If you’re in marketing and wondering if you should be utilizing Google+ for Business – my answer is a resounding Yes!
I’ll admit that I was skeptical when Google+ first released Brand Pages and hesitated to commit to using Google+ as part of our web marketing strategy. There are so many different social media networks and so little time. I wasn’t eager to add another social network to my list. I was wrong to hesitate and thought I’d explain what I’ve learned and how Google+ helps your website convert leads into sales.
How Google Search Works (in a Nutshell)
Google is continuously improving their search engine software to provide more personalized and socially relevant search results for users. There are different opinions out there regarding just how much control we should give to Google in determining how personalized our search results should be, and I’m not going to go into that debate issue here.
Instead, I want to share Google’s brilliant business strategy that has made Data the currency of the internet.
The majority of Google’s products are 100% free and target individual consumers. We, the consumers, use these geeky web tools and instead of paying for them with money, we pay for them by giving Google certain permissions to collect and share information about us.
The majority of Google’s profit comes from ad revenues for pay-per-click, Adwords, and other online advertisements presented to consumers as we surf the web. Google is so profitable because it uses the data from consumers to personalize the ads each person views. This makes the ads more relevant and less annoying to the consumer and also makes the ad more effective and likely to result in a sale for the ad buyer’s business.
Talk about an awesome example of a win-win situation!
- Google wins = they earn a profit
- Consumers win = free tools they want and less boring internet ads
- Businesses win = affordable online advertising with measurable results
The Proof is in the Numbers
Google works, and the proof is in the number of people who are using it. Here are some usage stats:
Around 65% of all U.S. internet searches are done using Google’s search engine. (reported by comscore.com)
According to an eweek.com article, Google averages:
- 1 billion searches each day
- 1 billion searchers each week
- 1 billion unique visits each month
- And according to Google co-Founder Larry Page, there are over 100 million users on Google+.
Google has created a service that delivers personal, individual results to each of its more than 1 billion users, profitably.
How Google+ for Business Works
Anyone who creates a free Google account also automatically gets a Google+ plus account now. As I mentioned above, there are currently over 100 million Google+ users and that number is still growing. You’ll need to have your own Google+ personal profile set-up before you can create one for your business.
Google has some really great resources and training videos to help you set-up your organization’s Google+ Brand Page on the Google Plus for Business website. Schipul is partnering with Google’s Houston team to host 2 terrific and Free events: an upcoming webinar on May 29th and a hands-on workshop June 19th for those of you interested in getting help with Google+.
Google+ Brand Pages for businesses have some restrictions and you can’t just go start following all your clients or add them to circles immediately. Since Google’s business model demands protecting the privacy of its users and making sure we all enjoy using Google’s products, businesses can only follow users who first come and add your Brand Page to one of their circles.
Why You Want A Google+ Brand Page
Google+ Brand pages have started to show up in search results in a very noticeable way. For example, if I’m following a certain Brand on Google+ and do a search in Google, their Google+ page shows up on the right hand side at the top of the search results. Some Brands are starting to show up there even if I’m not currently following them or when I search anonymously.
Google hasn’t exactly explained why some Google+ Brand pages are showing up on search results when you aren’t following them, but Mashable has a theory that it could be related to Google’s Direct Connect program. The Direct Connect Program links your Google+ Brand Page and your website. I highly recommend you get a Google+ badge for your website and register with the program.
Google+ Secret Recipe for Higher Lead Conversions
If the premium placement of your Google+ Brand page on search results isn’t motivation enough to add Google+ to your marketing strategy, combine it with the Social aspect that Google’s integrated with their search engine and I believe you’ll see why I’ve changed my tune.
As marketers, we understand the value of relationships when it comes to generating leads that convert to sales. Referrals from existing clients close more often, faster, and at a reduced cost than cold leads. People are far more likely to work with the business a friend or family member recommends than go with a company they’ve never heard of.
One recent study shared on econsultancy.com’s website showed that 88% of consumers look at reviews from other customers before making a purchase decision. 52% of those surveyed said their purchasing decisions were influenced by their friends’ recommendations. The study also showed that just by having reviews or testimonials on your website increased your lead conversion rate by over 60% in most cases.
We already know that when your prospects come to your website and read positive reviews of your work, they have a higher chance of converting to become a client. Since Google+ results now show up on Google search results, Google+ gives prospects your positive reviews and recommendations from the search results page. Prospects can compare the results with other competing sites before clicking through to a website. If the research is accurate, then that means there is a good chance that more people will visit the websites of companies with more positive reviews from Google+.
As an added bonus, the Google search results from Google+ also show the searcher who in their network has +1‘d your business, implying they recommend you.
Google+ Brand Pages are the new digital version of the “Ask for a Referral” postcard used by traditional direct marketers. Asking for referrals has always been a very effective marketing strategy, in my experience.
Please +1 Schipul’s Google+ Page
Come check out Schipul’s Google+ Brand Page and tell us what you think about using Google+ for business.
Be sure to register for one of our upcoming Free Google+ training events before they sell out:
GOOGLE+ FOR BUSINESS WEBINAR – Tuesday May 29th, 2012 1:30PM to 2:30PM CST
Google Hands-On Workshop – Tuesday June 19th, 2012, Details to be Announced Soon!