By Peter Ricci
Yesterday, we looked at how real estate agents can establish themselves as neighborhood experts by creating custom maps in the Google Maps function.
Today, in the second part of our neighborhood expert series, we’ll take a look at another, more subtle use of Google Maps – adding your business to Maps and generating customer reviews on your Maps profile.
Adding Your Business to Google Maps
First, you’ll want to make sure you actually have your business listed on Google Maps. The process is extremely intuitive (like most things on Google) and simple. All you have to do is go to the Google Local Business Center page, sign in to your Google account, and enter in the information for your business.
Here’s a screenshot of what that page will look like:
Along with the general contact information, Google allows you to specify your hours of operation and upload 10 photos, five videos, coupons and other features. Be aware, though, that you will have to confirm the business with a PIN that Google will sent to either your mobile phone or e-mail, and it will take a couple weeks (maybe even a month) for your business to appear. Here’s what the PIN page will look like:
Customer Reviews and Google Maps
You’ll now be able to integrate Google Maps into your business plan. For one, your business will now appear on Google Maps, so navigating to wherever you are located will be easier than ever for potential clients. And second, as we indicated in the introduction, Google Maps business profiles allow for a great opportunity for customer reviews.
Customer reviews, which we’ve covered at length, are becoming more and more mainstream in the world of real estate, and as soon enough, they’ll become a common way for potential clients to vet which agents they choose to work with. Because of that fact, your reputation depends heavily on how you’re portrayed online, and a Google Maps business listing will be a great way to add to your reputation.
Check out this image of a business listing for the United Real Estate office in Houston:
Now, notice how beneath all the basic information about the business – address, city, website, etc. – there is a “Write a review” option? That is where your clients will write their reviews of your business, and that is where your reputation will develop.
When a review is written, here’s how it will appear on your business profile (look in the lower left corner):
Think of this scenario – a client, overjoyed with your services, tells her sister about your office; the sister, equally excited to find a sterling agent to sell her home, looks you up on Google Maps to find your address; see sees your profile, detailed like the above example, and with sparkling reviews written by other past clients.
What a great way to bolster your reputation as a real estate expert! And thanks to Google, it couldn’t be easier.