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The marketing benefits of a Google virtual tour

Google is, without a doubt, the biggest internet search engine in the UK today, if not the world. In fact, “Google” is now commonly used as the verb for finding something on the internet. Google are more than just a search engine – they also have lots of applications to make your life easier including the popular Google Maps.

One of the best features of Google Maps is Google Street View. This is where you can switch to a view taken by the (in)famous Google Street View cars and take a virtual walk down a street. This is a great feature which enables you to get a feel for the area you can’t get from a 2D map alone. Have you ever been snapped by a Google Street View camera?

There are also now Google Virtual Tours which allow you to look inside buildings. As a naturally nosy person, the tours satisfy my craving for seeing behind the doors and walls of the buildings on Street View. Well, only those whose owners who have allowed Google inside their premises or homes. But why would someone allow Google inside?

Well, a Google Virtual Tour can be a hugely effective marketing tool. Firstly, they allow customers to see inside your premises. If your doorstep appeal is limited, then encouraging someone to come and look around your more beautiful innards is fantastic, even if it is from the comfort of their armchair. Next time they are passing, they may well come in for real, even if it’s just to see what’s different. Google themselves say that someone is twice as likely to make a reservation at a restaurant with a virtual tour.

The tours give an insight into what you do, and allow your customers to get to know you that bit better. Check out the world’s first locksmith van Google tour when local firm Fort Locks invited Google to take a look at their tools of the trade. It’s a real eye-opener into what the owner Kevin does in there, and provides a friendly insight into his business.

What did you think of his tour? Did it work in making you more interested in his business? Will you remember what Kevin does? Would it make you more likely to contact him when you need a locksmith? Even if it’s only a little, then you can see how Google Virtual Tours can be a great promotional tool for you. If a brief look inside a van can create more interest, then what could it do for your shop, restaurant, or showroom?

Google virtual tours are an integral part of Google Maps and as such can be viewed on mobile devices as well as desktop PCs. This has increased significance with more and more people accessing the internet through their phones and tablets. Having your own website is not enough these days. Your website also needs to be thoroughly responsive to different devices, and have quick load times to prevent impatient users clicking away when experiencing less-than-optimal mobile coverage. By piggy-backing on something as fast and responsive as Google Maps, you’re already a step ahead, and with Google’s power as a search engine, having another way in which to find your business will help you improve your website’s ‘searchability’.

The real selling point of Google Virtual Tours is the novelty. With relatively few businesses on there right now, it’s a great talking point. For the cost of a Google-approved photographer, you can be on there before your competition. If the early bird catches the worm, then have a look at the Google Virtual Tours available in your area and be a leader, not a follower.

If you let Google into your premises, what would you show them?

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