For such small devices, smartphones have had a massive impact on the way we do almost everything, including marketing. Long gone are the days when customers arrived at your doorstep by car or by foot. These days, customers are most likely to find you online.
While creating a website is easier than ever before, it still takes time. But there is another way to drive customers to your door that is both quick and easy to implement.
What is Google Maps?
Google Maps is a web mapping service. It offers satellite imagery, street maps, 360° panoramic views of streets, real-time traffic conditions, and route planning.
If you’re not currently using this nifty feature, you may as well not exist. People look through their smartphones like a second pair of eyes. In 2015, the use of mobile devices surpassed the use of computers for local search activity. An added bonus for those with websites, is that Google Maps is beneficial for search engine optimisation (SEO) as well.
Shopping and choosing with Google Maps
Mobile devices now play a significant role in shopping, with 52 per cent of smartphone users saying they look for local information while they’re on the go, and 90 per cent admitting they use their devices while actively shopping.
Significantly, Google reports that over half of consumers visited a store or business within one day of using their smartphone to conduct a local search. This means customers are increasingly relying on their smartphones to find the closest, and best choice for them.
So how do you make sure they find you?
Businesses with a website still carry the critical responsibility of making sure it is optimised for mobile browsing. Not only is a mobile-responsive website easier to view, but optimised websites like these are automatically favoured by Google algorithms, allowing them to be seen above competitors in search results. For businesses in a saturated, competitive market, this can be the difference between success and failure.
If your business is not currently listed on Google Maps, you may as well be trading underground. Not sure how to register? Follow these quick steps to get started:
Using your computer…
- Open Google Maps and make sure you’re signed in;
- Zoom in on the map and pinpoint the location of your business;
- Towards the bottom right, click ‘Send feedback’;
- Click ‘Add a missing place’;
- Drag the marker where your business is, and add any relevant information;
- Click ‘Submit’.
Avoid tiny mistakes
This may seem redundant to mention, but it’s imperative to check that your listed details are correct. A tiny mistake in your address or phone number could cost you thousands in traffic (not to mention dollars).
Small businesses doing it well
Despite facing tough competition from a dozen or more pizzerias in close proximity, Queensland restaurant Julius Pizzeria not only shows up on searches for South Brisbane, but ranks higher in Google search results when searching for similar businesses in neighbouring suburbs too.
Additionally, the 103 overly positive reviews on Google (at the time of this article) further endorses the popularity of the venue, taking visitors straight to their website and online booking form.
Curiously, Julius Pizzeria is located down a relatively small laneway, with limited access and parking. If the business was reliant on actual foot traffic, it’s possible that the cosy little restaurant might face the danger of never being found. Fortunately, through maximising their online exposure, Julius is quickly gaining a reputation as a restaurant in demand.
Likewise, Carolina Kitchen is a cute American style diner in a little corner of Coorparoo. A local search for several of their keywords takes customers straight to reviews on reputable sites or apps like Urbanspoon and Zomato. These kinds of websites allow prospective diners to filter restaurants by location, putting them one click away from Google Maps for immediate directions.
It’s easy enough to make sure you show up in local searches even if you haven’t got your website up and running yet. Let your customer’s smartphones drive them straight to your door. Top it off by wooing them with your food and service so they leave you with a great review as well.
About the Author
Lana de Kort is a published author and business writer with over 20 years experience working with industry, commerce and community. In 2014 she co-founded a network of over 21 writers across Australia.