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Learn about the new Google+ local and discover how to use it for your business.
00:05 – Check out the NEW Google+ local
00:29 – How to create a Google+ business page
02:26 – Uploading images to your Google+ account
02:53 – How to upload videos to Google+
03:37 – Can you manage multiple pages with one account?
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In May 2012, search engine giant Google formally announced the replacement of Google Places with Google Plus Local, the focal point of which is the integration of Zagat reviews. In April 2013, Google rolled out updates for Google+ Local, particularly in the dashboard which is useful for businesses in terms of tweaking the information that comes out during search results.
One of the first things business owners will notice is the redesign of the dashboard which seeks to make it consistent with the search engine giant’s other products. On the left hand side, you can notice the tabs for Listing, Google+ Page, AdWords Express and Offers.
The new dashboard also allows business owners to share content like photos and videos on their Google+ page, unlike before where you could only post or make edits by logging on directly to your page.
Another notable tweak to Google+ Local is the faster time it takes for updates made by a user to appear on Google’s products including Maps.
But despite all of these, Google+ Local is still a work in progress. That does not mean that you should not take advantage of this useful tool to help boost your online presence. For consumers, it offers the benefits to easily search the service or establishment they are looking for, be it a bar, restaurant or hotel. Users have the option to personalize search results with the “People Like You” feature. Users can add their own photos and reviews which other users can compare with reviews from Zagat.
Essentially, this means that information culled from the World Wide Web will continue to play an integral role in the decision making process of consumers in terms of where to eat or stay. In order to better respond to this, it is a good idea to reinforce your online presence by regularly updating your own website as well as your social media assets. This allows consumers to find out more about you and what you have to offer should they come across your business while they are searching Google. If you are still sitting on the fence about whether you need a Google+ page or not, the answer is this: you do need one. Having your own page allows you to seamlessly integrate both the information about your business as well as your online branding with Google’s other products.
With all of these in mind, the idea of having an online presence being a mere luxury, instead of being an integral part of a business’s marketing effort, is slowly eroding.
Discover how to use of search results to boost your business.
In this video:
00:12 – Your business and the search results
00:27 – What people do with the search results
00:47 – What we can do for you
00:59 – The tools we use
01:10 – These will give your business a boost
Check out the basic marketing techniques that can help your business and discover more about “Pull” marketing.
00:33 – Marketing methods unchanged until the early 2000
00:54 – Print ads as one of the oldest form of advertising
01:30 – Smart phones as a business tool
02:19 – The difference between the “push” and “pull” marketing
02:51 – Getting your business presence online
03:31 – Set your website to be viewable on mobile devices
03:40 – Check out UniversalBusinessListings.org for basic setup
03:50 – More about “pull” marketing in the next post
03:56 – Visit WebMarketingPartnersBlog.com for more information
If not why not? You may think that a brand is only something big companies do and that it costs lots of money, but you would be incorrect.
A brand can be created very inexpensively, however it does take some careful thought. Because once your brand is created you need to live the brand in your business everyday at every touch point and customer interaction. From logos and business cards to the way your staff answers the phone.
Experts like Tim Reid, who I had the chance to interview, recommend that a small business should write out a document stating very clearly what their brand will represent and what it will look like, physically. They should also define how, where and in what way it would interact with customers and the market place.
Tim has some interesting and fun ways of helping companies create their brand. I have put a link at the end of this article to part of my interview with Tim. He provides great tips on how to go about this process.
Two very key points about branding. First when you create a brand for your business, it is much harder for customers to stop doing business with you. The brand helps establish an emotional tie to your business.
Second, a brand allows you to charge more for your product or service. When your product or service is thought of as a brand, it is no longer a commodity. Or just one of many similar products, it becomes distinct and unique.
Here is an example. A lawn mowing business is a service business. Joe’s lawn mowing is just one of many lawn mowing services. One is more or less just like the other. Joe shows up in an old pickup truck, Joe does the mowing fast and is out of there in a hurry. Joe has a tight schedule he doesn’t like to change his day for mowing; in fact it is hard to reach Joe.
But the Superior Lawn Mowing Service has created a brand. All their vehicles, although not new, are clean and freshly washed, and have the name and logo on them. They carefully sweep up any grass that is left behind, on walkways or on the driveway. They all wear simple blue uniforms; with the name and company logo.
They are extra polite and courteous to all their customers. They leave a survey after each mowing. Asking if there is anything more they can do to make the lawn mowing better for their customer. They also remind the customer that they can provide special services if the customer is having a party or event at their home. An extra mowing the day before the event a touch up trim of the shrubs even a discount on flowers for the event, (which they have worked out with a local florist.)
When you call them they are always very pleasant on the phone. Whatever your request they are happy to try and solve it. If the answer machine takes the call someone calls back within one hour.
Would you pay more to have the Superior Company mow your lawn? Would it be hard to fire them? Would you recommend them to friends?
Now ask the same questions about Joe’s Lawn Mowing.
Creating a brand is important but also deciding what your values are and what the brand represents is vital. Because once you put the brand in place your company must live up to you brand’s mission statement.
“By the end of 2013, more people will access the Internet via a mobile device than through a PC.”
“Approximately one in every three mobile searches is local.”
“Google mobile search volume has increased 500 percent over the past two years and continues to accelerate.”
