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Image via Wikipedia

Yup, Google is using the phone to “advertise”. Find out why below.

Google is in fact using several hundred sales reps to reach out to local businesses directly. Restaurants, spas, hotels receive calls and with incentives to use their local placements and local ad features. A special office in Tempe, Arizona was set up to handle the bulk of these calls.

I personally wonder how easily they convince business owners that they actually are legit reps from Google. There is so much spam and misrepresentation out there, and I’ve actually listened to calls, received them myself, and enough email spam to cover the globe 1,000 times.

The missed opportunity of the acquisition of Groupon (offer: $6 billion) would have been a big infusion of local advertising expertise. A staff of 1,500 would have created a major, and fast impact. But, they are breaking ground themselves.

Why is Google doing this phone outreach now?

A larger and growing community of local businesses are looking for ways to advertise online. Many realize that the Yellow Pages is becoming stale, and expensive for very little return (generally speaking).

Local search is a big deal, and over 20% of searches are done for local information. Creating new customers for local business, and raising awareness for their products and services will increase in 2011.

Image representing Marissa Mayer as depicted i...
Image via CrunchBase

Google’s new local-ad offerings are simple and they work – Marissa Mayer, Google VP of Geographic and Local Services

As a local merchant in Portland recently experienced, a $25.00 a month program to highlight the store and show a $10 off coupon for keyword related to her business, is a no-brainer.

Here’s what it looks like:
local 25.00 advertising google fee example

Advertising Mastery.

Google knows advertising. $24 billion in revenue in 2009 came in through their Adwords program, where owners and search marketing consultants can run advertising across multiple channels, from text displays to image/banner advertisements.

Many view Adwords as a powerful, but extremely complex system, and especially the local business owners.  The bidding system involves a lot of parameters and moving parts. A simpler, fixed “bidding” amount was introduced.

Only a small portion advertise online, and many still are using the “old ways” of advertising. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, they think.

Big Spenders.

Small business will spend about $20 billion online this year, and reaching numbers into $35 billion+ in 2014. Clearly, a huge opportunity for owners and consultants both. Google is therefore using a smaller group of the 23,000 employees to work with local business, as well as Fortune 500 companies and ad agencies to reach deeper into the geographical opportunities.  Google “place” pages was updated this year, and Facebook quickly followed suit. Getting listed and have presence  in both places is a good start.

Soon to come.

Local Ad
Image via Wikipedia

A new search result display now includes information from Google places and maps (it “overlays” on the right side of the display).

And, the mobile devices and new hardware, applications and operating systems may help people pay for goods directly at a local store, competing with credit cards.

“The office” is Googling. Are you?

What are you thinking?


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Entrepreneur Magazine says Jon Rognerud is one of the most sought-after Digital Marketing Experts. His clients extend from high-end brands and middle-tier businesses in both B2B and B2C. His SEO website optimization book, "The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Website" from Entrepreneur Press is in bookstores now.