Ninety-seven percent (97%) of consumers now search the web to find the goods and services they need everyday, yet only 37% have claimed local listings through search engines. Google dominates this sphere with approximately 72% of the search market share, with even higher numbers in mobile searches. Google’s aptly named Get Your Business Online program is doing exactly that, with seminars across the nation helping businesses claim their listings.
Tawas, in northeast Michigan on the coast of Lake Huron, hosted three seminars in April to help local businesses claim their listing and also learn more about the services available to them. Chris Reidenbaugh, Google Maps Certified Photographer, has visited family in Tawas in the summertime since he was young. Now, as an instructor of Google’s Get Your Business Online seminars, he returned to Tawas and worked with the Tawas Area Chamber of Commerce to organize the three seminars.
“We had 62 people show up over three sessions,” said Reidenbaugh.
The attendance showed that others would be interested in the seminars, and Reidenbaugh will be leading more sessions in surrounding communities and other cities throughout Michigan. Reidenbaugh has led Get Your Business Online seminars in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Florida, and Georgia.
“The biggest thing that people don’t realize is that they have access to a wealth of information from Google that doesn’t cost a thing.”
During the seminars, Reidenbaugh not only assists business owners in claiming their listing, but also shows them how to use other tools. Business owners can see the number of people visiting their website, obtaining driving directions, calling via the app on their phone, and which dates and times are garnering the most activity. They can also see reviews of their establishment and respond to them, addressing any problems or concerns.
Reidenbaugh encourages business owners to claim their listings on Google and find out what information is shown online. “The big thing is to Google your business’s name and see what’s out there.” After finding the results, Google’s tools are available to give a good reputation more exposure and repair a bad reputation. “You really want to take advantage of all the tools that Google has. A lot of them are free and genuinely help businesses.”
If the various tools feel overwhelming, Reidenbaugh suggests taking it one step at a time, starting with the tools that are most useful and solve immediate problems. “Reach out and see what Google offers. That’s the biggest first step.”
To find a Get Your Business Online seminar and other online business marketing courses, visit Google’s Get Your Business Online website. For those in Michigan, you can find upcoming seminars on the Michigan Small Business Development Center events section online.
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