We’ve moved!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 | 2:04 PM

Check us out on the brand new Google and Your Business blog.

Why the move? After being around for a couple years, we thought the phrase “small business” didn’t quite capture everything we were trying to say. It’s really about bringing you the stories, best practices and updates that can help you make the web work for business — large and small. Read the full announcement here, and be sure to update your bookmarks and subscribe to the new blog for updates.

Posted by Vicky Tait, Google and Your Business Blog Team

Help Desk Hangout: Learn about Google Earth Pro

Friday, May 25, 2012 | 4:36 PM


Editor’s note: Each week on the Google+ Your Business page, we’re putting you in touch with Googlers and users who can help you as a business owner get the most out of our products and features.

In our latest Help Desk Hangout On Air, Google Earth experts +Dan Cohen and +Alex Kain taught us how your business can use Earth Pro to help you visualize your company’s data. Missed it? You can watch the full hour-long Hangout on the Google Business YouTube channel (look for the minute-by-minute breakdown in the description so you can easily skip around):



Here are a few of the questions you asked us to answer during the Hangout:

What is Google Earth?
Google Earth’s client software that's used primarily as a visualization tool. You may have even used it once or twice to swoop in to the globe and check out your house! And Earth Pro is a professional product with a few additional features you can use, which we dive deeper into during the Hangout.

What are some features of Earth Pro that can help my business?

A ton! Let’s break this down into the highlights:

  • Advanced measuring tools: Quickly and easily measure and stylize complex polygons. Property developers and building designers can quickly estimate the area and perimeter of a property. Afterward, they can quickly stylize the polygon so it’s easily seen on their map.
  • Save premium imagery: Save premium images of the maps you create in Earth Pro for inclusion in your business materials. Save a premium image of all your customer locations to share with your investors.
  • Bulk data import: Import and stylize CSV files (with address or lat/long data), GIS shapefiles, or GPS data to include in the maps you create. Real estate agents quickly upload and locate all the properties in their portfolios by importing CSV files containing the addresses of their properties.
  • U.S. premium data layers: Take advantage of the robust U.S. Demographic, Parcel and Traffic Count data layers that are a part of the Earth Pro package. Architects fly to the location of their next project, use the parcel data layer to find the parcel number, and use the parcel number to find the zoning restrictions for the property they’ll be working on.
  • Movie Maker: Quickly and easily create high-definition movies. Nature touring companies create high-definition videos using Earth Pro that take you along the path of their tours.

Do I have to commit to buying Earth Pro upfront? 
Nope — just sign up for a free seven-day trial to see how you like it.

To learn more about how to get started with Google Earth Pro, check out our overview site (FAQs, customer stories, and more!). And remember to tune in to the live stream of our next Hangout at 11 a.m. PT Wednesday May 30 when we teach you more about AdWords.

Posted by Vanessa Schneider, Google Places community manager

Small businesses talk about growing online

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 | 9:03 AM

With so much advice about what businesses should be doing online and not always enough time to sort through it all, sometimes the most useful thing is to hear from someone that’s doing it right.

Recently in Detroit, Accelerate with Google was proud to take the stage with several local small business leaders for a panel discussion on growing businesses and relationships online. Joined by 80 other Detroit-area businesses at the Michigan Minority Procurement Conference, the panelists shared stories of their successes and challenges forming relationships in the digital age.

Google has worked with these businesses to help them grow their presence online, and they’ve really embraced a digital-first strategy to finding new customers. Here are some of their tips:

Amy Courter, Chief Information Officer, VisionIT
“A good starting point is to first define and align your strategy for being online. Determine your goals, audience, message and interaction. For VisionIT, our roots were in web development and part of this industry requires us to continually evaluate our online presence. The new age of marketing is about building brand, interest and awareness through customer loyalty and adding value for the consumer. As traditional models lose their efficacy, and inbound marketing gains popularity, we learn that it’s more important to earn people’s interest, instead of buying and forcing it.”

Leah Fairman, Director of Sales, Corporate Snobs
“Having an online presence has opened many doors for our company. We have been able to capture a particular market share in our business that our local competitors haven't due to a lack of their online presence. Getting noticed when your customers are looking for your products and services speaks volumes for your company. It sends the message that you are serious about your business, trustworthy and in tune with current technology. This makes you a serious player in your industry.”

