You’re a Favorite Place? Now Promote It

Filed in Local Search, Small Biz Marketing by Matt McGee on December 15, 2009 15 Comments

google-favorite-placesAwards and recognition are great … but other than putting a smile on your face and a spring in your step, most honors don’t amount to much for a company’s bottom line. Unless you promote it.

If you’ve been recognized by Google as a “favorite place”, now’s the time to start promoting it. And I don’t mean just sticking the decal on your window. There’s more you can do.

How to Promote your Favorite Place status

1.) Okay … yes … put the decal in your window and talk to customers/visitors about it.

2.) Spread the word away from your bricks-and-mortar shop. Consider what Avante Gardens, a florist in Orange County, Calif., has done:

First, owner Cathy Hillen-Rulloda blogged about it, which reaches anyone that follows her blog without visiting the store on a regular basis. It also reaches any industry peers who may read the blog. Don’t just stop with your blog, though; mention it on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever social network you use. Tell the local Chamber of Commerce and invite them to do a story in their next newsletter. Tell the local newspaper.

If you read that blog post, you’ll see a couple other clever things Cathy is doing:

3.) Build a contest around the decal. Like most people, Cathy doesn’t have the right gear to scan the barcode on her decal, so she’s doing a contest:

“I haven’t been able to scan the window decals bar code yet and am offering a free dozen long stem roses arrangement to the first visitor who can read it with an Android or iPhone, so come on down!”

Very smart. But that contest could be over tomorrow. It could be over right now for all I know! So Cathy has a secondary offer in place, too:

“We’re also offering a free gift to anyone who scans the decal between now and January 31.”

Avante Gardens is going to get a good 6-7 weeks of in-store promotion with that decal. That’s even smarter than a contest that might be over in a day or two. But it doesn’t have to be a contest. The main point is…

4.) Get your visitors to interact with the decal. It doesn’t do any good just sticking on your window; make sure people notice it and get to do something with it. Get them to scan it and see what happens. Why? Because when they make a connection with it, word of mouth will take over.

Customers who know about, play with, and have some connection to your Favorite Place decal will tell their friends.

They’ll tell their friends about the chance to win a free gift. They’ll tell their friends about the cool barcode scanner app that they finally got to play with. They’ll tell their friends to go check it out, too. And that’s really what this decal thing is all about — an excuse to create better word-of-mouth marketing for your small business.

So, go promote it.

Comments (15)

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  1. dan says:

    For anyone curious on what comes with the Favorite place mailer we did an unboxing. http://www.orangesoda.com/blog/2009/12/14/orangesoda-a-favorite-place-on-google/

    Another tip I would mention is maybe having a contest with people to get them to rate your business. Obviously you can’t dictate to them that the review be positive but you can encourage people to write reviews.

  2. There appears to be a bug in some of the scanning software that more frequently than should be the case takes the iPhone user to the wrong place…you may want to hold off just a tad on number 4 pending a resolution to this problem.

  3. Google has confirmed that one of their recommended apps, Quickmark, is interpreting the URL incorrectly and needs to be updated for it to work correctly.

    It is interesting the QR technology is still in such an immature state.

  4. gabrielblau says:

    This is so important and overlooked. Recognitions like Favorite Place are great catalysts for marketing and getting more promotion from the people who already know and love you. Now they have a reason to talk about you more.

  5. Matt McGee says:

    Mike – you’d think they would have sorted out all the tech issues before sending out 100k decals. Or actually, maybe you wouldn’t think that. :)

  6. MiriamEllis says:

    Hey Matt,
    We’ve forwarded a link to this very nifty article to our 2 clients who have been awarded Favorite Place recognition. Did John Tuggle mention to you that he got the poster? Pretty cool! And our locksmith fellow, too. I’m crossing my fingers about one other client of ours, as well. We’ll see! Great suggestions here.
    Miriam

  7. We played with the barcode, and struggled with it as well, trying several readers.

    One thing we did was create our own QR barcode and had it go to other URL’s directly; such as Google Review for us, Our URL, etc. Making them is really easy. Google QR BarCodes for info.

    Love the ideas, we’ll use them, Thanks.

  8. Laura Chase says:

    Thanks for this excellent article, we also got our Google Favorite Place sticker yesterday for our Minneapolis flower shop, Chezbloom. We did the happy dance and will be promoting it on our blog.

    Cheers!

    Chezbloom

  9. Thers is one other thing that mobile phones may need to read the QR code;this from Google:

    Update on 12/18: If your phone does not support the mobile version of Place Pages, you will be taken to the mobile version of the Google homepage upon scanning the QR code. The QR code itself is correct and should take you to the mobile Place Page on supported devices.

    Posted by Ryan Hayward & David Kim, Product Marketing Managers

  10. Cathy says:

    Matt -

    Thanks for being so on top of the topic and for the very kind words. :)

    Don’t know if you’ve seen Convert Offline’s Favorite Places badge graphic he’s offering for free use – http://www.convertoffline.com/google-maps-favorite-place-badge-help-yourself/

    Already spotted it on one local florist’s home page.

    I downloaded the Quickmark app on my iPhone but haven’t had any luck getting it to read the QR code properly yet. Anybody know if the software bug has been fixed?

  11. I think that the buggy Quickmark app had a date in the App store of Dec 11 ver 3.8.2 and it has not yet been updated.

  12. Cathy says:

    Thanks, Mike!

    I just read Matt’s article from Friday on SEL http://searchengineland.com/fix-coming-soon-for-google-favorite-place-decals-bug-32195 and QuickMark says it will be 2 weeks or so before the update is made available.

    A couple quick notes about promoting the decal: one florist has put it on her van window instead of the front door since more people see the vehicle out and about than stop in and visit her off-the-beaten-path shop.

    Another florist ran the decal through his scanner and has posted multiple copies since there’s more than one entry to his store.

  13. Matt McGee says:

    Miriam – I had no idea John got one, too. That’s very cool. And he’s certainly deserving of the recognition.

    Cathy – I was thinking the same thing for my wife. If she somehow got one, she’d probably put it on her car since she’s always out and about.

  14. Ryan Hayward says:

    QuickMark’s update with the fix is out: http://quickmark.cn/En/basic/index.asp

  15. Matt McGee says:

    Thx for the heads up, Ryan.

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