Google Places is an excellent way to promote your local business to prospective customers. Google Places provides customers with a map of your location, reviews, ratings, and general business information. Best of all, adding your business to Google Places is able to increase your customer base at little or no cost to you.
We all know that Google is the top search engine, worldwide. When local customers seek any type of service – whether it be car repair, electronics purchases, or maintenance services – Google Places is much more likely to be used than the Yellow Pages.
How does Google Places work?
Potential customers search Google for businesses that pertain to their specific need. Google Places automatically coordinates into the Google search, providing the customer with an address, phone number, and reviews of local businesses which provide the sought service.
Personally, I use Google Places to find any business services that I need. For instance, I recently had my vehicle's oil changed. Using Google Places provided me with directions to the business, as well as reviews from previous customers.
I was able to save a significant amount of money and time by using Google Places to find what I was looking for.; while the business was able to gain a customer without spending any money on advertising. It's a win-win situation for both. Many prospective customers will do the same exact search to find their favorite businesses and restaurants that are within their local servicing area.
How do I add my business to Google Places?
There are numerous ways to go about adding your site to Google Places. Many SEO experts use Google Places as the first source of adding a “backlink” to the business' website. This not only adds business exposure, but also creates a higher “Page Rank” within Google's rating system.
To manually add your business to Google Places, visit http://google.com/places. From this point, you would enter your business information into a “new business listing” category; which would include a location of your business, website (if applicable), and a contact telephone number to reach your business.
Within 1-2 weeks, Google will add your business to their search result listings. Prospective clients will now see your business within search results, and a small “pin” will be added to Google Places' map when the customer searches for that specific type of business or service.
Why should I add my business to Google Places?
The best form of advertising is, of course, word-of-mouth advertising. When local customers have good experiences with your business, Google Places allows the customer to create a review about the service that they received from you. This provides prospective customers with the ability to make an informed buying decision on which business that they would like to choose for their particular need.
Obviously, for most small business owners, obtaining new customer is just as important as repeat customers. When leads are generated from Google Places, new customers are obtained; and with a good experience, repeat customers are retained.
By allowing your customers to review and rate their experience with your business, you are enhancing the very free-enterprise system that originally started your small business in the first place. Most buying decisions are based off of reviews and customer referrals. This is an excellent way to add buying-decision power to your prospective customers.
How can I gain leads from Google Places?
We have already mentioned how to gain new and prospective customers through referrals and searches – but what about leads? Does your business want to add a database of customers' email addresses, phone numbers, or other information?
This is the best part. In order to gain customer information, all that you must do is direct the customer to your website with a link in Google Places.
When the customer clicks on the link for your website, they can be taken to a “squeeze page” to gather information. Here, the customer enters their email address and other relevant contact information.
Using Google Places as a lead generation tool has proven to be the most cost effective way of gaining leads and prospective customers for your small business. Take advantage of this opportunity today by visiting http://google.com/places.