Linzie Venegas, Chief Marketing Officer, Ideal Shield
“The most important thing that I have learned since I have moved to online space is that you must put someone in charge; this person must continuously evaluate your website as well as website presence. I have also learned that it is important to adapt to new technology. For instance, we are looking to move to Google Apps for Business, and this will save our company money and allow our IT people to work more efficiently.”

Later this week, another group of entrepreneurs we admire – some of the startup founders from the NewMe Accelerator – will sit down at Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference and share their wisdom on growing their internet businesses. Google will also be there to share classroom-style workshops staffed by our team on how to grow and promote your business online, and mastering search engine strategies. The Entrepreneurs Conference has been a great venue every year for entrepreneurs to network and find successful strategies for growth, and we are looking forward to meeting some of you there!

Posted by Chris Genteel, Business Development Manager - Global Diversity

Introducing the Webmaster Academy

Monday, May 21, 2012 | 3:51 PM

As more and more customers are searching for products and services online, it’s important for businesses to have an established presence on the Internet. We’ve heard a lot of business owners say they’d like to learn how to do this, so we are excited to announce Webmaster Academy. Webmaster Academy will walk you through the information you need to get your site up and running with Google in easy to understand steps.

For example, the Academy has information about how Google Search works and how to create a great website for your users, along with information on how to use great (and free!) diagnostic tools such as Webmaster Tools. It’s divided up into easy, short lessons so you can track your progress. At the end of every lesson you’ll be one step closer to having a great website.

Stay tuned here for upcoming posts from the Webmaster Academy, including topics like:

  • An explanation of how Google Search works (get a sneak peek by watching this video)
  • How best to represent a brick and mortar business online
  • An introduction to Search Engine Optimization

We’re excited to share more with business owners of all sizes. Be sure to check out the Webmaster Academy and spend some time exploring!

Posted by Garen Checkly, Search Quality Team

Measuring what matters for your small business

| 10:10 AM

Editor's Note: The SMB Blog team wants to wish everyone a Happy National Small Business Week! To kick off the week, we're continuing a new series we're calling Measurement Mondays. Stay tuned to the hashtag #MeasurementMondays on Google+ for ongoing tips and thoughts to help businesses measure the things that matter.

As a business owner, there are many different metrics that are important to you - like what were my sales this month, and how many new employees can I hire this year? Similarly, there are important things that you should be measuring for your online marketing efforts which can help you improve your customer experience and potentially drive more sales.

Here are five things that every business should consider:

  • Start by identifying the right goals for you: Think about the business objectives of your website and marketing efforts, and identify specific customer actions that represent success. For instance, maybe your goal is to drive foot traffic to your store or to boost requests for an online quote. Other goals like signing up for a newsletter, viewing an important page on your site, or filling out an inquiry form can also be important indicators. Just as every business is unique, the metrics that signal success will vary. But it’s crucial for every business to know what matters to you so that you can make the most of your marketing efforts.
  • Understand how to measure ad effectiveness: Once you’ve identified your goals, it’s time to create ads that drive people to your store or site to achieve those goals. The most basic measure of your online ad effectiveness is your clickthrough rate (or CTR) which is the number of clicks that your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown (called impressions). CTR shows you how often the people who see your ad end up clicking on it, and a high CTR signals that users find your ads helpful and relevant.
  • See whether clicks are leading to conversions: It can also be important to see whether those ad clicks actually led someone to buy from you. To do this, you can use tools like AdWords Conversion Tracking, which is a free tool in AdWords that shows you what happens after a customer clicks on your ad. Did they ultimately buy something from your site or sign up for an email newsletter? By looking at how your ads impact conversions on your site, you’ll learn which keywords and ads are effective at bringing valuable customers which can help you invest more wisely.
  • Examine how online efforts are driving offline customers: For some businesses, driving traffic or calls to your brick and mortar store can be more valuable than a website visit. When people search for local products and services on their mobile phones, like a nearby hardware store or a local restaurant, they often prefer to call the business directly. With click-to-call ads, mobile shoppers can easily call your business directly from an ad that they see. Within your ad reports you can see the number of calls that were driven by your ad campaigns. Asking your customers at checkout how they heard about your company can also be an easy way to keep track of what is really bringing them through your door.
  • Keep measuring, keep experimenting: Businesses these days have no shortage of data available to them, and I know that it can sometimes feel overwhelming. The important thing about measurement for every business is to just get started and keep experimenting. Your customers and your business are constantly evolving, so remember not to set it and forget it. There often isn’t a right or wrong answer, but the data can reveal insights that help you win the moments that matter with your customers.
I hope these tips have given you some food for thought about how measurement can help you reach more customers and drive more sales. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on how you can take your website measurement to the next level. Happy measuring!

