Google's Free Marketing Tools
Take advantage of Google's free marketing tools
Whether you have money to burn or are cheap like me, if you have a website to market or products or services to sell, Google offers a number of free tools to help you. Many people don't realize this, or they don't know about all of Google's offerings. If you're one of those folks, or if you think that the tools aren't worth much because they're free, please take some time to learn about Google's tools.
Links to each tool I discuss are provided, and I've researched some of the better books about using Google that you can find on Amazon.
Last but not least, if you don't have a Google account, go set one up!
Analytics is probably the most useful Google marketing tool and will help marketers and the webmasters alike. Google Analytics analyzes your traffic, telling you where it comes from and what happens to it once it enters your site. It helps you improve your results online. With Analytics you can focus on campaigns and iniatives that will give you a return on your investment and help you improve your site to convert more visitors.
Use this program to search popular trends. If you want to know what the latest hot products are, Google Trends will help you find out.
When you visit the site you'll see today's hot trends in the USA. You can enter one or more search items that are of interest to you and see what the search volume has been for those terms. A timeline shows what the trend has been, and alongside that are dates and news stories that correspond. The program also gives you information about the trend by region, city, and language.
You can explore the audiences of specific websites with Google Trends as well. Enter one or more sites and a graph will show you the trend of daily unique visitors. You'll also see the trends for the site in different countries, other sites the visitors visited, and what else they searched for.
If you are a marketer or webmaster who wants to get your information on the webs quickly,Google Sitemaps is your tool. It will put your newly created pages on into the Google Search Index extremely quickly. This is an XML file that is uploaded to Google as you add new pages on your site. Google Sitemaps is one of a variety of tools from Google Webmaster.
Not even sure about your site's status in the Google index? Use this easy Google tool to find out.
You can do a lot with Google Docs -- it is a good tool to have at your disposal as you market your products or services. Just a few of the features:
For marketers, one of the best features may well be that you can save files in the PDF format (think ebooks, brochures, etc). Learn more about Google docs.
Google Product Search (formerly Froogle)
Froogle was a much more fun name, but whatever you call it, Google Product Search is a real boon for online sellers. It helps shoppers find and buy products across the web. As a seller, you can submit your products to Google Product Search, allowing shoppers to quickly and easily find your site.
It's free, and easy to use. After you upload your product information (there are several ways to do this) your products will appear on Google Product Search and may be displayed on Google.com. Your store and products will be shown to shoppers when they type in search terms relevant to your product offerings. Shoppers simply click on your listing to be brought to your site. Visit the Google Merchant Center for all of the details and to sign up.
You'll be able to upload your items via data feeds, direct uploads, or by using Google's API.
For a long time I had an eBay store, and I found that using this tool greatly improved my store traffic. Not only did it increase, but the percentage of visitors to my store who found it through Google rather than eBay doubled.
Google Website Optimizer
Website Optimizer is a tool for testing site content that gives you results you can use. Some of the many benefits of testing are:
Google helps you out with quite a few resources, including testing strategies,
The basic tools are free, but if you decide you want to spend some money on this, you can sign up for a service plan from one of Google's authorized consultants.
Put Google Alerts to work for you
Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. Set up an alert to be notified when your site or name are mentioned. Use Alerts to track news about your competitors or about your products. If you're researching the market for niche products or services, Google Alerts will give you the latest information. This service has lots of handy marketing-related uses.
Google Buzz - another social networking tool to help market your business
“Google Buzz is a new way to start conversations about the things you find interesting. It's built right into Gmail, so you don't have to peck out an entirely new set of friends from scratch — it just works. Our goal is to make Buzz a fully open and distributed platform for conversations.” (Google blog)
Here are some reasons to consider adding Buzz to your marketing mix:
Blogging has become essential. Every site should have at least one blog to help bring in traffic. eBlogger is Google's free and easy-to-use blogging service. A few of Blogger's many features include:
There are so many ways a blog can help you promote your business. Learn all you need to know at Blogger.
Market yourself or your business on YouTube
As much of the world has found, Google's YouTube is an excellent marketing platform. Use it to increase sales and gain exposure. You can get more information at:
How Michael Buckley makes a six-figure salary through YouTube
Why limit your web site or blog to one language? Now you can expand your international audience with Google Translate.
With this tool you can make your site's content available in 51 languages -- when people visit your page, if their language (as determined by their browser settings) is different than the language of your page, they'll be prompted to automatically translate the page into their own language. If the visitor's language is the same as your page's language the translation banner will not appear.
It's easy to install — all you have to do is cut and paste a short snippet into your webpage to increase the global reach of your blog or website. Automatic translation is convenient and helps people get a quick gist of the page. However, it's not a perfect substitute for the art of professional translation.
You might also want to try the Google Translator Toolkit for translating content that you will put on your web site or blog or in articles, documents or other communications that you distribute.
For more information, you can also check out the hub How Google Translate Works.
Google Voice - free phone numbers, calls and more
Google Voice just keeps getting better all the time, and it's a service that can definitely help you market your business and keep costs down. Here are some of the many features offered by Google Voice:
Google Business Solutions
To see the complete range of services (free and fee), head over to Google Business Solutions, where you'll find a complete list of and links to services that can help your business.
Google Local Business Center
Google's Local Business Center (including Google Places) is a valuable FREE tool to help you market your business locally. It's easy to use and offers you:
Free listing Local customers already search Google for the products and services you offer. Create a business listing to be sure they find you. You'll be listed on Google's free business 411 service, 1-800-GOOG-411.
Free updates Keep your address, phone number, hours of operation, and more up-to-date. Even display photos and videos, all for free.
Holding a special event today? Want to post a coupon for 5-7pm tonight? Have a new product in stock? You can now get the word out by posting to your Place Page directly from your Local Business Center dashboard. Once you've logged in and are on your business' dashboard, post an update and it will go live on your Place Page in just a few minutes.
Free insights Use the power of Google's data to learn where your customers come from and what they search for to find you.
Add coupons to your Local Business Listing With more and more people using their mobile devices to find local businesses, Google's option for Local Business Center users in the US to display their coupons on mobile devices is a great feature. And, of course, people can print out coupons from your listing on their printers as well.
GOOG-411 is another way to help customers find your business. And it's free, whether you're a business that wants to be found or an individual looking for local business information. Users can access 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) from any phone, anywhere, at anytime.
GOOG-411 uses listing information provided by a variety of providers, but says that "the basic information that you submit through Google Places is the information that we trust the most. This means that it will appear instead of any basic information that we get from anywhere else."
If you're not using Google Places already, that's where you want to start. Visit the Google Places User Guide for information about how to get started.