A great way for traditional “brick & mortar” businesses to generate more sales is to grab up the “low hanging fruit” the Internet provides. One very popular local tool is Google Maps. What started just as a way to find directions and location turned into one of the largest marketing venues on the Internet.
Yellowpages with Opinions
With the ability to search for what you want in relation to your local community, Google Maps turned into a dynamic online phone book of sorts. Even if you still want to “let your fingers do the walking,” one thing your large bound infobook won’t give you is reviews.
You can read reviews left by people who visited your location or you can write one for another business. The power is left to the people and this is a great way to market yourself in your community.
If you own a restaurant, you could leave a laptop out and ask people as they leave if they could write a little snippet on how well you served them or if you liked the food.
If you own a service business, tie in an incentive for them to review your service on the site
The more effort you put into getting your business reviewed, the more likely you’ll position higher on the map and the more people will read what other people have said. At that point you win for your name being mentioned over and over to the surfer.
Utilizing the tools that you would usually use to find something on the net locally will get you more recognition and more leads to your main site. Don’t try to fake out Google with posting bogus reviews for your own business. It’s not cool and you’ll wind up hurting yourself. If you get a negative review, remember that there are several other people who probably feel the same way so make sure. If it is bogus, it can be flagged and further steps can be taken. Remember, people are already talking about your business and this is a great way to find out what they are saying and either fix it or promote it.
Toss out the Yellowpage Ad?
Once you put a stake in the ground with Google Maps, it might be tempting to not advertise in the Yellowpages. This will need to take some number crunching. Some businesses still get calls from the Yellowpages, if anything to find the number to call you. Those not “hip” to searching for information on the Internet will still consult the Big Yellow Book of Numbers. If your business can survive by leaving out a non-Internet customer base or if you are confidant that everyone can call you without the need of electricity, then maybe you can stop the ad.
Keep testing to find out where your leads are coming from. Give a different local number for your yellow page ad, add a landing page that comes from the Google Maps listing, test, test, test. Once you see how Google Maps can be an asset you might incorporate it more into your marketing.