Thursday, September 17, 2009

[G] Spreading the word about Local Business Center

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Google LatLong: Spreading the word about Local Business Center

Last week I was in Anaheim, CA as a new partner with Sysco's iCare program, helping restaurant owners claim their Google business listings with Local Business Center. One interaction that really stuck out in my mind was with Geof Gaines who owns Coffee Depot - the self-described largest coffee house in the world - in Riverside, CA.The hours in his unclaimed business listing were incorrect, and he wanted to add videos to show off the musical acts that perform at his shop. After he verified his listing by phone, he got access to Coffee Depot's dashboard and was immediately able to see that in mid-July, the number of people who found his listing jumped dramatically and has been steadily high ever since. He thought back and realized that the spike happened at the same time that a local paper had written about his business. Now he's planning to closely monitor his listing's dashboard to see how various marketing and publicity tactics perform.

We want a lot more businesses to be able to have this "Aha!" moment, getting insights on data that they could never see before. So, building upon our Favorite Places celebration of local businesses back in June, we're launching new efforts to make sure that business owners know about Local Business Center, and that users know how to take full advantage of the statistics in their dashboard.

First, all Local Business Center users in the U.S. who opted into receiving newsletters will now receive a monthly email report on how their business listings performed on Google in the previous month, including how many times the listing was seen, how many people clicked to the business' website, and more.

We'll also provide tips for optimizing business listings, such as advice on adding photos, uploading videos, and creating coupons (coming up in the next newsletter!). We'll also highlight successful businesses of the month and let businesses know about other Google products and offers that can help grow their business. You can find August's newsletter here, but make sure you're on the list to automatically receive future installments by opting in to newsletters in your account. Once you sign up, watch for the latest newsletter with your own customized business stats and all sorts of tips to be arriving soon.

Second, with lots of positive feedback on our Local Business Center introduction video, we decided to make a 30 second version to air in places where business owners are looking. We launched it earlier this week on television with Google TV Ads, and on various websites across Google's content network. In the video, you'll hear an overview of all that the Local Business Center has to offer, directly from Carter Maslan, our Director of Product Management for Local Search. So keep your eye out for the video (and pass it along to any business owners you know!).

Businesses can claim their listing and get started at It's been great to get to talk to people like Geof and other business owners, and to hear their feedback. If you have any interesting ideas for other types of outreach or partnerships, let us know.

Posted by Ryan Hayward, Product Marketing Manager

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