By Tricia Allenson
There was a time, not so very long ago, when looking for local businesses meant diving into the Yellow Pages. Remember them? , “Let Your Fingers Do The Walking”, what happened to the Yellow Pages anyway? It gave the mailman a hernia delivering it, but you likely haven’t seen them for years. Maybe, like the local Blockbuster Video and Kodak Film store, they simply outlived their usefulness? Or maybe they just didn’t evolve with technology quick enough to stay relevant.
Standing-out locally in a sea of competition requires understanding and utilizing every available resource and competitive advantage you have available to you. Let’s assume your product or service is the best around but nobody seems to know about you, and you don’t seem to come up in search engines at all.
Whalaa! , Google Local Business Listings to the rescue!
You’ve no doubt seen this service but maybe didn’t realize it is something any local business owner can take advantage of, but few do.
Getting a Google Local Business Listing means, among other things, that when someone has a craving for Chinese food and instructs Siri to find something nearby and quick you will come up at or near the top of the list. Competition from the big national chains (for instance, Red Dragon Chinese Food) will also likely fall below your listing because you’re filtered for location relevancy first, using the GPS of the smart phone user. That gives you the “just down the street” local presence you want.
Most business information is accessed now from mobile devices (55% according to research), so having your hours of operation, pictures and map details front and center not only optimizes your listing for search engines it immediately helps your customers find you and make the decisions that lead to your success. It can also make you less reliant on Google Ad Words, saving you money in the process. And, by the way, Google actually further credits you with more traffic by being smart phone friendly.
A Google my business listing allows customers to leave reviews, and great reviews might be your single best promotional asset. 88% of consumers said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and are satisfied once they have read up to 10 online reviews for a local business. (Consumer Review Survey)
You’re probably thinking, pretty cool; everything here makes sense and means more business, more money, what’s the catch? No catch, it’s free, really, just Google it.