Beyond Claiming Your Place Page

Wednesday, April 27, 2011
(Cross-posted from the Google Places Blog.)

Last week, we invited a group of public relations and social media professionals to Google Austin to introduce them to the range of features offered as part of Google Places. Most of the attendees were experts on the basics (for instance, claiming a Place page), but many were surprised to learn about the other ways Google Places can help them connect with their customers.

The Dashboard

Once you’ve claimed your Place page, you can see detailed analytics on a handy dashboard, including information on the number of time your Place page was viewed (impressions) and the search terms your customers use to find you:


Ratings and Reviews

Customers can rate and review the places they go through Google, offering valuable feedback about what they liked and didn’t like about their experience. This information appears on the Place page for a business. Business owners also have the ability to respond to those reviews publicly — a great way to engage with customers and show you’re listening to their feedback. Once you claim your Place page and you’re logged in, you’ll see the option to respond to individual reviews.

Sharing Your Expertise

Beyond encouraging customers to rate and review their businesses via Google Places, attendees at our Austin Tech Talk also discussed how they could set up their own Google Places profile for their business to rate and review, as a way to show their community involvement and local support. Here’s what came out of a brainstorming session:

  • Restaurants could rate and review local farms, farmers markets, and artisans to show that they are using local ingredients.
  • Hotels could rate and review local attractions that may be of interest to their guests, or use their profile to provide their concierge with a “cheat sheet” of useful info.
  • Gyms could rate and review local restaurants to point out the healthiest menu items for their members so that they can reach their fitness goals.

These were just some of the many ideas that were shared!

Google Places Business Kit

The most talked-about topic of the night was the Google Places Business Kit, a box of info and schwag that business owners can request, detailing how they can better interact with their customers on Google. Some of the items a business owner can request include after-dinner mints and Place pin–shaped coffee stirrers, to remind and encourage customers to rate and review that business on Google.



What are some of the ways you’re using Google Places to connect with your customers? Learn more by visiting our Google Places Help Center.

Posted by Whitney Francis, Austin community manager

Next Stop: San Diego, California

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
(Cross-posted on the Google Places Blog.)

Every day, more and more users are looking online for local information — where to eat, where to stay, where to shop. Online is where business owners need to be too. So for the past several months, we’ve launched marketing campaigns promoting our core local product offering Google Places in five cities: Portland, Austin, Las Vegas, Madison and Charlotte. In each of these cities, we’ve been working closely with local business owners, showing them how Google Places can help them get found on Google and connect them with their customers.

We’re excited to announce that the next campaign is hitting San Diego, California, today — our largest city to date!

With more than 77,000 local businesses, San Diego is the perfect next city in our campaign to help local businesses get noticed on Google. Plus, with nearly three million residents and more than 30 million tourists visiting the city annually, we see a great opportunity to help locals and tourists alike share and discover great San Diego businesses online.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be working with business owners in a bunch of ways:

  • A team of Google reps will be visiting businesses with information about how to claim their Place page and keep their information up to date. They’ll also highlight how business owners can encourage their customers to rate and review their business on Google and share those recommendations with their friends.
  • Business owners who have verified their free Place page can request a Google Places starter kit. Visit googleplacescatalog.com for more information. Part of this kit is our “Recommended on Google” sticker, which utilizes NFC technology to enable users with smartphones, such as the Nexus S, to see more information about that business and easily rate and review it right then and there.
  • Businesses eligible to participate in a beta for Google Boost — our online advertising program — will receive $100 coupon offers to get started.

If you see us around town, say hello! We look forward to working with San Diego’s amazing community of business owners.

Posted by Sameer Mahmood, Local Marketing Team

Helping America’s startups grow


[Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog]

Every business starts out small—whether with an idea or the hanging of a shingle outside an office or storefront. Even Google was once a small business, operating out of a garage in Menlo Park, Calif. We’re proud of our success, but we’re even more proud of the role we’ve played helping a lot of other businesses grow. In fact, in 2009 Google search and advertising tools generated $54 billion of economic activity in the United States.

To further help new American businesses create economic growth, today we’re announcing a commitment of up to $100 million to the
Startup America Partnership—an alliance of the country's most innovative entrepreneurs, corporations, foundations and other private sector leaders—for companies to promote their business with Google advertising over the next year.

Startup America participants will be able to use Google advertising platforms like
AdWords and Boost and receive a $1,000 Google match for $1,000 spent between June 1, 2011 and June 1, 2012. Our chief economist Hal Varian has calculated that businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on AdWords, so we think this commitment will be especially powerful.

If you are (or know of) an entrepreneur that’s interested in getting involved with the Startup America Partnership, you can visit its
Resource Center for more information. Our goal as a participant in this national initiative is to help entrepreneurs grow amazing businesses, and we believe our commitment will help them do it.

