Trying to reach out to your local customers and get them through the door? It might be time to get your Google on.
While Craigslist takes on the classifieds, Google announced it will soon display printable coupons for local businesses in its Google Maps search results and business listing pages.
Local businesses that want to add their own coupons to Google Maps can do so for free in Google's Local Business Center, according to a statement.
There they can also add and update their business listings for Google Local. As part of the announcement, Google partnered with Valpak to add its coupons to the Google Maps coupon collection.
Google did not return a request for comment.
If the coupons move encourages local businesses to begin adding themselves to Google's local listings, the Maps product will become more relevant to shoppers.
The more relevant and useful Google Maps is to shoppers, the more it becomes a desired space for advertisers seeking their clicks.
JupiterKagan analyst Sapna Satagopan said it's an effort to get local business thinking about online marketing. Satagopan said Google is smart to form relationships with local businesses that might not be ready to pay for online advertising yet.
"I think it creates that talking point between Google and the local advertisers," she said. She thinks Google will keep track of how many users print coupons.
That will give Google data "to go into that local advertising market and say, 'look you've got so many coupons being printed out and those many that are being used. We can provide you more of that traffic if you want to sign up with us," she said.
Google wants a piece of the local advertising business traditionally owned by newspapers and yellow pages. It's tested a pay-per-call model, started selling radio airtime and has begun experimenting with television ads.
And Satagopan thinks Google is going to get a sizeable bite. "Local advertising is still going to be a much smaller percent over their overall business, but it's starting to play a much larger role as the local marketers understand a bit more," she said.
Adapted from internetnews.com.
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