Think of all the things you do to attract customers. Signs, a nice looking storefront, clean interior and of course, a high quality service or product.
These are all good things, but if a prospective customer can’t find you they all go unrecognized.
If you’re viewing this blog entry, you’ve likely used Google Maps to print directions to a business or navigate via your smart phone. The question is: have you used these experiences to improve how your customers navigate to you?
Don’t assume your business location is correct on Google Maps. After navigating around Washington, D.C. the other week, I noted several restaurants blocks from their actual location. Google allows you to change and correct your location, so make sure it’s accurate so customers can find you.
With Google Places, you can pack a lot more information into your location bubble to attract customers your way. It’s common to have your address, phone number and website in Places.
You have the opportunity to include additional basic information like business hours, parking information and broad service category information. You can also go a level deeper by adding pictures, videos and a few sentences about your work.
Reviews and user comments are becoming more and more popular. You may already notice customer comments about your location in Google Maps/Place, Foursquare, and other services. Used in conjunction with a “star rating” system, these become an handy tool for customers to find what they need via their smartphone while out-and-about. Obviously, you hope your services, products and customer service will lend good comments automatically, however, you should monitor this carefully to ensure this happens. If you do receive negative feedback, address it quickly and publicly. This let’s potential customers know you are actively engaged with your current customers and care about making improvements.
Again back to my trip to Washington, D.C., my friend and I would simply search for restaurants when we were hungry. The restaurants on Google Maps with less than 3 stars or negative feedback were brushed over. We narrowed things down to a select few and chose based on customer feedback comments and recommendations. The recommendations all proved to be beneficial and accurate.
Another useful tool is yelp. Yelp helps you locate business establishments in your area. They have a huge user base (over 38 million visitors in the past 30 days; over 12 million local reviews!) This tool provides another market to connect with customers. As they search for broad categories or specific services, having a maintained profile on this service will help customers decide to visit your location. In addition, positive customer reviews make a huge difference on this site as reviews are a heavy focus of the site.