Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Want More Leads at No Cost Extra to You? Enter Google Places

It used to be that when we wanted to buy something from our friendly local shop owner or dealer we’d automatically reach for the Yellow Pages or Thomson Local.

Now we Google it!

In fact, a recent survey of business owners by print company Vistaprint, revealed that only 11% of respondents would consider future advertising with Yellow Pages. How times have changed. A decade ago local directories were the first port of call for call for ready-to-buy consumers, now they’ve practically dropped off the radar.
On the other hand, if you’re in business, why would you pay for a pricey directory ad, when you can advertise your business to your local community for FREE? Because that’s exactly what you get with Google Places.
But my business currently appears on page eight of Google. How can Google Places help me?

It’s a well known fact that when searching for a national or international service or product, 80 per cent of us rarely venture past page one of Google’s search listings. In which case, if you’re listed on page eight, all your competitors more highly ranked than you are liable to gobble the lion’s share of the business.

However, it’s an entirely different outlook when people are searching for a local business. These ‘hot prospects’ are likely to be a whole lot more specific about what they are looking for and where. Say for example you run an Italian deli in the centre of town. The sheer nature of your business: fresh, seasonal produce, means in all likelihood you’d prefer your customers to be local.

Google Places is where your local customer base will find you easily. And your Google Places listing will be so much more effective than any ‘dry ad,’ because you can upload graphics, photos, videos, even animations, to provide your potential customers with all the essential information they need to make an informed decision on whether to trade with you. You’ll be able to upload pictures of your products, details of price ranges, customer reviews and testimonials and so much more. You will be giving your visitors the experience of a virtual visit to your premises – or in the case of our deli – a flavour of your business if you like!

Just over 97 per cent of all people with Internet access regularly use search engines and Google is the most popular search engine by far. As well as uploading your promotional tools, Google Places encourages the use of keyword-friendly tags that drive more business to your website, thus increasing its ranking.  If you are unsure you can always ask the help of an internet marketing consultant.

The beauty of Google Places is that it’s for business customers only, therefore your business search listing doesn’t get tangled up with all the normal ‘junk’ delivered in standard search results.
Google Places is still relatively new, so why not jump aboard now and gain a competitive edge, before your local rivals find it for themselves!

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