What’s in Your Google Basket? Must Have Tools for Businesses
By Janette Speyer and Alison Brown, Web Success Team
The realm of Google has been expanding over the last decade and so have its services. Most of us have heard of Gmail or Google Maps, but there are many other tools at your fingertips that can enhance your online marketing efforts and help grow your business online. What’s great about Google’s tools is that they are free and fairly user friendly. Highlighted below are some of Google’s greatest tools to take advantage of to help your business succeed.
Google Places is a wonderful tool for any kind of business. If you’ve heard of Yelp, this is similar, just the Google version. Once your business is listed on Google Places, you can edit your page by adding content such as photos, special offers, and even real-time updates. It’s important to have your business listed here so that clients can post reviews about the services they’ve received. With so much competition, it’s important to stand out against other companies and this is a great way to get positive feedback and boost your Internet presence.
Google Analytics is a great tool for monitoring your website. It allows you to carefully monitor website traffic based on a number of different variables. It can track the number of visits and breaks down the data so you can see what link people clicked on to get to your website, how long they viewed your site, what pages they looked it, and if they clicked on anything else on your page. Google Analytics is a great free tool and it’s essential if you run a business online.
Google’s newest toy. An extension for your Chrome Browser, it appears at the bottom of your screen and works in the background. The toolbar will show you related content based on the site you are visiting. So for example if I am visiting Web Success Team, it will show me related websites for other similar firms, the location of my business and ratings. This is a very practical way to find out who is in the neighborhood and who is your competition.
4. Google Maps:
Most people no longer use paper maps since everything is now Internet based. Mapquest used to be fairly popular, but Google Maps has taken over seniority. Apple’s iPhone comes with Google Maps pre-installed, as well as many other smart phones, so being able to be found on Google Maps is important. Clients and potential customers should be able to find directions to your offices easily here.
5. Google Mobile:
Google Mobile now makes searching for anything at anytime easier than ever. Google mobile applications such as “Google Search,” allow you to customize searches based on your location and provide really specific results. Other applications such as “Google Voice,” allow you make free phone calls or send text messages. With your Google Voice number, you can make cheap international calls and even have voicemails transcribed so you can read them while a meeting.
6. Google Trends:
Google Trends is another great tool for marketing your business. It tells you what the latest trends are, and it’s a great way to research popular key words and how often they come up in search results. During the next presidential campaign, Obama will be able to check how many people are researching him by simply typing in the word “Obama” into the search field. He will be able to see the top cities and countries that are searching for his name, as well as a timeline for when he was searched for the most, as well as top news stories associated with his name.
7. Google Alerts
If you want to stay on top of current trends or news that relates to your business, Google Alerts allows you to do just that. You can sign up for daily or weekly alerts that show you news, blogs, videos, discussions related to your field of interest. If you own a local jewelry store, you could create an alert that will show you anything related to jewels so you can stay updated on international stories that may affect the prices of your products. Furthermore, it will tell you what people are saying about you based on your keywords so it helps with reputation management. You can set up an alert with your business name and anything related to your business will show up here.
8. Google Docs:
Google Docs is another great tool for small businesses. It allows you to share documents and even edit them all within this program. You can upload entire folders from your computer and share them with other users of your choosing. If you don’t have an intranet set up at your office, Google Docs is a great free resource for sharing and editing documents with colleagues and co-workers.
Google Plus is one of Google’s newest social media marketing tools. It’s still in the beta trial period, however, it’s a great tool to get to know while it’s still new. While it’s features focus mainly on personal use, a business form of Google+ is currently in the works. Google+ is similar to Facebook in how it allows you to connect with friends, colleagues, clients, and potential clients. You can sort them into various “circles” based on your various relationships, and it allows you to share information within these separate groups.
Gmail is one of the world’s most popular choices for email users. You can chat live with people who also have Gmail accounts, and it has many features that are useful to any professional. You can label emails based on their importance or category so that your inbox stays organized and under control. You can also put a star next to any email you want to remind yourself to look at later, and with your free account you receive 7616 MB worth of free space on Google servers.
YouTube is another great Google service. You can create and upload videos about your business here so that people can get to know your company. People like to put faces to names, so if they can go to your website, click on your video, and see who you are and what you’re about, you’ve already made a connection and got one foot in the door. You can also subscribe to users who interest you and you will be updated every time they upload a new video. It’s a great way to broadcast your business online, and best of all, it’s free!
Have you had success with any of these Google tools? If so, let us know!
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