Use the Power of Google to Raise Your Local Profile

You know the old saying, “All politics is local”? Well, now it’s not just politics. All business is local – and if you’re not using Google to reach out to prospects in your immediate local area, you’re missing out on a huge (and free) opportunity to expand your customer base.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a few convergent trends emerge. First, people are more interested in what’s going on in their specific city, town, or neighborhood. So-called “hyperlocal” blogs are proliferating even as national media struggle. Second, more folks are using their mobile phones to connect to the Internet and find local businesses and service providers.  As a small business owner, you’ve got to make yourself visible to anybody searching in your area – whether they’re on a fully equipped desktop computer with a 20-inch flat screen display or whether they’re peering at a 2.4-inch BlackBerry screen.

If you take five minutes to set up a Place Page through Google Local Business Center, you can raise the visibility of your company to anybody searching for relevant businesses in your area. You can even create coupons that can either be printed on paper or displayed on mobile phones.

1. Go to http://google.com/lbc.

2. Either create a Google account or use your existing sign-in.

3. You’ll be taken to the Dashboard. Under Locations, click Add new listing.

4. You’ll be taken to a page where you fill out preliminary information such as address, email, website address, and description. As you fill out the information, you’ll see your listing appear in the map to the right.  Here’s an example for the fictitious business “Ray’s Pies” in Cambridge, Massachusetts.Google Local Business Center example

5. When you’re finished filling out that information, click Next. You’ll then be taken to a page that asks for more detailed info, such as hours and payment methods. You can even post a picture of your products or storefront. When you’re finished, click Submit.

6. And it’s that easy! Google will contact you to verify your information, and then your full profile will be publicly available on what’s called a “Place Page.” A Place Page includes not only all the information you just supplied, but also ratings for your business, reviews, related maps, nearby transit options, and the Street View preview of your location. You can get to your Place Page by searching on your business in Google and then clicking on “more info” in your Google Maps search results or “more info” in the info bubble on the map.

To learn more about Google Local Business Center, including how to create custom coupons, join us on our free live Webinar covering Google tools, to be held on Thursday, March 25 at noon Central Standard Time.  Click here to register.

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