It is almost impossible these days to run a small business without an online presence of some sort. And it is almost impossible to have an effective online presence without at least a little knowledge of how to use the many tools Google puts at the disposal of businesses.
A business owner who learns to use these tools puts themselves at a huge advantage over those who don’t. You will have more potential customers visit your website; you will be able to market your business more effectively; and you will be able to monetise your online presence.
Google is constantly developing and evolving its offerings for SMEs, so it’s worth staying up to date with what the search giant has in its pipelines for small business. Video, local, and mobile are the three key trends business owners need to stay on top of when it comes to Google and small business marketing.
Here are four fantastic resources you can use to learn more about using Google to benefit your business.
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This Google initiative is aimed squarely at startups and is designed to put aspiring entrepreneurs on the path to achieving their business dreams. It’s a vast resource of information that can connect entrepreneurs to startup spaces, incubators, co-working spaces, and more recently, Google campuses around the world.
The Google for Entrepreneurs website also houses easy access to a suite of business tools such as Google Analytics, AdWords, and Google Cloud Platform. It’s basically a one-stop shop with all that you need to learn about integrating your business into the Google ecosystem.
Learning about the online world can sometimes seem daunting to even the most seasoned of digital professionals (trust me!). It is constantly changing, everyone has an opinion (often wildly divergent), and there’s an overload of information out there, with much of it not of the highest standard.
That’s why it’s always worth going back to the source and learning from the people who know their stuff inside out—in this case, Google. The Digital Garage is a designed as an online learning hub that can facilitate individual learning for a wide range of topics, from SEO through to the basics of setting up an e-commerce store.
Another great thing about it is that it’s free. The people at Google are smart (as if we didn’t already know that …) and while the altruism of free courses is commendable, it’s also all about enmeshing and deepening engagement between small businesses and Google. People who know all that Google can do in terms of services and tools are more likely to make use of those tools and services, which is only a good thing for Google.
This is a resource I use almost every day. Think with Google is targeted at marketing professionals but so much of it is totally relevant to anyone who is even remotely involved in running a business online.
It has brilliant and instructive articles and videos on topics such as consumer trends and behaviour, as well as marketing for tech trends like virtual reality and plenty more. It makes for great inspiration for your business strategies and ideas.
You should certainly be aware of this Google site as it’s the starting point for making sure people can find you through the search engine. It’s a pretty straightforward portal with plenty of resources to help guide even online novices through the process of making sure their business shows up in basic search.
One more thing you should know about …
YouTube Director is an initiative, launched in the US and UK last year, that helps make it easier for small businesses to make their own YouTube videos. There are three main components to Director:
- The YouTube Director for Business app, which helps you shoot, edit and upload an ad to YouTube with a minimum of fuss;
- YouTube Director on-site, which gives businesses the services of a professional videographer when the business spends at least $150 to advertise on YouTube; and
- The YouTube Director automated video, which creates a video ad automatically from existing assets like logos and app screenshots in the App Store or Google Play Store, and is available globally.
Considering video is such a potent way to reach customers, it’s worth keeping an eye on when YouTube (which is owned by Google) will roll out this complete suite of products to markets such as Australia. Hopefully, it will be soon.
Fi Bendall is chief executive of The Bendalls Group, a business that leads STRATEGY : ADVOCACY : MOBILE delivering the business acumen to drive effective positive results in a disruptive economy for the C-suite. Fi has recently won a Westpac/AFR 2015 100 Women of Influence award.