Managing and marketing your own business? We understand that there are a lot of things to consider in order to get noticed and drive your growth: things like advertising, keeping in touch with customers, and reaching the target market effectively. Fortunately, through Google Places (now Google+ Local), you can now connect with your customers and help your business stand out.
Overview of Google Places / Google+ Local

Google Places is an online directory of local businesses (listings) that is integrated with Google Search. Businesses can register for free, create a business page, and post important information on this page. Latest offers, promos, specialties, images, and videos can also be added to your Google Places / Google+ Local page.
With Google Places / Google+ Local, your customers are allowed to write reviews of your business, product, or service. You may find this favorable initially, but be aware that this feature cannot be turned off, even for negative reviews. That’s why it’s important to monitor online reviews and engage with customers, either to try to make it up for honest mistakes or clarify things that they may have misunderstood.
How Google Places Can Help Businesses
The service is free: Putting up a website and placing advertisements in newspapers, television, or other online directories and yellow pages can be very costly. Signing up for Google+ Local, however, is free, and can be an equally effective means of marketing your business.
Targeted advertising: Another problem with placing ads on TV, newspapers, and magazines is that these focus on multiple, more general segments of the market, instead of on specific segments that are most relevant for your business, product, and service. Because Google Places / Google+ Local is integrated with other Google products, you get to reach targeted potential customers in both search and social media platforms.
Greater chance of being found: We all know that most people these days go to the Internet to search for all kinds of information. More often that not, they use Google as their preferred search engine. This alone guarantees that your business has a higher chance of appearing in the search results of a Google search query.
Customer’s ability to give reviews helps your business build a good reputation: By signing up and creating a business page on Google Places / Google+ Local, you are positioning yourself to build a good business reputation. Provide your customers a positive experience and you’ll have happy people and nice reviews on your page.
About the author: Kristine M. is a writer who likes to share the latest developments in Internet marketing and high speed internet. For the latest developments in Google Places and more information on High Speed internet, watch out for her next posts.