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Geo the Google Way: 10 Ways to use Googles Geo Tools for Biz

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placemark_example2Google is a powerhouse.  Why not make sure to hitch your cart to the power of Google to position yourself for maximum exposure to potential real estate clients and contacts?

10 Things You Can Do Right Now to Supercharge the Exposure of Your Business and your Listings:

  1. Make SURE your business profile is on Google.  Click Here to see an example of our profile (we are in the E slot).  Considering we are a small boutique firm, I think our placement right up there with 4 other MAJOR players is huge exposure.  You can add your profile in the Google Local Business Center.
  2. Create Google Maps of your local community boundariesClick Here to see an example.  In the notes section you can drop a search link for properties for each community.  You can then embed these maps on your website, blog, etc. Make sure to use your long-tail keywords. (I have 58 maps and building!)
  3. Make sure your listings are on the Google Real Estate overlay on their maps.  Many MLS’s syndicate to them and you won’t need to do anything extra, but do visit Google to make sure your listings are there.  If not, post your listing on Realbird or one of the others that is then syndicated further to make sure you are exposing your listings to Google.  More and more people are going to be using it for their real estate searches. Click here for an example.
  4. Use Google Ad Extensions to super-hone your Adwords Targeting for your business and or listings.  This will allow you to have enhanced ads which also show up on Google Maps.  Read more about Location Extensions.
  5. Create Google Maps of useful local information.  I created a map of the coffee spots in Coral Gables.
  6. Upload geo-tagged local pictures to Panormio, which then show up on Google Street Views, Maps and Earth.
  7. Add Google Street Views of your listing publication wherever available.  This is a very powerful tool to let the viewer experience the listing and encourage them to want to see more.  See an example of Google Street Views on a listing website here.
  8. Create a video and/or photo tour of your local community and then map out your route with Google Maps and embed a map of the route you used in a blog or in a link on the YouTube description box.
  9. Always make sure to add the location of your videos when you upload them (on youtube, etc.) so that they will show up on the Video Overlay of Google Maps.
  10. Mount a Webcam at your location and add it to the Google Maps Webcam Overlay.  You might be the only one in your area and the webcam links back to your site as the source.

Most of these cost little or no money, but can be very powerful tools to drive traffic to your website, blog or listings.

If you have had success using Google Geo Tools or can add to this list, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Janie has been in the development, construction and real estate industries for over 20 years. She began her career in commerical construction and has slowly worked into all of the related industries and added residential properties to her resume 7 years ago. She is currently the co-owner of sister companies, Papillon Real Estate and Papillon ReDevelopment (a construction and project management firm). Janie blogs for The Coral Gables Story. In her "free" time, she is a graduate student of Atlantic History with a focus on the history of business and technology. She is a lover of geo-anything. She loves the story.

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Fred Romano

    January 20, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Very interesting ideas you have… too bad 99% of agents would never touch this list IMO.

    • Janie Coffey

      January 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm

      a cynical side of me would say better for us, the 1% 😉

  2. Ken Brand

    January 20, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    So here’s what I’m wondering Janie, how do you balance a monster sized brain on your petite sized frame. This info is awesome. I just finished buffing up my business profile, only took a few minutes and now, boom, Google powered serendipity is my slave.

    Great stuff, thanks and cheers.

    • Kim Hannemann

      January 20, 2010 at 4:20 pm

      Clearly, she gains strength from buttercream cupcakes.

    • Janie Coffey

      January 20, 2010 at 6:21 pm

      Google is very powerful indeed, why not maximize what they can do for you? Especially since most of it is free?

  3. Jill Wente

    January 20, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Really great ideas on using Google Maps, Janie. I have created Google Maps for the location of grocery stores in Spring Texas, locations of the farmers produce stands, and the dog parks. I have on my Q1 project list to outline the subdivisions.

