Google Places is currently one of the most effective free online marketing tools available to local business owners. Known as Google Local Business Centre upon its initial release, it has become an essential tool in increasing popularity of a business on the Web to draw local clients.
Despite millions of people using Google Local (a.k.a. Google Maps, Google Local Marketing, and Google Maps Marketing) each day, it has remained free for a business owner to use!
Now’s the time to find out all about Google Places and 10 quick tips to use it to draw new local clients to your business:
Tip 1 – Use your real Business Name
Other business owners tried inserting extra words in their business name. The move might have resulted to a short-term boost in clicks, but not for long because Google is punishing this practice. That said, Google allows words to be inserted into your business name provided they fit your business properly. Here’s a good example:
Real business name – Fred Withers Ltd
Google Places listing name – Fred Withers Plumbing Ltd
Tip 2 – Ensure your Business Information is 100% accurate
See to it that the business information you listed are correct. You should provide potential clients with exactly what they need to know about your business. List this information correctly: business address, email, fax number, telephone number, and website. Most of the time potential clients don’t trust a PO box number or a 0800 telephone number.
Tip – 3 Choose the right Business Categories and more of them
Google Maps Marketing gives you the option to list your business under 5 different Categories that will affect local search ranking factors. It’s important that you choose your category carefully. After all, you want your listing to be relevant and reach your intended target audience when they search for your type of business. Google will suggest categories; it’s best to use 1 or 2 of them even if it looks unfitting to your business. To add to the Google-suggested categories, add 3 more categories of your choice to leverage your business listing. There are 5 categories available–make sure you use all of them.
Tip 4 – Punchy & compelling Business Description
Google Places limits your Business Description to 200 characters so you need to get it perfect. The trick is to use the most relevant keywords & business terms in your description. Also use phrases such as professional, trusted, accredited to emphasize your credibility.
Tip 5 – Include Photos & Video
Google local listings lets you publish 10 photos and a short video to add to your listing–take advantage. It’s time to learn a thing or two about taking a short 1-2 minute video and selling your business to your clients. Why, you ask? Well, because local businesses are all about the people who run them; customers love getting a glimpse of your store, your logo, and even yourself before they choose to buy from you. Give your business a face on Google Maps Marketing and expect your listing to standout.
Tip 6 – Maximize Google Local Listings with Extra Details
Include all extra information Google Places asks such: e.g. hours of operation, areas covered, accepted payment methods, and facilities. Google and your potential customers will thank you for including these specific details on your listing.
Tip 7 – Take time to complete the Services Section
You can add a near unlimited number of services at the end of your Google Places listing. A good number of services to list is from 6-10, but you be the judge–if you feel it’s relevant, then don’t be afraid to add them. You can use the service listing area to insert more keywords, but NEVER use location as part of the keyword(s) here. Here are a bad & a good example:
Bad – Heating Services: Yes
Good – Heating Services: gas-safe registered, radiator repair, boiler installation, hot water problems, fix central heating
Tip 8 – Create a unique Special Offer Coupon
Your potential clients love to receive special offers; Google know this and thus pushing up listings with special offers on the search results. Create a unique discount coupon that is offered only to users of Google Maps Marketing. These freebies and special offers are calls to action, which should convert browsers to real buyers of your service or product.
Tip 9 – Generate Citations
Citations are mentions of your business on other websites. These citations are important because Google local SEO uses these citations to figure out whether your business is worth people’s time and money or not. Other business owners are concerned about this fact, but it’s a gold mine to those who realize the potential behind citations.
Here are 3 legitimate ways to get as many citations on Google Local Marketing possible:
1. Get listed in other online directories
2. Ask your neighboring businesses & suppliers to put your business address details on their site with a link back to your website. You can offer to do the same in return for them.
3. Create a special offer for employees of nearby local establishments and put this on a separate part of your website–create a special page for each offer if you have to. Send details of this offer to each company in your Google local SEO and local area advertising and give them the link to the special offer page on your site. Ask them to mention your business on their company or personal website if they have one. This will help generate new business directly & help with Google Places.
Tip 10 – Generate Customer Reviews
Google Places pulls in online customer reviews from hundreds of online directories like Yelp.com, Qype, Insider Pages, and TripAdvisor. The result of these reviews is used by Google to determine your website’s credibility. You can motivate your loyal clients to leave reviews on online directories or on your Google local maps listing. However, remember that it’s more effective to get reviews on online directories for 2 reasons: 1.) you reach the directories’ clients, 2.) you reach Google’s users as well.
Most customers are ready to give 5 minutes of their time; there’s no need to bribe clients to leave a review—this could even hurt you in the end. Reviews should be genuine. Google Places allows you to reply to reviews right on your listing, so use this to thank your loyal customers and reply politely to disgruntled ones.
Businessmen and women know that Google marketing is a vital component in business success, and Google local marketing makes this opportunity even more vital. Google Map’s immense users hold huge potential for drawing new customers and growing a business, if used properly. Astonishingly only a handful of local businesses are using tools to help with Google local marketing –it’s your turn to try. Claim your listing on Google Places and get a head start on your competitors before they wise up!