The Business April 20th 2011, "Two Year Anniversary" Edition

Monday, April 18, 2011
Ignore that other, number-based occasion going on this Wednesday and roll to The Dark Room to help us celebrate our huge deuce! The Business turns two this week and we couldn't be prouder of our little trainwreck. In honor of this new leaf, we've got a roster that’s packed hella fat. We’ve imported three strains of kind buds from LA to perform for you, as well as the dank home-grown shit you know and love.

From the finest clubs ...in Los Angeles:


Jake Weisman is a comedian and storyteller. He loves cats and podcasts, and he has two of each. One of his podcasts, The Morning After…Podcast, is about pornography, and it recently won Punchline Magazine’s 2010 Best New Comedy Podcast of the Year award. Just to remind you, he loves cats.






Dave Ross is a stand-up comedian and the creator of the wildly successful Holy F*ck comedy show. He performs regularly at renowned shows and clubs across California, including What's Up Tiger Lily? and the Hollywood Improv. His comedy career began as a radio DJ at KRZR in Fresno, but he quickly decided to leave and make less money standing on stages. He's smiley as hell and probably likes you.

Shawn Pearlman is from Los Angeles, CA (where nobody is from). In his hometown, he has performed at Comedy Death Ray at UCB, Largo at the Coronet, the Hollywood Improv, and that’s all. Just kidding, other places too! He is never homesick.








And keeping it local we have the Businessmen selection: Alex, Sean, Chris and Bucky. Plus a special video premiere from Chris!

While other shows going on this Wednesday may offer you a free "medical" gift, we still believe laughter is the best medicine you can get without having to pay a fake doctor to give you a state-recognized identification card. All you need to get our goods is five on it. And if you get the munchies, we are surrounded by burritos.

An Update on Tags

Friday, April 15, 2011
[Cross-posted from the Google LatLong Blog]

As users increasingly rely on tools like Google Maps and Places for information about the world around them, we're working hard to develop products that help local businesses highlight themselves and their offerings.

Last year, we introduced our trial for Google Tags, a way for businesses to highlight their organic Google Places listing with a yellow tag that showcases offers, photos, videos, menu, and reservations for a flat monthly fee.

Since that experiment began, tens of thousands of businesses have used Tags to help potential customers make easier, more informed decisions when searching. Throughout this period, we monitored Tags closely to learn more about our users' business needs and how they used the product.

We’ve made a decision to shift our efforts toward other present and future product offerings for local businesses, and will be discontinuing this trial. To that end, we’ve now halted new signups and will be working with existing participating businesses over the coming weeks to help them meet their marketing needs with other Google products where possible.

We’ve learned a lot from our Tags trial and will take that knowledge into account as we continue to find the best ways to serve users and local businesses alike. Lastly, we want to thank all of the businesses that were part of our Tags trial, and we hope we can meet their advertising needs with one of our existing products.

Posted by Shalini Agarwal, Product Manager

The Business April 13th 2011, "Beard or Glasses or Both" Edition

Monday, April 11, 2011
This week the Business welcomes SF's own Kevin O'Shea, LA's own Stefan Stignei and welcomes back founding Businessman Alex Koll!


Alex has been touring this great country of ours, performing his magical stand-up and exploring every diner, drive-in, and Zagat-rated rest stop along the way. He's back this Wednesday, with laser-like focus, a chip on his shoulder, and a dynamite recipe for chili con carne that will knock your socks off.



Kevin O'Shea is a friend to the Business and a force in the San Francisco comedy scene. He's performed at Sketchfest and produced such shows as Funny Jerks, Blah! Blah! Blah!, and the short-lived cult sketch favorite, Frown Land. Please enjoy his dark, rough-and-tumble, absurdist comedy - but keep your hands where Kevin can see them, pilgrim.







Stefan Stignei is a comedian from Los Angeles who performs at the Comedy Store, the Hollywood Improv, and many other spots. He's an expert on video games and a savant at one-liners. And if you have anything disparaging to say about Oregon State University, he will leg wrestle you on the spot.





We've also got Bucky, Chris, and Sean on hand to help out. As always, the Dark Room is BYO-Burrito, and Cancun Taqueria remains across the street. Five bucks, 8 PM.

The Business takes LA on April 29th, 2011!

Friday, April 8, 2011
In conjunction with our upcoming two year anniversary, the Business is proud to announce we are invading our neighbor to the south: Los Angeles. That's right, we've taken it upon ourselves to initiate the bloody civil war we all want between the North and the South of California.

The Business, San Francisco’s long running weekly alt-comedy showcase, heads south to Hollywood for a night. Four comedians (Sean Keane, Chris Garcia, Bucky Sinister, Alex Koll) each curate a portion of your evening, bringing you a variety of comedy for only five bucks. That mixture regularly includes special guests ranging from standup comics to authors to sketch performers to musicians and dancers. All forms and styles are exploited. It is the comedy equivalent to an "everything bagel." An exploited "everything bagel"...that explodes.