    • Janie Coffey

      January 20, 2010 at 6:25 pm

      I love creating communities. It helps better my knowledge of my market and creates embeddable maps that can be used all over. Plus good traffic generator.

  4. Matt Stigliano

    January 20, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Janie – Thanks for reminding me to update my local business profile. I hadn’t updated it since my move to RE/MAX. Oops. Interesting note however, when asked to verify I am who I am, I opted for the phone call…to my Google Voice number. Their system didn’t give me enough time to answer the call, open the keyboard (on an iPhone), type “1” to accept the call, and get the pin. After a couple of tries, it forced me to get it as a snail mail verification. Kind of ironic.

  5. mike gibbons

    January 20, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    To Fred’s point (and he’s right) there are myriad ways for Realtors to set themselves apart using the web but you have to be smart and ahead or at least “aware” of the curve – while bette than average agents are Tweeting or Facebooking their listings which is worse than free (because of the time wasted) people like Janie are doing innovative things like these 10 – I HOPE nobody reads this — thanks Mike

  6. Greg Cooper

    January 20, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    My hair hurts and its your fault! Well, ok, it’s my fault and I’m going to have to spend this evening fixing it. (Great piece Janie)

    • Janie Coffey

      January 20, 2010 at 6:26 pm

      glad you liked it, sorry about the hair! 😉

  7. Stillwater Real Estate

    January 20, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    The local business profile and maps of neighborhoods are great examples. But why would I upload photos to Panorimo instead of Flickr? Besides the obvious fact that Flickr is owned by Yahoo, it’s by far more popular for finding photos and also has geo-tagging.

    Google automatically has coffee shops mapped in my area. Of course I live in Minnesota where it’s cold for 9 months so we tend to gravitate towards the coffee. 🙂

    • Janie Coffey

      January 21, 2010 at 6:13 pm

      I am a HUGE Flickr junkie, but right now, I have not found a way to get my geo-tagged pics onto Google Maps Overlay, Google Earth and Google Streetviews, Panoramio does. Soooo if someone is on a Google Map and clicks the “photos” option in “more” they will see photos of the area (fed from Panoramio) ditto for Google Earth and Google Street Views. You can create a mashup, of course, with Google Maps and your Flickr photos for your blog, but I think it is also a possible benefit where 1,000s of people are looking (Google Maps)

  8. stephanie crawford

    January 21, 2010 at 3:00 am

    Agreed. This is a great post. I’ve also made a few neighborhood maps- condo locations, zip codes, neighborhood boundaries, shopping districts…:
    https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=103432177008699463961.0004506576291d3d3685b&t=h&z=10

    I love the idea of mapping out routes – this would be great for sending buyers on an open house tour.

    But like Stillwater said – Flickr is SO much better than Panorimo.

  9. Atlanta Real Estate

    January 21, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Great post, Janie.

    Lots of good information and ideas in there.

  10. Tammi Copsey

    January 21, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Great information and I thank you for sharing! Loads of ideas churning in my head for Google Earth use as well. Thanks a million!

  11. Austin Real Estate Guy

    January 21, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Did not know about Realbird. Thanks for the tip. I just loaded the code into ActiveRain and it looks great.

  12. Aaron Johnson

    January 27, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Holy Google, Batman! Thank you, Brandie, for (by far) one of the best helps in adding to my real estate web presence. If only there were a way to block this post from my local market! Oh, wait- this takes effort, so maybe I’m ok!

  13. Nick Nymark

    July 31, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Good Info

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Business Marketing

Video is necessary for your marketing strategy

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As technology and social media move forward, so do marketing opportunities. Now is the time for video content social media marketing!

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video content

As an entrepreneur, you’ve surely heard the phrase “pivot to video” countless times over the last few years. It’s the path a lot of media companies are on, but even brands that aren’t directly talking about this pivot have increased their video production. This shift stems in part from studies showing users spend more time on pages featuring video content. Social media has also played a significant role, and recently, new social platforms have made the pivot to video even more important.

