Advertising can be very expensive, especially traditional forms of advertising such as print media, radio and television. Online marketing has made it much easier to reach a targeted customer base at a much lower price point but it is not often that you can obtain an effective advertising solution absolutely free of charge. If you own a small business and have not yet claimed your free Google Places listing you are missing one of the most cost effective small business marketing tactics available.
What is a Google Places listing?
Google Places listings are business listings that are coordinated with Google Maps entries and help consumers using Google to search for products and services to locate businesses that provide those products and services in a specific location. To see how this works go to Google and type “dentist” into the search box and look at the results. You will likely see a section within the search results that is titled “Places for dentist near your city, your zip code”. The actual city displayed may or may not be your exact location but it will likely be very close to your current location. Underneath that heading you will see a number of red tear-drop shaped icons with a letter inside them that correspond to locations on a map that you should find on the right hand side of the screen that highlight the physical location of the business. If you click into the map you will see the red pinpoints identify the specific location of each business and a listing of them down the left hand side of the page. Each of these listing will have a title that can be clicked through to a Google Places page where additional information about the business can be found.
What businesses should be on Google Places?
Every business should be listed on Google Places. Perhaps not every business, there are a few business models that should not be on Google Places, but most small businesses, and certainly any business with a physical brick and location should have a Google Places Listing. Every day some number of people are performing a search in Google for a term related to your business and the results displayed may or may not include your business. Google will include business listings that it obtains from third parties but it will rank them lower than businesses that have claimed their listing and optimized it.
Getting started with Google Places
Most small business marketing budgets are very limited and as a free service Google Places is one of the most cost-effective strategies available. Claiming your listing or adding a new listing is the first step but getting your listing to the top of the list will take a bit more work. How much work? One of the best places to get started with Google places is in reading the Places for Business Guide from Google. If you follow the guidelines here you will be on your way to improving your small business marketing savvy through an optimized Google Places listing. If you want to capture that top spot then you likely will need the help of a professional and small business marketing specialist BizVisibility can assist you in optimizing your Google Places listing so that it moves up the list and drives more leads to your business.