Thanks to the Internet, gone are the days when businesses have to rent or lease signboards and ad space for ludicrous prices. Indeed, one can find viable and free advertising spaces and listings on the web that can be used for marketing, such as Google Places for Business. Care for some free advertising space on Google?
Google Places for Business
A Google Places for Business account is a Google listing that comes with a Place Page for your business. It’s basically an enhanced business listing where you can add every bit of detail you want — from operating hours to addresses to special events and promos, and of course, real time updates a la Google+. You can sign up for free and add your business listing immediately, and Google will verify the authenticity of your business and ownership through various means, including referring to Yellow Pages listings as well as contacting you directly to provide an ownership authentication PIN. What’s important to note here is that Google Places for Business is more than just a listing and more than just free advertising space on Google: it is a profile of your business where all the information needed by your target market can be accessed.
How to Get “Listed”
There are a few things to make sure of before attempting to list your business in Google Places for Business. Among the most important ones:
- Every listing must have a physical mailing address
- Only one listing per location
- Only certain countries support Google Places for Business
- Listing follows Google Places guidelines for quality, found here.
If you think you and your business satisfy these important requirements, head on over to http://www.google.com/local/add to list a new business or add an existing one to your Google Account. If you do not have a Google Account yet, you will need to sign up for one using one of Google’s Services such as Gmail.
After adding your listing, you need to verify your listing (either via phone or postcard), and then simply wait for approval, upon which your listing will then be able to appear on Google. For more detailed listing and verification information, this is a good place to start.
Should You Have Your Business Listed?
There is really no downside to having your business listed on this Google service and taking advantage of free advertising on Google. Aside from the time and effort it might take to add the listing and have it verified — which is pretty petty — the only real issue someone might have with the service is that it might not suit their needs as a major marketing vehicle. Google Places for Business is extremely effective for local marketing and creating a local presence, and it also integrates well with AdWords express, but if these are not priority goals for your business, then you might want to invest heavily (in terms of time, effort, and perhaps money) on something else.
As for Google, they are not merely giving away free advertising space — they are trying to enrich and improve the ecommerce and personalized marketing experience of their end-users.