Nowadays, potential customers are more likely to look for your phone number or address by typing your business name into a search box at Google than they are to look you up in their telephone directory. If your business isn’t coming up in Google Maps, you are probably losing customers. Here’s how you can make the most out of your free Google Maps listing.
The phone book has always been the first place people look to for local searches, but that is no longer the case. A few years ago, Google introduced Google Maps, providing a local search platform. It has since surpassed the traditional phone book model for local searches. It is a vital marketing tool for any small business that lives and dies with local and walk-in traffic. Google knows, with a fair degree of accuracy, where you are geographically searching from based on your IP address. For example, a search for Italian Restaurants will result in local restaurants specific to the general area where the user is searching.
Many people are familiar with Google Ad Words and pay per click advertising. This can get costly for the small business owner, especially for a start-up business. The cost of marketing your business in this fashion fluctuates, often daily, and it can be time consuming for small business owners to manage their pay per click programs. Google Maps offers another platform for marketing small businesses on the internet.
The best part about Google Maps is that there is no cost involved, so you can market your business and watch your bottom line. It is not complicated to publish your business on Google Maps, and can be accomplished in less than 20 minutes using these step-by-step instructions on how to get your business on Google Maps.
- Type your business address into Google Maps. If your business has existed in that general location for some time, it will probably show up as a result. This will save you the time of having to re-enter your business’s basic information. However, if it does not show up, you can fill out the form in its entirety by going to the Google Maps home page.
- Pick the listing and click where it says “Claim Your Business.” This will cause a form to load.
- Complete this form with content about your site including your web site address, business hours, a description, business categories you want to be listed under, and up to 10 photos. You can even add a video. Remember, the more content you add, the higher you may be able to rank organically!
- When you click submit, Google will ask you if you want to verify the account by phone or by mail. If you click the “phone” option, you will receive a call in a matter of seconds. Be prepared with pen and paper to record a 5 digit PIN. Enter the PIN in the box for that purpose on your screen.
- You should be active. Check back often to see charts indicating your listing’s activity, clicks to your website and directions to your establishment. Also, you will be able to see how many impressions your listing receives (how many times it shows up on Google Maps).
- Be sure to constantly update your listing with new information, including photos, videos and coupons. Don’t forget to update your website at least once a month. Your website is your storefront in cyberspace. Make a good impression.
This is only one of many ways to market your business locally on the internet.
Remember, it’s not who you know…it’s who knows you!
Steve Bookspan is an internet marketing expert. He handles all aspects of your online presence, from making a website to getting it noticed online., or call 631-902-2212