So you’ve heard of Google, right? Maybe you’ve used it to search the web or as a personal email solution. Perhaps you’ve also used Google Maps for directions to your cousin’s wedding? If you have a smart phone, you might have even used it to find a nearby store when your significant other forgot the gift at home… Maybe you haven’t used it that way at all, but others have, and if your business is a nearby store that isn’t listed on Google Places, you may be missing opportunities. More and more people have started using Google services in this manner and your business can take advantage of that…for free. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Put Your Business on The Map!
Of course, the first step is creating your Google Places profile. You want to be sure your business appears on the map when someone scrolls through your area. Make sure you’ve listed yourself under relevant categories so your on-map icon attracts the right people. A martini glass makes sense for a night club, not a jewelry store.
Give Them a Reason to Choose You
Think of Google Places as your business’s universal online contact entry. It’s like an interactive phone directory that anyone can access from anywhere, including their phones! Be sure to list your address, phone number, website, upcoming events and whatever other information your customers might be interested in. The more ways you open yourself up for contact, the more people will contact you. Just make sure they can contact you in the way that is most convenient for THEM.
Brick And Mortar? Let Them Know When to be There
It’s my belief that people don’t like to waste time. Having your (correct) hours of operation listed online tells customers that they won’t drive to your store for nothing. You put your hours and an “open” sign in the window, right? The internet is just a bigger window with more people walking by. Many of them won’t come in if they don’t think you’re open. Let them know that you are.
Don’t forget the Details
Google Places allows you to customize some of the information you display. Do you have an awkward parking situation? Does your business offer a handicap accessible ramp? Do you stock special or hard to find items? Let your customers know! They’ll thank you for the courtesy and you’ll thank them for their business.
Let Them Give Back to You
Feedback is important, so encourage your customers to leave reviews on your Google Places page. This not only lets you know what you’re doing right or wrong, but also gives potential customers a reason to stop in. Remember, both positive and negative feedback can improve your business. When someone leaves feedback, especially negative feedback, RESPOND! That’s why they left you the note. If they didn’t want you to fix the problem, they wouldn’t take the time to let you know about it. (Don’t stop there! See our post on how and where to get customer feedback)