Among the top free online marketing tools for business owners today is Google Places. 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 attract local consumers. And even though millions of customers are looking for local businesses using Google Local Marketing, or popularly known as Google Maps Marketing, each day, Google offers the tool for free. Now is the time to learn 10 quick tips on how you can use Google Places to attract new local clients to your business:
Tip 1 - Use your real Business Name
Some businesses have gone to extremes and stuffed extra words into their Business name. This has helped them get a short-term foot-up in local listings but Google is clamping down on this conduct and these businesses will suffer in the future. That said you can consider adding 1-2 keywords in your name as long as it sounds natural and accurately represents your business.
Here's an example: Real business name - Fred Withers Ltd
Google Places listing name - Fred Withers Plumbing Ltd
Tip 2 - Ensure your Business Information is 100% accurate
Accuracy of your business information is crucial. Give your prospect customers what they're looking for exactly: the correct business information. Here is the information you need to add 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 Use the right Business Categories and lots of them
There are 5 different categories you can list your business on Google Maps Marketing. It's important that you choose your category carefully. You want your potential customer to find your business under the right category. Google will suggest categories; it's best to use 1 or 2 of them even if it looks inappropriate 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
Despite Google's 200-characters limit on the business description, make your description complete. The idea is to put the top keywords & business terms in the short description. Highlight your credibility by using terms like accredited, professional, trusted, etc. on the description.
Tip 5 - Include Photos & Video
Google local listings permit for 10 photos and a short video, so make sure you use them all. It's time to learn a thing or two about shooting a short 1-2 minute video and marketing your business to your clients. This might make you cringe and say, really? Why? 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. Show them who you are and you'll standout from the other businesses on Google Maps Marketing.
Tip 6 - Maximize Google Local Listings the Extra Details
Take advantage of the extra details Google Places will ask for like your opening hours, coverage areas, payment methods accepted, and available facilities. Google and your potential customers will thank you for including these specific details on your Google Places listing.
Tip 7 - Invest time to complete the Services Section
At the end of each Google Places listing are the services you can enumerate. 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. Be creative with your Service listings and use this area to cram in lots of relevant service keywords, but don't use location names (a big no, no!).
Here is 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
Local customers love special offers and so does Google so take advantage of this feature. Create a unique discount coupon that is offered only to users of Google Maps Marketing. This will help your business standout from others and will help convert online browsers into new, real customers.
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. This can worry some business owners, but for those who know how to take advantage, it's a great opportunity.
You need to get as many citations as you can on Google Local Marketing:
1. List your business on few more 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 businesses and place this on a separate part of your website-make a special page for each offer if you have to. Let the target clients know about your offer through your Google local SEO and offline ad campaign and provide them the link to your site. Ask them to put it on their company 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 multiple online directories such as Yelp.com, Qype, Insider Pages, and TripAdvisor. Google uses these reviews as another factor in determining how trustworthy your business is. You can motivate your loyal customers to leave reviews about your business on these online directories or on your Google Places listing itself. But, remember that it's more effective to have reviews on online directories because you reach their users as well as Google's so you get more bang for your money.
Most clients are willing to give 5 minutes of their time; there's no need to bribe customers to write a review--this could hurt you in the end. Reviews should be voluntarily made. Google Places now offers a way for business owners to respond to reviews so you can openly thank a loyal client or respond to any bad comments.
Everyone knows that Google local marketing is an important factor in the success of any business, and Google Places makes it an even more powerful marketing tool for local businesses. Google Map's immense users hold huge potential for drawing new customers and growing a business, if used correctly. Astonishingly only a handful of local businesses are applying Google Places listing--it's your turn to try. Claim your listing and get a head start on your competitors before they wise up!