If you’re currently a business owner in the San Diego or San Francisco area, the new Local Listing Ads beta will help jump start the way consumers find your business. It’s a low budget, low maintenance, flat monthly fee advertising solution, designed for smaller local businesses that typically have a tight advertising budget. Unlike AdWords, Local Listing Ads require virtually no management of ad creative, keywords, bidding, or budget monitoring which makes it ideal for a business owner with a busy schedule.
How to Get Started with a Local Business Center Account
To get started you first need to have your business registered and verified on Google Maps and create a Local Business Center Account which is free. If for some reason your business is already on Google Maps but you didn’t create it, you’ll need to go through the verification process to claim the listing as your own.
The next step is to sign into your LBC account and provided or edit all of the information about your business. The more information you provide such as hours of operation or payment options, the more likely it will convenience consumers to feel comfortable traveling to your location. You can even add photos or videos which really helps consumers preview your business and get a feel for what they’re in for. Also, try uploading coupons which are printable and a great way to provide specials discounts and deals to potential customers.
Setting Up Local Listing Ads
So now that you’ve created your Local Business Center account and if you happen to be in the San Francisco or San Diego area, you’re now eligible to create a Local Listing Ad. Just sign into your LBC account and click on “Create an ad” in the ‘Action’ column next to your listing on the homepage and follow the instructions.
What are the Benefits of Local Listing Ads
Since there are no keywords or CPC’s, you pay a flat monthly fee to have Local Listing Ads. The cost of these flat monthly rates is dependent upon your business’s location and the business category you select for it. Keep in mind that you can only choose one physical location and one category for your business.
Google will then ensure your ad is seen by the highest number of people based on the search query related to your business and the category you choose.
Here are some key things to remember:
- Ads are shown on Google.com and Google Maps
- No bid or keyword management required
- Free performance and call tracking
- First 30 days are free and you can cancel at anytime
- Ads must comply with Google’s ad guidelines
- People can click on street view in Google Maps to see your business
With the free performance and call tracking options provided in your LBC account, it gives you a convenient location to check all of your ad’s performance metrics. The frequently updated reports tell you a number of important metrics including:
- Number of people who saw your ad on Google.com or Google Maps
- How many clicked on your ad
- How many clicks to you ads landing page
- How many clicked and then looked for directions to your business
- How many clicked to the info window on Google Maps
- How many calls have been generated from your ad
I think the most beneficial option these ads provide are a unique phone number that displays in your ad and forwards all calls right to your business. When you receive one of these calls you receive an announcement that says, “This call brought to you by Google” so you’re already prepared for the type of consumer that might be calling. You have full tracking options for exactly how many times your ad made your phone rings, which is usually the bottom line for most advertisers.
As a local business owner, these new Listing Ads will help put you on the cusp of local search as we all know how popular it’s getting now a days. People love to look at photos, look at testimonials, see store hours, and get exact directions. Now these options are available to select locations in the country and allows advertising even more metrics to track it’s performance. If you’re in the San Francisco or San Diego area I would suggest getting on this right away. If you’re in any other location where Local Business Listing are available from Google, I would suggest at least create and/or edit your free local listing to ensure your business’s exposure.
By Jerrold Burke
Paid Search Analyst