Google Maps Virtual Tour – Key Advantages
· “See Inside” Button – Permanent Display of the Virtual Tour on the Google Maps Info Card – The Tour Link populates in Google Maps, on the Google+ My Business Page (About section) and when the business is found under a direct search on Google Search. Example : https://goo.gl/LGoxYV
· Embed it! – Once the tour is visible on Google, 7-10 days after the shoot, it can be Shared or Embedded in ANY platform. And, a powerful feature, it can be shared from any perspective within the tour. For instance, if a hotel wanted to highlight the “rooftop pool”, they would find the best view in the tour and click the “embed button” to share that view specifically! When a recipient clicks on the link, they will find themselves looking at that very view and now be in the tour. This gives the business unlimited share content!
· Reduced “Bounce Rate”– Web sites that embed the VT on the Main page, sometimes as the “Hero” image, show significantly reduced bounce rates. The viewer is immediately captured by the novelty and interactiveness of the tour. They can’t help but take time to click around in the tour. This creates a virtual memory of being there! A very powerful step to converting a sale.
· Interactive Engagement – My favorite creative idea for using the VT – Scavenger Hunt Promotions! While preparing for the shoot, a business might think about how they could engage with their followers, by creating a scavenger hunt within the tour. By placing or utilizing unique artifacts within the space, they could offer promotional “savings” or coupon redemptions if the viewer finds the “dog with the bandanna”, or find the “monkey with symbols”, or by asking “what time was the virtual tour taken?” They could send out a link to the tour and offer a 2 for 1 dinner, or free dog treats, or 20% off if the client brings a screenshot of the “man throwing pizza dough”. I have yet to find a client that is so proactive, but I think that a social media group would be the perfect place to build on this idea.
· Coupons in the Tour – By printing a coupon and placing it strategically on the front desk or on a promotional item, a viewer could print a screen pic, or physically show the tour coupon to the business to redeem the offer. This would give the client a reason to visit the tour, and share the tour with friends. Also creating a trackable ROI for the business to gauge the effectiveness of the tour.
· Tour Dash – There are several software companies that have created an API overlay, giving the Virtual Tour another level of interactiveness. We can create hotspots over retail products that lead a viewer straight to an e-commerce purchase point. Shopping right out of the Virtual Tour; the future is now. We can help simplify the tour navigation by offering large business locations “island jumping” where a side menu offers quick navigation from the Lobby to the Pool or from the Tee to the Hole, or the Ticket counter to the purchased Seat. One could even sell seating in a large venue right from the tour! Very powerful!
#MapFixer – Fixing Google Map problems
· Google Map PIN’s – 7 out of 10 businesses have a problem with their Google Map’s PIN. Some need a small adjustment to bring their Street View Image into alignment. While others are buried beneath the multiple businesses sharing the same strip mall. The worst PIN’s are not even near the business. This is a nightmare to anyone trying to use Google Maps Navigation (65% of Mobile users) to find the location. Every marketing dollar is lost if the client tries to navigate to a location and ends up down the road, frustrated and confused. The PINmust be optimized for every location. It is quick and easy. A “No Brainer”!
· Multiple Locations – Google populates their maps by pulling address citations from any number of sources. Many times creating multiple PIN’s in multiple locations. This is another navigating problem that needs to be addressed. Recently I found 3 locations for a single RedBox Kiosk in Jacksonville. One was in the woods! This problem gets compounded when they have 100,000 kiosks.
· Moving or closing a business – Google will keep a PIN listed until you tell them not to. When a business moves, the will create a new PIN while leaving the old in place. This will cause major confusion to the navigating client. Losing sales when the client finds the old business closed and fails to navigate to the alternate location.
Google Plus – Optimization
· Basic Information – I find that business owners have no clue that Google Plus is the gateway to Google Local Search. By optimizing all of their pertinent information, Address, Categories, Hours, and Introduction, they will at least get recognized by Google Search, starting the climb to the “3 Pack”. From there, I offer POI (Point-of-Interest images taken while on location), to supplement their Google+ Posts. My basic package includes, 20 POI’s.
· Banner and Logo– I will create a Google+ banner and Profile Logo, helping a small business showcase their Branding. This populates in place of the basic Google Map image on their mobile device and in the Info Card when searched in Google. Many businesses will have 100,000 views of their G+ profile, with nothing to show the client! Just the basic scrape that Google offers on its own behalf. This is a major failing in their marketing.
· See Inside Button – The Virtual Tour is embedded in the About section of the Google+ My Business page automatically. This is very easy to find for the tech savvy, but the less savvy will need a little prompting. I will create a G+ Post that announces the Virtual Tour and links directly to Google Maps. Building Backlinks in the process.
· Circles – Like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and the others, you need to reach out to the world. This is as easy as following many other strategic people and groups. Usually they follow you back. This is known by everyone, yet practiced by very few.
· Google+ Posts, and +1’s – The fastest way to get ranked in a Natural Search for your category is to create a Google+ Post. A keyword heavy Google+ Post will get scraped within a day or two. I have seen G+ Posts ranked on the first page, while the business website is 8 pages deep. This is a very powerful, yet little known SEO tool. Also, Google plainly says that, +1’s of your Post are the most powerful backlinks in their search algorithm. If a business wants to get ranked, +1’s would be at the top of their list.