Special guests and surprises to be announced as the date gets closer, so keep an ear on the internet tracks.

The Business
Friday, April 29th 2011
10:30pm
$5
The Improv Lab
8162 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046

SPACE IS LIMITED, so get your tickets ahead of time here:
https://www.laughstub.com/buyTicket.cfm?showTimingID=79408


A new way to share local product availability with your customers

Thursday, April 7, 2011
[Cross-posted from the Google Merchant Blog]

If you've ever spent your Saturday calling different stores or driving around town in search of one specific product, then it probably occurred to you that there must be a better way. Today we're announcing Local Product Availability on Google Place Pages - a new feature that automatically brings your offline catalog to the web, letting customers view your products and search your local inventory on your Place Page before visiting your store.

When you provide Google with local product availability data, your Google Place Page will now automatically include a new section, ‘Popular products available at this store’, featuring five popular products along with price and local availability. For shoppers unfamiliar with your business, this section shows the types of products available in your store.

If shoppers are looking for a specific item, they can click ‘Search within this store’ to search your product inventory to see if a particular item is in stock nearby.


Getting started
To automatically display local product availability on your Google Place page, you’ll need to first share local availability data with Google through a Merchant Center account and claim your a Google Place page. For instructions on sharing local product availability with Google, read this Help Center article. Learn how to claim your Google Place page here.

Posted by Paul Lee, Senior Product Manager, Google Product Search

Google and Ink from Chase launch 5-city seminar series for SMBs

Every day we hear from business owners who think they need special skills to reach new customers online. Often they’re just overwhelmed by the seeming complexity of online marketing options. So they sit on the sidelines, eager to get in the game, but confused about where to start.

Sound familiar?

Google and Ink from Chase have teamed up this year to help small business owners get off the sidelines and into the game! As part of this commitment to helping small business owners, we jointly hosted the first Google-Ink from Chase ‘Grow Your Business Online’ event on March 15, 2011 at the JP Morgan Headquarters in New York City.

Over 200 Ink small business customers attended the program, living proof of how an incredibly diverse array of small business touch our lives every day - from chocolate shops to online gaming and private medical practices. The evening featured welcome comments from Richard Quigley, President of Ink from Chase, expert advice from AdWords evangelist Frederick Vallaeys on four ways for SMBs to market their business online and also included the Nuyorican Poets Cafe’s executive director, Daniel Gallant, talking about how online advertising helped their business grow.

One small business owner remarked that the tools and tips from Google experts on how to market small businesses online gave her “a new perspective of how to reach out to customers.” Another attendee found the Google Places page so compelling he went back to his business afterwards and “immediately verified my business’ Google Places page.”



Interested in learning more about how to get your business online? Check out our Small Business Online Marketing Handbook to get started.

Click. The AdWords newsletter: April 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
 
The world has gone mobile. From smartphones to tablets, mobile devices are quickly becoming the best way for people to find products and services when they're on the go. Read on to learn about how you can take advantage of the mobile opportunity with AdWords and drive mobile customers to your business.

Happy reading!
The Google AdWords team

P.S. Have some feedback about this newsletter? Please let us know what you think.
In this Issue
APRIL 2011, VOL 2

MONTHLY FEATURE
A growing mobile opportunity

ADWORDS INSIGHT
Design a mobile-only campaign

SMALL BUSINESS SUCCESS
Bringing customers to the table

GOOGLE HIGHLIGHTS
Art Project

Your AdWords Account
  MONTHLY FEATURE
A growing mobile opportunity
In the past year alone, the number of Google mobile searches has quadrupled. In fact, by 2012, more people will connect via a mobile device than a computer.* How can your business benefit from this trend? Here are three ideas:

Make it easy to call you
People on the phone are looking for immediate answers. So it makes sense that many smartphone consumers call the businesses that they find after a mobile search. Encourage new customers to call you with AdWords Click-to-Call, which displays your business' phone number as an additional line of text on your ad. Google research shows that click-to-call ads drive a 6-8% average increase in clickthrough rates.

Make it easy to find you, too!
If you're a local business, mobile users are especially important, because one out of three searches on a mobile devices has local intent. And, according to a recent survey conducted by eMarketer, 58% of smartphone owners say they use their phone to find store locations. In AdWords, you can use Location Extensions to display your business' address and its location on a map. Once you have Location Extensions enabled, you can automatically take advantage of the new Hyperlocal feature. Hyperlocal shows your potential customers distance information, so they can see how close they are to your store!