~The above quotes taken from Advertising Age Magazine.
What does this mean for businesses? It means that businesses need to take a fresh look at what they are doing. How are they reaching, reacting to and serving their customers.
The first change almost all businesses have to make is to focus on mobile communications and mapping. Mobile devices being used in local markets support more searches for products and services than do desktops and laptops.
Mobile platforms can be a low cost and efficient way to reach customers, if used correctly. Mobile text, applications for smart phones and tablets as well as maps are all essential tools businesses should be using.
Many businesses are missing the migration to mobile communications are falling behind. The old world of the yellow pages and land-line phones is very much in the past.
The consumer is now using mobile for all his/her needs. Mobile communication is tied irrevocably to maps and location.
What to do?
Implement all the local listing services for your business. Set up free accounts with Yelp.com, Bing and Google Plus Local. Make sure you are being found. Also make sure Google is listing your business in local maps, if you are a locally based business, or serve a specific geographic area. A free Yelp account and a Google Plus Local account will take care of this.
Make it easy to call, message or email your business, highlight a phone number and a smart phone app for Android iPhone maybe a very good investment. They do not need to be expensive and can bring in repeat business. Since your customers will go to the app directly to place an order, make an appointment, reservation or communicate with you.
Pay close attention to reviews. Google has now put the Zagat service into it’s Google Plus Local and wants to become the online authority for reviews. Yelp.com and Tripadvisor.com also promote reviews and are “go-to sources” for consumers who need to choose a product or service.
Don’t let your competition get the better of you in 2013 embrace the mobile search economy and you will prosper and have a boom year.
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There have been reports from many business owners about their sales picking up after having their business listed in Google Places or Google Local, which is sort of like the Yellow Pages in this digital age. Naturally, if you’re an entrepreneur, having your business among the first items in a listing — and boasting positive Google reviews to boot — definitely work to your advantage.
If you have yet to have your business listed and claimed in Google’s Places for Business, do so now so you can get started on asking your customers to provide reviews in your listing. With new reviews being added, Google determines your listing as fresh and ranks it higher. To claim your business, you only need to find your Google Places listing. If it has yet to be claimed, an option to claim it will be offered to you. Some experts also advise to use GetListed.org, which will ensure listing not only in Google but in other listing sites as well, such as Bing, Yahoo!, HotFrog, Yelp, etc. If you want to cover all bases, list and claim your business in Google Places and then go over to GetListed just to be thorough.
Listing your business with a link to your site is always great for increasing online popularity and optimizing search results. Of course, some businesses don’t have a website, but this doesn’t by any means stop Google Places from helping them. In fact, part of the benefit is that a business without a website still gets to have an online presence. People go online all the time to search for services and establishments, so they can still opt to check it out over the competition.
If, on the other hand, you yourself want to do a Google review, then you must have a Google account, which will allow you to post a review on a certain listing. If you click “Reviews” or the link that says “Write a Review,” you’ll be taken to the review form. Simply click your ranking of the business and then type out your review. Hit “Publish” when you’re done.
As for getting customers to review your business, you may send an email asking politely to provide a review of your business on Google. To make it easier for them to do as you ask, provide all the necessary links and a simple direction on how to go about providing a review. Offline, you could provide business cards with a request to review your service or product online. Of course, along with the request, the links and instructions should be furnished as well.
Being included in a listing that matters as well as boasting great testimonials from happy customers can certainly do wonders for your sales. It’s definitely one of the musts in today’s business strategies.
Google remains to be the main overlord in the virtual world. Its name is still synonymous with online searches. In terms of business, it has a free local platform for enterprises. Through Google Places for Business, entrepreneurs can make sure that their office or shop is included in the database when consumers in their area search for local businesses.
If you own a business and wish for it to stand out, you can optimize your listing in Places for Business with photos and videos, updated business hours, address, custom categories (service area, parking, merchandise, etc.), and coupons. You may even place ads and show current and prospective customers why they should choose you over other similar local listings.
The great thing about this platform is that Google provides an avenue for connection between the business and its customers. Through the interactive provision for reviews, all parties are able to benefit. People can find the business that suits their needs the most as well as extend help to others who would like to get further information about a particular shop or service. At the same time, businesses do not only have a venue for their promotion, they also get a legitimate backlink source as well as a chance to boost their search rankings and overall online visibility.
Using Places for Business means a broad and far reach for your business. Google’s quest for full integration lends itself very useful in this case. Your otherwise local listing is easily found on other Google search engines, such as Google.com and Google Maps. It also means being able to claim your business and edit details about it to be more accurate and complete.
As mentioned, listing with Places for Business is free of charge, so it’s a very practical marketing option for business owners. There’s also the benefit of being able to maintain an Internet presence even without a website. It takes but a few minutes to create a listing and it’s so easy to manage as well. You can add notifications, edit information, and find out the number of people who’ve seen and clicked on your listing.
Google does require that people who sign up verify their application by phone or postcard as a safeguard against hackers who might want to tamper with your business’s public data.
Indeed, Google Places for Business offers a great marketing opportunity. While it doesn’t take technical knowledge to manage a listing, it does require insider know-how to optimize it to complement SEO and other online marketing efforts. To make the most out of Places for Business, you can hire professionals to handle your listing for you.