I am pretty sure that Google will someday rule the world. And while my "less governance is better governance" belief runs through every vein…I do have to say, "hail to the king!"
Here's why your business needs to have a Google account:
Google Local Business Center (www.google.com/lbc): The LBC is a free tool that enables business owners to control the content of their business listings as they appear in Google Search and Google Maps. All you have to do is claim your listing in the LBC and go through a quick verification process to get access to the following kinds of data:
- Impressions: The number of times the business listing appeared as a result on a Google.com search or Google Maps search in a given period.
- Actions: The number of times people interacted with the listing; for example, the number of times they clicked through to the business' website or requested driving directions to the business.
- Top search queries: Which queries led customers to the business listing; for example, are they finding the listing for a cafe by searching for "tea" or "coffee"?
- Zip codes where driving directions come from: Which zip codes customers are coming from when they request directions to your location.
Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics/): Google Analytics is a web analytics solution that gives you rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness.
Powerful, flexible and easy-to-use features now let you see and analyze your traffic data in an entirely new way. With Google Analytics, you're more prepared to write better-targeted ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives and create higher converting websites.
Google Docs (docs.google.com): is a free, Web-based word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and form application offered by Google. You can import your existing documents, spreadsheets and presentations, or create new ones from scratch. You can invite people to your documents and make changes together, at the same time.
Google Calendar (calendar.google.com):
- Share your schedule- web based
- Get your calendar on the go
- Never forget another event again with built in reminders via email or text
- Send invitations and track RSVPs
- Sync with your desktop applications(Outlook, iCal and Sunbird)
- Work offline
Google Mail or GMail (mail.google.com): Gmail is the Google approach to email and chat. Practically unlimited free online storage allows you to collect all your messages, and Gmail's simple but very smart interface lets you find them precisely and see them in context without effort. POP and powerful IMAP access bring Gmail to any email program or device.
And I'm not even going to get into Google Wave, AdWords, or AdSense. If you want to read more about ALL of Google's tools, check out their Google Business Solutions page.
Bottom line — no business but especially no small or local business can afford not to take advantage of Google's free tools. Don't miss out.