Local businesses have just had a huge new factor applied to their marketing needs with the advent of Google Places Pages and the Google Map. Those who are quick to act and internet savvy have been handed a huge advantage.
This time around, the techniphobes will suffer. Those who do not take action will loose future customers without knowing what hit them.
Many small businesses with web sites saw little benefit till now. About half of all small businesses have web sites, which implies the other half does not. The reason for that? Those who had web sites were seldom seen unless someone already knew to search for them specifically.
Those who waited to get web sites may have the last laugh. With Google Places Pages, they may never need to get additional web sites of their own.
Now they will still want to get found when someone is searching for them. Web sites will still play a huge positive role to those who know how to use them. Google Places pages is a turning point in online marketing. Those who act now and act effectively will benefit by getting a larger share of the “new” customers in any market.
New customers are the lifeblood of any business.
A good web site can tell many stories to those who read it. The primary purpose of a web site though for most business was to get seen by new custoemrs. From now on, in most cases that function will be dominated by Google Places Page search results.
The places page service will (and to large degree already has) replace the traditional role played by the Yellow Pages in the last century.
When people have a need for goods or services that they do not have an already established supplier for, they go the easiest reference source they have to find possible solutions. In the old days that meant turning to the Yellow pages to find a dentist or auto repair shop if one didn’t already have a regular supplier.
Today, the majority of people do that search online and of those who do most rely on Google. This is true of all age groups, but is even more predominant in the younger generations where the Yellow Pages are seldom used at all.
This online search traffic is valuable. And this is why Google has focused on it, and redesigned their entire search process to meet the needs of this population of searchers.
Google wants to replace the Yellow Pages recognizing that businesses are willing to pay high advertising fees to get active prospects. People who are searching for a supplier are doing it because they have a need and thus they are much easier to convert into customers and cash. Same is true with the online version today.
But now, despite the volume of buyers who are finding suppliers online Google is offering in essence a free ad to any business who takes the time to effectively complete their listing. It might not always be free? It’s such a huge value today, its amazing so few people have woken up to its value today. Afterall, it’s free.
Now Google is selling little tags for $25 a month that provide additional visibility, and will eventually make revenues from that means. Their initial goal is to get their online directory as complete as possible.
To get businesses to fill out their listings as fully as possible, Google rewards those who do by giving them a higher ranking on the Google Map than those who only to a partial job or fail to do it at al.
We know from past studies of organic search results, that ranking matters. The higher your business ranks, the more calls you will get compared to the others in almost all cases. As a general rule you will get more business by being higher ranked, and a quantum more calls than if you are on the second page of results.
Today, for many businesses in many communities across the world the word is just beginning to get out. In many niche, in many cities it is still incredibly easy to get a top listing on the Google Places search results.
It’s so easy, that many businesses are making a mistake and not taking the time to learn what is needed to ultimately prevail when the word gets out more fully in the marketplace. And it will. They need to understand that they need to not only completely fill in their listing, but also show up on Googles competitors. Within months for some and perhaps years for others, what will matter even more is the accumulation of positive reviews from satisfied customers.
The technology consumers use has changed and will continue to do so. The reality is that it’s not changed at all from the merchants perspective. A local business need to be where the customers are, or where the customers are looking. And that means a business must be visible when their prospective customers to a Google Places search.
The development of Google Places pages as a major force in local marketing has lead to the development of a new blog of mine which will focus on Google Places Search
[tags]Google places pages, Google places search, Google map[/tags]