Google has launched a promotion that runs through Friday giving small business owners 30 days free to test a new feature dubbed Google Tags.
Google Tags, an ad offering through Google Places, lets businesses highlight unique aspects to potential customers on Google Maps and Google.com for PC and mobile.
Mountain View, Calif.-based Google began testing the service last February in San Jose and Houston, and then slowly began rolling it out across the U.S. three weeks ago.
Business owners who verify their listing in Google Places can go to the dashboard to test the tool. Tags will allow them to enhance their listings that appear on Google.com and Google Maps with a yellow tag that emphasizes specific information such as a coupon, video, Web site, menu, reservations, photos, or a custom message. Businesses should chose the Tag they think might best attract potential customers to their business, and that best highlight the most interesting or unique aspects, according to a Google spokesperson.
The tool also lets small businesses track the effectiveness of their Tag via dashboard reports. The feature will cost $25 per month following the trial.
"Thousands of businesses have already tried Tags," says the spokesperson. "We've received great feedback about how Tags help them stand out and drive additional business."
Although it's a little early to quantify performance, M&M Builders, a construction company in San Jose, Calif., believes their business increased threefold since implementing a Tag that shows users photos of their work.
Google wants to make it as easy as using the Yellow Pages for small businesses, says David Szetela, founder at Clix Marketing. "Take Local Extensions, for example."
Szetela describes Local Extensions as an AdWords ad with a plus box. Click on the plus box and the map drop down, but the only thing on the map is the physical location of the advertisers. The alternative would find the consumer doing a search on Google Maps, which might serve up 10 companies that compete in the area for the consumers' dollars.