On the heels of a humorous post about a man trying to get noticed on Google Maps, I'm reminded of how many businesses are failing to take advantage of the free marketing options on Google Maps. Google introduced the idea of Google Coupons more than a year ago and yet, so few businesses are using this feature to market their business. Seems silly when it only takes a few minutes to upload an offer and when that offer might be the catalyst driving someone to your business instead of the one down the street. With that in mind, I've put together a quick tutorial on setting up a Google Coupon offer for your business.
What's that, you say? Google offers a coupon option? Why yes they do, though in asking around today I'm surprised at how many people either didn't know this or had forgotten. Google announced the service last summer but hasn't done much in the way of promoting it since then. In fact, I spent a good twenty or thirty minutes trying to find an example of a business that has a coupon listed and couldn't. So if you'd like a way to differentiate your business on Google Maps listings, here you go.
Setting up a Google Coupon is pretty darn easy. In fact, you could do it while you drink your morning coffee.
First you'll need to head to the Google Local Busines Center. You'll notice in the image below that you can either update your business listings, or you can click on the tab that says "coupons" and head straight into setting up an offer.
When you click on the coupons tab, you'll be taken to a page that gives you a brief description of what Google Coupons are and an example of what they look like. Click on the button that says "Add coupon now."
The next screen allows you to enter the information for your coupon.
As you can see in the image below, I've gone ahead and filled in the information for the coupon that I'd love to see our local ice cream shack set up. I've filled in the business name, given the coupon a title and a sub-heading, filled out the disclaimer in the details area and even set an expiration date. You can also see that Google allows you to enter an offer code, which is great if your business also takes orders online. As with the Google AdWords system, you get a preview of your coupon on the page as you type and edit the information.
Once you've submitted your coupon information, you'll be taken to a screen that gives you access to all of your existing coupons. This allows you to quickly edit, delete or even pause your coupon campaigns with the click of a mouse.
It's important to note that unless you've confirmed your business account with Google (via phone or postal mail) your coupon will not go live. That's not a bad thing by the way...you certainly don't want the competitor across town putting up a 50% off coupon for YOUR business. Confirming your information by phone hardly takes any time at all, so you can easily have your coupon up and running almost instantly.
While very few businesses seem to be taking advantage of this option yet, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't take five minutes to setup a coupon and test it. If nothing else, it can be a good way to get an idea of how many of your customers are finding you via Google Maps. That could give you an idea about the effort you need to spend on beefing up your business data or your local paid search campaigns.
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Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.
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