Small Business Advertising with Google Places
If you own a restaurant, salon, car wash, or other local business, you’re probably well aware of the fact that Google offers myriad tools to help businesses maintain their digital presence. But in the midst of keeping your brick and mortar going, it can be a little dizzying to try to consider which of those tools are worth your time. But never fear! We’ve done the research, and we recommend this first step: Getting on the map.
How Google (and other search engines) see your business online is becoming critical.
Google‘s search feature has become more powerful than a small business owner would think.
In fact, according to a Google-driven SEO study posted on SearchEngineWatch, “50 percent of mobile users are most likely to visit [a business] after conducting a local search.” Based on this statistic, it’s easy to think that as long as your business has a mobile-friendly website, you should be just fine. While having a mobile-optimized website does have a huge positive impact on your business (a majority of participants in a Google survey said that if they find that a business does not have a mobile-optimized website in the course of their local search, they will go elsewhere), that’s not the only way to make sure your business is competitive in that all-important local search.
Show customers the way and promote your small business on Google Places.
Google Places is one of those rare and magical things: a free service! When Google users search for local options, the search engine displays not only a map (which can be used for immediate navigation to those locations) but a listing of relevant businesses complete with business information and customer reviews. This can be a fantastic asset for local businesses – if a potential client searches for “best pizza in Wilmington,” Google Maps will retrieve a cluster of pizza restaurants in their immediate proximity and give them an immediate way to get there! So how can you make sure that your business shows up?
Ensure that your information is correct
Update your business information so that customers can easily find you. The primary data that customers look for are your business’s address and hours, but your phone number and any other relevant data is important as well. The more that customers know ahead of time, the better – these details can create a sense of security when your visitors know exactly what to expect when they arrive at your business.
Add a business website to get more customer visits.
Add a mobile-friendly business website to your Google Places listing so that people who are searching for your kind of business can easily see not only your menu but also helpful information like customer testimonials, information about your location, and photos of your storefront. Details like this can set you far ahead of the competition, particularly if they don’t have a mobile-optimized presence.
Manage customer reviews through Google.
Google also lets customers review and rate your business through Places, which makes it an important small business resource. Stay on top of your ratings and reviews. According to Vendasta’s “50 Stats You Need to Know About Online Reviews,” 68% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more. Make sure to take the time to respond to as many reviews as possible, taking care of clients who had a negative experience and thanking customers who used part of their day to leave you a positive review.
Not sure how to get started? Start at the source: Google’s business resources.