing an online marketing plan.
Then again, you have to be aware that there are already plenty of businesses on the Internet. Given that, you need to have an edge against your competitors to stand out. One highly effective tool is Google Places, which gives you the opportunity to build a good name for your company.
WHAT IS IT?
It is an application programming interface or API from Maps, wherein you have to sign up in order for your target customers to find you whenever they conduct location-based searches (e.g. “hotels in Las Vegas”, “restaurants in California”, “London bed and breakfast”, etc.).
Now, if you think that creating a Google account and a Places page is difficult, it is not. You can simply follow the steps provided. Once you have a listing, you need to claim it (you will get a call or mail for verification), so you can freely modify or update business details.
As a note, it is not enough to enlist on Places; you must learn to make the most of your listing too. You can spread your promotional message effectively through the following strategies.
Optimize Your Page
Search engine optimization (SEO) is vital for algorithm indexing and increasing your visibility online, especially when you apply the right tactics. So, if you want potential customers to find your company first, whenever they look for goods or services in your niche, these tips can help greatly.
- Fill out all the fields on your Places page.
- Make sure that you provide complete, proper, and consistent information (e.g. email address, website URL, hours of operation, and phone number).
- Include relevant keywords in the “Description” field but avoid stuffing (placing too many key phrases).
- Provide a category (your business niche).
- Take time to add more details (you can do this on the “Additional Details” section).
With the help of SEO, you can draw the attention of several consumers. However, you have to know that it takes more than a listing to make them want to buy your products or obtain your services. You also need to pique their interest or bring out their curiosity over your offers. Furthermore, you have to give them the chance to express their concerns.
You can do all these through the following ideas.
- Sign up for Google Business Photos, so you can give possible clients an initial look into your establishment through virtual tours and images.
- Post marketing videos.
- Request reviews from previous customers, especially if they express satisfaction after a successful transaction. Once you receive at least five reviews, your star rating will appear on search results (for example, check out the next image).
Once you keep them engaged, it will not be too hard to turn potential shoppers into loyal patrons.
Monitor Your Accomplishments
Finally, do not forget to keep track of your efforts and measure their standing. This way, you can determine whether your listing is effective in drawing the attention of customers or not. You can use the analytics features on your Places page along with Google Analytics to obtain relevant data. Afterwards, you can use the information to improve your marketing strategies.
As of late, Google Places has become a vital tool for many local business owners. Get found by your target market through this platform too. Once you do, remember to apply the tips on this article. Most of all, you must always keep a watchful eye on your page and update your listing, whenever there are developments with your company (e.g. new products or services or another location).
About the Author: Emma Tomlinson is the Head of Retail at Smart Traffic, a fast-growing technology company with a team of SEO specialists who provide search solutions to both SMEs and large companies.