Posted by Francoise Brougher, Vice President of SMB Sales and Operations

Help Desk Hangouts: Getting to know Chromebooks, Part II

Friday, May 18, 2012 | 8:00 AM

Editor’s note: Each week on the Google+ Your Business page, we’re putting you in touch with Googlers and users who can help you as a business owner get the most out of our products and features.

In our latest Help Desk Hangout On Air, we continued our conversation about Chromebooks for your business (if you missed the first one, check out our recap). Chrome product manager Glenn Wilson and Will Paulus walked us through the management console, which allows you to oversee your fleet of Chromebooks in a low-touch, scalable way. Miss the event? You can watch the whole thing on the Google and Your Business YouTube channel. And, if you’re interested in learning more about Chromebooks, fill out this form (http://goo.gl/pP0mg) to stay up to date on all the latest news and product announcements.



Check out the video description on the YouTube page for a minute-by-minute breakdown.

Some of the questions we answered during the Hangout:

What can I do with the Chromebooks management console?

Quite a bit! The typical actions include:
  • Setting configuration settings for your managed (enrolled) devices, like turning off Guest mode.
  • Setting configuration settings for users on your domain, like force-installing certain extensions.
  • Tracking device state, like when a device was last used, or what version of the OS it is running.
What about user login tracking? I want to know who the last person to use a Chromebook was.

We’ve heard this request a lot recently — it’s on our to-do list.

Will there be remote wipe available if the Chromebook is lost or stolen? Similar to the mobile policy in the management console.

First, it’s important to note that every Chromebook encrypts all user data, so even if it is stolen, there’s no way for anyone to get to your data without your password. Remote Wipe is on our list.

Can you block based on content type? Like block gaming and adult sites?

We don’t have content type filter in the management console; however, most administrators use a third-party filtering service to do this. You would simply set your devices and users to use the proxy setting the third-party service gives you. If you are interested in finding which filtering services work well with Chromebooks, please contact sales.

Be sure to join us for next week’s Hangout at 11 a.m. PDT Wednesday May 2, when we discuss Google Earth Pro. We’ll be collecting your Earth questions early next week on the Google+ Your Business page.

Posted by Toby Stein, Google+ community manager

Announcing the next series of Learn with Google webinars!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 | 10:46 AM

Earlier this year, we introduced the Learn with Google webinar program, and we were delighted to see thousands of you show up to learn about a variety of Google advertising products and solutions. Today, weíre happy to announce the continuation of our series with 10 new webinars over the next few months. During each webinar weíll share tips and how-toís to help make the web work for your business.

Check out our upcoming live webinars below:

  • May 23 at 10am PDT: Getting Started with Google Analytics
  • May 24 at 9am PDT: Building Blocks of Digital Attribution
  • May 31 at 10am PDT: Introduction to TrueView for YouTube
  • June 5 at 10am PDT: GoMo: Mobilize your Site with Quick and Easy New Tools
  • June 6 at 10am PDT: Our Mobile Planet: Understanding U.S. Smartphone Consumers
  • June 7 at 10am PDT: Introducing Mobile Apps Inventory in AdWords
  • June 12 at 10am PDT: Get Local with ZIP Code Targeting to Increase Sales/Leads
  • June 14 at 10am PDT: Search Optimization: Tips, Tricks, and Tools
  • June 19 at 10am PDT: Bringing the Power and Control of Search to Display
  • July 10 at 10am PDT: Account Management Tools for Large Advertisers and Agencies

Visit our webinar page to register for any of the sessions and to access past webinars on-demand. Weíll be adding new webinars as theyíre scheduled, so check back regularly for updates. You can also stay up-to-date on the schedule by downloading our Learn with Google Webinar calendar to automatically see upcoming webinars in your Google Calendar.

Whether your goal is to engage the right customers in the moments that matter, make better decisions, or go bigger, faster, we hope that youíll use these best practices and how-toís to maximize the impact of digital and grow your business. Weíre looking forward to having you at an upcoming Learn with Google webinar!

Posted by Erin Green, Marketing Coordinator