Google PlacesWe all know that as a Virtual Assistant, we can work with anyone, anywhere – but have you maximized your chances of being found by potential local clients by appearing on local searches on Google, Google+ and Google Maps. I have one client who having being told he had to start running payroll went on to Google Maps and did a search around his premises to find the nearest book-keeper. He was able to come and talk to me within minutes of finding the pinpoint on the map and realising I was within walking distance. In the early days, Google picked up local information from Yell listings, but now you can add your own business. It’s free and once you’ve got a listing you can add photos, videos and discount coupons to your profile.

To create your listing go to , sign in with your Google account and Add New Business. You’re then given the opportunity to find your business to see if Google already knows about you and if not you’ll be able to add it, along with all the basic information about what you do and what categories you want to be found under. When you’ve finished, you’ll be able to preview how your listing looks on Google Maps and submit it once you’re happy. Sometimes the pin needs moving a little if your postcode doesn’t exactly coincide with your premises. You’ll then need to verify the listing with a PIN sent to your phone or address – and you’re done.

You can see your local business listing live on Google by signing into your placesaccount and clicking See your listing on Google. This link will take you to your actual Place Page, as seen by users. This has now been integrated with Google+ and appears on the Local tab which is also where reviews of your business can be left by others.

This is a strong way to increase your visibility locally. Do let us know with a comment if you’ve had good experiences of this kind of marketing.

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