The small business owner typically has a ‘seize the moment’ mentality. What others might call ‘tough economic times’, we see as a time to problem solve and find new ways to move toward a successful future. Google’s free tool, Google+ Local (formerly Google Places) is evolving and moving toward the future as well. Google, may be best known as a search engine, but today they are also a localized directory, a social network, and a marketing tool, among other things. And not only that, but these tools are integrated such that they work together. For example, social network results now show up in search results. Customers searching for your products and services can see what their friends think before buying.
The Yellow Pages are a thing of the past. Depending on the consumer intelligence survey, between 86% and 94% of consumers conduct an online search before buying. And further, over 40% use a combination of search and social media. Now is the time to learn to use online tools to your advantage. To get started with Google+ Local, which will enable your business to present customized information to your customers at the moment their search results are delivered, the first step is to create a Google+ page for your business.
Not only will your listing offer you as the business owner more control over the information presented, but the more information you provide on Google+ Local, the more likely your business will rank high in local searches. If your target customers are local, Google+ Local sets your geographic location allowing you to better reach your target audience.
Update your Google+ Local Listing with:
- Hours of Operation
- Forms of Payment
- Types of Products & Services
- Promotions & Coupons Offered this Week
- Keyword Rich Company Profile
- Images & YouTube Videos
Key advantages of Google+ Local
- Free Advertising that will bring you more targeted customers, faster than traditional marketing methods.
- Google Maps Marker will appear for your business, making it easy for new customers to find you.
- Google+ Local is Mobile Friendly – anyone with a smartphone can view your page and find their way to your location.
- Consolidated Online Reviews – various business directories and third party review websites ie. Yelp, (link to Yelp article) giving customers access to desired information before making a purchasing decision.
- Optimized Listing Increases Search Position – The more information search engines find about your business across wide number of websites, the more relevant you are to customer needs, the higher you rise in the search results. Satisfied Customer Review Forum – Google really likes customer reviews because it shows that your business is legitimate and active in that community. It is also a great place for businesses to publicly handle customer complaints, so that potential customers can see firsthand that you are willing to work with your customers to make them happy.
Smart business owners know how to leverage Google+ Local. They understand that businesses must rank in the top 5-7 local search results to have a noteworthy marketing impact. Optimizing your page will require a dedication of time and focus, not only to set up but for ongoing maintenance, however having a listing that reaches customers with product and service information at the moment they are ready to buy…priceless.