Do you have a listing in Google Places? If you don’t or if you don’t know what Google Places is, keep reading…

Customers look for you online

I haven’t opened a phone book in years and, apparently, I’m not alone! According to Google, “97% of consumers search for local businesses online.”

When your customers Google your utility, can they find you? If you have an up-to-date listing in Google Places, they can. Even if you don’t have a website!

An example of one utility’s Google Places listing

Mallory Valley Utility District (MVUD) in Franklin, Tennessee has a listing in Google Places. If you search for “Mallory Valley Utility District”, Google returns the following screen:

Google Search Screen

The first entry in the left column is MVUD’s website. Underneath, is their Facebook page. You did read Utility Information Pipeline #35 and now have a Facebook page, don’t you…?

To the right of the website links is a map with a push pin locating the MVUD office with their hours below the map. Clicking on the push pin opens a larger map in Google Maps and clicking on that push pin opens Mallory Valley Utility District’s Google Place listing as shown in this screen:

Mallory Valley Utility District Google Places Listing

As you can see, the Google Place listing shows the office address, phone number and logo and provides a link for driving directions to the office.

Why create a Google Places listing?

Jenny Clarke, Office Manager at Mallory Valley Utility District says, “I created the Google Places listing because more and more people use Google to find telephone numbers and addresses these days than they use the phone book, so it made sense to us to create a Google Places account. Customers can easily view our location now through Google.”

Jenny goes on to say, “Plus, we had a problem… Google was listing our address and phone number incorrectly. It was pulling a phone number and address to one of our pumping stations. With the Google Places account, I was able to correct the error and that has been very helpful.”

It’s easy to create your Google Places listing

To create your listing, go to www.google.com/places and click the “Get started” button. You will be prompted to enter your office phone number. If Google already recognizes your phone number, it will offer you the opportunity to edit the existing information and add additional details.

If your phone number isn’t recognized, you will be prompted to enter your organization’s name, address, phone number, e-mail address and website. You may also enter a description and a category for your listing, your office hours, methods of payment you accept and up to 10 images. These images can include your logo, as MVUD’s listing does, or photos of your office.

Finally, Google will mail you a PIN within two weeks to verify your listing. Once you enter this PIN in Google Places, your listing will be active.

Even if you don’t have a website, Google Places can provide a web presence for your utility. Without your own website, your Google Places listing solves three of the eight common website mistakes to avoid that I wrote about in Utility Information Pipeline #34.

What has been your experience?

Do you already have a Google Places listing? If you do, how has it benefitted you?

Better yet, if reading this has inspired you to create one, I would love to hear about that, too. In either case, please click here to post your comments.

If you have questions about Google Places or creating your listing, please contact me by calling 919-232-2320 or e-mailing me at gsanders@logicssolutions.com.

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© 2012 Gary Sanders