Small business marketing is all about making the most of opportunities to promote brand awareness. Google Places, Google Maps, and Google Business Listings are free marketing tools that can deliver a powerful punch in terms of web exposure.
Small businesses – in particular brick and mortar, depend on being discovered by passing trade. With the increase in use of mobile devices such as the iPhone and other devices, it is essential that you help your prospects to find you. Follow these guidelines to optimize your chances of coming up tops on Google for local search.
Ensure that data is accurate, consistent and current. Across the web, all mentions of your business should be consistent. Google often cross references other data providers. Without consistent data, Google will not trust the data enough to put your business at the top of the pile. Check other data providers such as InfoUSA, Yellow Pages, Localizer and Acxiom for inconsistencies in categorization, telephone numbers and addresses. The goal is to eradicate all inconsistencies. Use local telephone numbers where possible to tie your business into a particular region.
Claim and verify. Claim your business on GLBC (Google Local Business Center) in order to show up on Google Maps. Many proprietors have still not claimed their businesses, by taking action in this area, you can still gain the competitive advantage.
Get clear on categorization. Get crystal clear on categorizing your business. Think about what you would type into a search engine to find a business like yours. Think about products and services. Be specific and don’t overlap. Ensure that categorization is clear across the web in all data references of the business online.
Develop a winning description. Develop a compelling and sales oriented description that will cover your products and services in less than 200 characters. Add your unique selling proposition, and you will stand out from the competition with a winning formula. Use this small business marketing technique to get ahead of the competition.
Use Images and Videos. Google allows for up to 10 images and 5 videos per business. Adding images and videos can engage potential clients, and can visually demonstrate your place in the market. Display your logo and the logos of your trade associations. In addition, display images of brands that you supply and products. Show images of your premises for recognition from passing trade. Upload any commercials.
Use coupons. Google Maps does not have tracking, but by adding coupons you can fill the gap. Furthermore, why not provide your customers with a reason to buy your products or services at a discount?
Use web directories. Google will reward your business with greater search visibility if you spend the time and effort on adding your business to directories, like InfoUSA and Yellow Pages. The more references (remember consistency here) that Google finds, the more Google and people will trust your business.
Encourage customer reviews. Mentions of your business are very important for Google to rank you. Encourage reviews from happy clients, and provide clear directions on how to review. You can request on your business cards, invoices, and receipts.
Google Maps and Business Listings really can push your business into the line of sight of your niche market, just as long as they are optimized for Google. By giving your listings thought and a little extra help, you can build your business and your income through the techniques of small business marketing.