Customize your ads for the mobile user
The eMarketer study also shows that people commonly use their phones to compare prices, find discounts and check product availability. Consider writing ads especially for smartphone users, keeping in mind what people want when they're on the go. You can actually create a separate AdWords campaign just for mobile. Check out AdWords Insight, below, for detailed instructions on how to do that.

ADVANCED TIP: What happens when someone wants to find out more about your business, and clicks to your website? Does your website load quickly enough for smartphone users? Take a few moments to see if your website passes the test. If it doesn't, there are a range of options to help you optimize your website for mobile devices.


*Source: Meeker, Mary; Morgan Stanley. "Ten Questions Internet Execs Should Ask & Answer." Business Insider.com, November 16, 2010.
  ADWORDS INSIGHT
Design a uniquely mobile campaign
Google Research shows that mobile-only campaigns help drive higher mobile clickthrough rates—11.5% higher on average. Why? With a separate mobile campaign, you can set the bids, budgets, keywords and ad text that work best for mobile customers.

  1. Create a new campaign in your AdWords account.
  2. Find the "Networks and devices" section in your Campaign Settings, and under "Devices" click "Let Me Choose".
  3. Un-select "Desktop and laptop computers," so you are only targeting "Mobile devices with full Internet browsers."
  4. Select keywords and create ad text with your mobile customer in mind.

  SMALL BUSINESS SUCCESS
Bringing customers to the table
Can your customers find you when they need you most? Roy's Restaurants shared the success of their hyperlocal mobile-only campaign: "Mobile searchers looking for dining options could effortlessly see how close they were to a nearby Roy's restaurant and the click-to-call function allowed for instant reservations." This campaign drove a 40% increase in calls, while the cost-per-click was 67% less than desktop ads. As a result, the campaign's overall return on investment was 800%—double the ROI of their blended mobile/desktop campaigns. Want to try it for your business? Learn about the strategies Roy's used.
GOOGLE HIGHLIGHTS
Picture this with the Art Project
Want to visit the world's most magnificent museums and masterpieces? Art Project, powered by Google—collaboration with 17 of the word's most acclaimed museums—lets you walk through museum wings to explore the world's most precious works of art. From Van Gogh's Starry Night to Botticelli's Birth of Venus, zoom in to discover striking details like brushstrokes and aging signs, all without leaving home.
 
 
 
Posted by Jenn Karakkal, AdWords Small Business Team

The Business April 6th 2011, "Haynes Now, You're an All-Star!" Edition


















Andy Haynes returns to The Business once again to get his game on and go play. We love us some Haynes here at The Biz. In fact at this rate of return, Andy may knock Hari Kondabolu out of his long held title as "Fifth Businessman" if he keeps it up. (Don't get upset Thayer, technically you are the Fourth Businessman right now. We'll re-do all the calculations when Alex gets back). But this is definitely not a bad thing; it just highlights the fact that we love his style and jokes so much, we gotta keep him coming back. All that glitters is goooooold!

And as is true every week, we have the regular Business men: Bucky, Sean and continuing to fill in for Alex, irregular Businessman Chris Thayer. It is also still true the show is only five dollars, starts at 8pm, and is burrito friendly.

Think with Google: Search Ads Affect Offline Sales, too

Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Do online search campaigns lead to in-store sales? Controlled studies we call ‘Online to Store’ experiments prove time and again that they do! Check out this video for results from large advertisers that tested the effects of keyword targeted products and categories, generic keywords and online coupons. Highlights include in-store sales lift, return on ad spend (15:1 in some cases) and halo effects on overall sales. Understanding the effect of search ads on offline sales is a large part of accurately defining the full value of search campaigns, beyond direct conversion. Consider these results and your own online to store testing.



Posted by: Susan Billingsley, Search Marketing Manager

Free phone support for AdWords advertisers

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog)

We’ve worked hard to keep in touch with our AdWords customers and we’re always looking for new ways to support you. Currently we offer email and online support, and today we’re introducing free phone support for all of our U.S.- and Canada-based AdWords customers. When you have a question about your account or advertising campaigns, you can now call an AdWords specialist if you prefer.

We’re adding phone support for a simple reason: you asked for it! You told us that while you appreciate online resources like our AdWords Help Center, you also want the option to get live, expert support when you need it. We heard you, and got to work assembling a team of AdWords experts to answer your calls.

The new phone option is one of many tools that can help you succeed with AdWords—and (most importantly!) find even more customers. You can also email us, or learn from other advertisers in the AdWords Help Forum. Our AdWords Online Classroom offers free online courses on a wide variety of AdWords topics, from the basics to great tips to take your account to the next level.

To speak to one of our specialists, give us a call at 1-866-2Google between Monday-Friday, 9am-8pm Eastern Time. This number is for current AdWords advertisers only, so please make sure you have your customer ID ready. We look forward to speaking to you and learning more about your business.

We'll roll phone support out to advertisers in other countries in the coming months.