During a recent trip I found myself in search of the nearest coffee shop. Instead of wandering around until I came across one or asking a stranger for directions, I consulted Google on my smartphone, which gave me numerous choices, customer reviews, contact information and more. I satisfied my caffeine craving without wasting a second of time.
Americans have rushed to embrace smartphone technology, which has a huge impact on how businesses reach consumers. With these advances comes a need for business owners to stay on top of the trends. 15 years ago would a business choose to not be included in the Yellow Pages? Of course not. Nowadays, Google Places is becoming the Yellow Pages of the internet – a critical reference point regardless of where a business is located.
Millions of people use Google each day to access information about their surrounding area. As a retailer, you can claim your business by going through the simple verification process that Google has in place. Access does require a free Google account, which takes only a couple of minutes to complete, if you don’t already have one.
After staking your claim through the Local Business Center, according to Google you may “supplement [your] business information to include hours of operation, photos, videos, coupons, product offerings and more. It also lets [you] communicate with customers and get insights that help…make smart business decisions.”
Like the Yellow Pages, the basic listing is completely free, however, you may choose to purchase an upgraded level of advertising. For $25.00 a month, you can place tags on Google Maps, which are “are yellow markers that allow business owners to promote important aspects of their businesses” like specials, features, discounts, photos, etc.
With all the new location-based applications popping up each week, it can be tough to stay on top of them all. If you choose to only use one, I would advise that Google Places be the leader. It is too easy to use and too important to ignore.