|A “Place” On The Web – Free Advertising At Its Best
| Posted by AM-Touch, 7/25/2011 12:15:23 PM
|There are many ways to advertise a dental office these days. You can hit the phone book, develop a website, advertise on local television, or even hire someone to stand outside your office in a giant tooth costume waving at passing cars.
Advertising is important – we all know that. Problem is, it’s not cheap. But there is one absolutely essential marketing tool that won’t cost you a dime and won’t take more than a few clicks of your mouse.
Google has developed “Place Pages,” which is essentially a business listing that appears before local web surfers when they search a term relevant to your business. Signing up for your own Google Place page is free, and the results are incredibly valuable.
First, by setting up a Google Place page for your business, you ensure that you’ll be in the mix of local businesses that pop up on the screen when a specific search term is entered on Google.
For example, Jon Dell (me) goes to Google and searches for “Dentists.” Google knows that I’m in Valencia, CA, so in addition to your normal search results (definition of dentist, dental schools, e.t.c) a section called “Places for Dentists near Valencia, CA” pops up. In my case, it’s the third result on the page. In it, I see about 7 dentists in my town, their address, phone number and how many reviews they have.
As a Marketing guy, I can’t help but be impressed. Companies spend tens of thousands of dollars every year trying to increase their presence in search results and these dentists were able to get a PRIME spot near the top for free? It sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. It’s actually part of Google’s plan to deliver the most relevant information to searchers, and you’re a beneficiary of that.
*Note, there’s no way of guaranteeing where your place page will show up in the search results. Competition, keyword value and a few million other factors determine when and where your place page shows up, so be patient.
Reviews = Credibility
It’s one thing to get free advertising, but it’s another thing to get reviews. Like word-of-mouth, reviews are much more powerful than any advertisement money can buy. People trust people, and the Internet has brought reviewing to a whole new level.
When you develop a Google Place page, consumers will have the ability to rate your business and write reviews. You have absolutely no control over what they write, but you do have the ability to monitor your reviews and respond as necessary. I know that’s a scary proposition, but reviews usually even out. Readers aren’t stupid, and they disregard fake or overly vicious reviews.
The good news is that reviews build credibility. They allow the good doctors, the great customer service and the hard work to shine though.
Like finding a $5 bill in your jacket pocket, Google Place pages have one more pleasant surprise. When you activate your place page you also get access to analytical data that tracks how web searchers found you, which keywords they used and where they came from.
It’s up to you to use the data wisely and help refine all other modes of advertising.
Yes there is more. Your Place page comes equipped with some nice customizable features, including the ability to display a coupon.
Additionally, Google has an integrated paid advertising program called ADWords, that’s conveniently managed in your Place page admin section. If you’re looking to do any pay-per-click adverting, you can add that on through your existing Place page.
In order to get started, all you’ll need is a Google account, which is also free to anyone. Setting up a Place page is pretty straight forward, although you will need to verify the account through SMS or a telephone number. But the process is harmless and very, very easy. You can learn more about the process directly from Google.
As with all marketing tips, there is no silver bullet. A Google Place page won’t be all you need to survive this tough economy. But honestly, its value/cost ratio will almost always be 100%. Those are odds you won’t find in Las Vegas.
- Jon Dell, Director of Marketing, AM-Touch Dental
| Category: Featured Articles