Snapchat and TikTok are leading the social video sector as emerging social media platforms, but the audiences for these platforms skew especially young. The content on these platforms also tends toward the meme-worthy and entertaining, raising the question: are these platforms a good use of your time and resources? The answer depends on your industry, but whatever your field, you can certainly learn from the pros dominating these new platforms.

The promotional angle

One of the primary ways that businesses use video content across platforms is by creating promotional content, which range widely in style, cost, and content, but there are a few strategies that can really help a promotional video succeed.

First, a great promotional video hooks the viewer within the first few seconds. Social media has shrunk everyone’s attention span, so even if your video is on a longer form platform, the beginning has to be powerful. Having a strong start also means that your video will be more flexible, allowing it to gain traction across different platforms.

Audience matters

What you’re promoting – what your business does and who it serves – plays a critical role in what kinds of video content you make and what platforms you use. TikTok is a lot of fun, and it’s playing a growing role in business, but if your entire audience is age 30 and up, there’s not much point in trying to master the form and build a viewership there. You need a sufficient youth-heavy market to make TikTok a worthwhile investment, but Snapchat, which also serves a youth-heavy market, might be a different story.

Even if you don’t intend to make heavy use of Snapchat, the platform recently made a big splash in the video sector by opening up its story tools to other platforms. That means businesses will be able to use Snapchat’s tools on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where they may already have an audience. It will also make crossover content easier, allowing you to maintain consistent branding across all platforms. You may never download Snapchat proper, but you may soon be using their tools.

It’s all about strategy

However you choose to approach video content, the fact is that today video is a necessary part of your content marketing strategy. In part this is because, while blogs aren’t going anywhere, and short-form social media is definitely ascendant, both make use of video, but that’s not the only reason. Video is so powerful because it’s deeply personal. It makes your audience feel that much more closely connected with you and your brand, and that alone is enough to change buying patterns.

Another key advantage of video is that, consumers genuinely enjoy well-made videos. Unlike blogs, which most users will typically only seek out if they need information, there are brands out there who are known for their video content. They’ve found a way to hook viewers and make them feel like they have two products: entertainment and whatever it is they actually sell. You, too, can do this with enough creativity and today’s social media tools.

It’s critical that you don’t let your brand fall behind on video right now, because if you even stop for breath, you will be left behind. As TikTok and Snapchat have made clear, video doesn’t stop for anyone. At this point, video isn’t the future of social media or ecommerce – it’s the present.

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Business Marketing

Marketing amidst uncertainty: 3 considerations

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As the end of the COVID tunnel begins to brighten, marketing strategies may shift yet again – here are three thoughts to ponder going into the future.

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Open business sign being held by business owner for marketing purposes.

The past year has been challenging for businesses, as operations of all sizes and types and around the country have had to modify their marketing practices in order to address the sales barriers created by the pandemic. That being said, things are beginning to look up again and cities are reopening to business as usual.

As a result, companies are looking ahead to Q3 with the awareness they need to pivot their marketing practices yet again. The only question is, how?

Pandemic Pivot 1.0: Q3 2020

When the pandemic disrupted global markets a year ago, companies looked for new ways to reach their clients where they were: At home, even in the case of B2B sales. This was the first major pivot, back when store shelves were empty care of panic shopping, and everyone still thought they would only be home for a few weeks.

How did this transition work? By building out more extensive websites, taking phone orders, and crafting targeted advertising, most companies actually survived the crisis. Some even came out ahead. With this second pivot, however, these companies will have to use what they knew before the pandemic, while making savvy predictions about how a year-long crisis may have changed customer behavior.

Think Brick And Mortar

As much as online businesses played a key role in the pandemic sales landscape, as the months wore on, people became increasingly loyal to local, brick and mortar businesses. As people return to their neighborhood for longer in-person adventures, brands should work on marketing strategies to further increase foot traffic. That may mean continuing to promote in-store safety measures, building a welcoming online presence, and developing community partnerships to benefit from other stores’ customer engagement efforts.

