I recently had a new client come onboard. He had already been in business for about 5 years and had a “unit” or small warehouse where he kept his stock. Most of his business had come through “word of mouth” but there were peaks and valleys. He realized he wanted to grow his market from just the Toronto area where his present clients are to establish a presence in the Barrie area, where he is located and now has a StoreFront Unit and wanted to spread the word about his business to all of Ontario. He wanted to update his website to show his current stock and expand on the services he offered that few knew about. And he wanted to get his website listed much higher in Google.
One of the first strategies I suggested was to get his business listed in Google Places. He asked what was the use of getting in Google Places?
So I asked him a series of questions…
Where do you go to find businesses – the Yellow Pages or the internet?
His answer: the internet. Not surprising because about 90% of people search on the Internet now. Approximately 1 in 10 people still refer to the Yellow Pages. Most Yellow Pages books reside in people’s closets getting dusty with no use. And even if they do refer to the Yellow Pages, their next step is usually to search the internet for the business’s site to get more information. It is ironic that if people can’t find a website associated with the business, it is perceived that the business is very new, very small, very old or not very successful or professional if they don’t have a website.
How many people do you know who use Smartphones?
His answer: almost everyone I know has a smartphone now. Again, not surprising!
Recent statistics on Smartphones:
- 4.1 billion mobile phones worldwide
- 87% of US Cellphone Users have Smartphones
- Smartphones will eclipse PC sales in 2012
And where does Google Places fit in? Approximately 90% of the population will find you through an internet search (whether it be on a PC or smartphone). If your site and Google Places listing are search engine optimized correctly, people will find you whether they are looking for your company name or by your keyword terms in Google.
Some other advantages to your Google Places Listing:
You can customize your listing to not only include your contact information but your hours, the addition of a Google Map to show your location, how you take payment, your hours of operation, highlighting your specialties, you can add videos to your listing or pictures of your products and most importantly it can be optimized for the search engines including location, e.g. cupcakes in Barrie Ontario Canada. An additional benefit, is that your customers can write reviews of your services and recommend you. And, you can post updates to your Places page such as specials, new products and services, events, etc.
And my last question to the client:
What is the cost for a Yellow Pages ad you want? His answer did not match the cost of a Google Places ad – IT IS FREE!