Reach Customers With PPC

Obviously brick and mortar marketing campaigns won’t go far for all-online businesses, but with people staying at home less, online shops may have a harder time driving sales. Luckily, they have other tools at their disposal. That includes PPC marketing, one of the most effective, trackable advertising strategies.

While almost every business already uses some degree of PPC marketing because of its overall value, but one reason it’s such a valuable tool for businesses trying to navigate the changing marketplace is how easy it is to modify. In fact, best practice is to adjust your PPC campaign weekly based on various indicators, which is what made it a powerful tool during the pandemic as well. Now, instead of using a COVID dashboard to track the impact of regulations on ad-driven sales, however, companies can use PPC marketing to see how their advertising efforts are holding up to customers’ rapidly changing shopping habits.

It’s All About The Platforms

When planning an ad campaign, what you say is often not as important as where you say it – a modern twist on “the medium is the message.” Right now, that means paying attention to the many newer platforms carrying innovative ad content, so experiment with placing ads on platforms like TikTok, Reddit, and NextDoor and see what happens.

One advantage of marketing via smaller platforms is that they tend to be less expensive than hubs like Facebook. That being said, they are all seeing substantial traffic, and most saw significant growth during the pandemic. If they don’t yield much in the way of results, losses will be minimal, but given the topical and local targeting various platforms allow for, above and beyond standard PPC targeting, they could be just what your brand needs as it navigates the next set of marketplace transitions.

The last year has been unpredictable for businesses, but Q3 2021 may be the most uncertain yet as everyone attempts to make sense of what normal means now. The phrase “new normal,” overused and awkward as it is, gets to the heart of it: we can pretend we’re returning to our pre-pandemic lives, but very little about the world before us is familiar, so marketing needs a “new normal,” too.

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Business Marketing

Advertising overload: Let’s break it down

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new study finds that frequent ads are actually more detrimental to a brand’s image than that same brand advertising near offensive content.

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Advertising spread across many billboards in a city square.

If you haven’t noticed, ads are becoming extremely common in places that are extremely hard to ignore—your Instagram feed, for example. Advertising has certainly undergone some scrutiny for things like inappropriate placement and messaging over the years, but it turns out that sheer ad exhaustion is actually more likely to turn people off of associated brands than the aforementioned offensive content.

Marketing Dive published a report on the phenomenon last Tuesday. The report claims that, of all people surveyed, 32% of consumers said that they viewed current social media advertising to be “excessive”; only 10% said that they found advertisements to be “memorable”.

In that same group, 52% of consumers said that excessive ads were likely to affect negatively their perception of a brand, while only 32% said the same of ads appearing next to offensive or inappropriate content.

“Brand safety has become a hot item for many companies as they look to avoid associations with harmful content, but that’s not as significant a concern for consumers, who show an aversion to ad overload in larger numbers,” writes Peter Adams, author of the Marketing Dive report.

This reaction speaks to the sheer pervasiveness of ads in the current market. Certainly, many people are spending more time on their phones—specifically on social media—as a result of the pandemic. However, with 31% and 27% of surveyed people saying they found website ads either “distracting” or “intrusive”, respectively, the “why” doesn’t matter as much as the reaction itself.

It’s worth pointing out that solid ad blockers do exist for desktop website traffic, and most major browsers offer a “reader mode” feature (or add-on) that allows users to read through things like articles and the like without having to worry about dynamic ads distracting them or slowing down their page. This becomes a much more significant issue on mobile devices, especially when ads are so persistent that they impact one’s ability to read content.

Like most industries, advertisers have faced unique challenges during the pandemic. If there’s one major takeaway from the report, it’s this: Ads have to change—largely in terms of their frequency—if brands want to maintain customer retention and loyalty.

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