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10 Oct

The Next Level: Google Business 360° Virtual Tours

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Seeing is believing - at least that's what the old adage says. But did you know that the actual quote doesn't end there? The quote from 17th-century English clergyman, Thomas Fuller, in its entirety is "Seeing is believing, but feeling is the truth."  We'll circle back around to the feeling aspect later but for now, let's concentrate on seeing.

 

As you’re well aware, humans have five senses: the eyes to see, the tongue to taste, the nose to smell, the ears to hear, and the skin to touch. We might not all agree on which of the five senses is most important to us personally, but the fact remains that we perceive up to 80% of all impressions by sight. We are visual beings and our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text.

 

So if a picture paints a thousand words, how many words does a video paint? Now I’ll have that song in my head for days and if you don’t know what song I’m talking about, then you are beyond my help. Or, you’re just a lot younger than me. Either way, let’s get back to the topic at hand.

 

Let's say I'm in the market for a new bathroom. At some point in our lives, we're all going to need a bathroom remodel, and even if you don't, just play along with me. My first step is to Google all the bathroom remodeling companies in my area. I am an avid online shopper who is extremely influenced by first impressions and if something doesn’t look good enough to immediately catch my eye, I move on down the line. Blurry photos? Pass. Broken links? No thanks.


Now, what if I notice that one of the bathroom remodeling companies has a Google Business 360° Virtual tour option? What if I can actually look at all of the product in their showroom, even if the physical location is hours away from me? What if I can see tile samples, paint colors, sink fixtures, and bidets just by clicking the video’s play button? The thought of being able to shop online for my new bathroom is extremely appealing, especially when I’m offered a first-hand glimpse and a personal tour of the showroom. It’s almost like I’m there! Take a one-minute tour of just how awesome a Google Business Virtual Tour can be.

 

Listings with photos and a virtual tour are twice as likely to generate interest.

 

There is one caveat. Google Street View can only be conducted by a “Google Trusted Photographer” who is trained, certified and endorsed by Google and there is a fee involved. Google Business View Prices start at $350. However it is a one-time fee and the video is yours forever.

Here’s more info - straight from the horse’s mouth:

 

Let’s face it, Google dominates the world of search and finding businesses. Even if a business is found somewhere else, the mapping is often done on Google. Android phones do everything Google. If you want to be found, you should probably have a presence on Google.

Google Street View is the way to get your business recognized and promoted. It shows up in local search results, on Google maps, on your Google plus page, and your Google local page. Anyone looking for your business with Google will see the opportunity to come in and look around from the comfort of their computer or mobile device.

As further incentive, Google is promoting this service more and more. Businesses are catching on, and the businesses who get it first will get ahead. As Google continues to add and promote features involving Google Street View, you have the opportunity to be ahead of the competition. Besides having Google on your side, how else does Google Street View benefit your business?

Stronger Online Presence = More Clients

A virtual tour is a great resource for improving your web presence. It encourages viewers to spend more time on your webpage, be that your website, local page, social media profile, etc., and the longer they stick around, the more likely they are to sign-up for your service or purchase something. A virtual tour encourages clicks—they click on the link to the tour, maybe a link to the homepage of your website or a link to a specific product or offer. Whatever the case, Google keeps track of clicks. More clicks means your website is worth clicking and they send more search traffic your way. More time, more clicks, more traffic—that’s right: More clients!

More Accurate Representation = Better Clients

The worst thing a business can do is disappoint; the best thing a business can do is deliver. Clients like to know what to expect from a business, and seeing inside is the best way to set accurate, reasonable expectations. Clients are more likely to be pleased, and happy clients sign up for better services and make better purchases. Furthermore, by meeting or exceeding expectations you set yourself up for repeat business. Let clients see exactly who you are and what you offer. The clients you get will be better ones.

Quality Investment = Quality Results
Virtual tours are the future of online marketing, and thus make an excellent long-term investment. They are a financial investment, yes: spend some money on a tour, get more and better clients, but you also receive still photos of products and points of interest that can be used as many times and in as many places as you like. It’s well worth the money. Google Business View can also be an investment into a relationship with the photographer. Our photographers are highly skilled in other areas of online marketing and promotion as well.

Another exciting thing about having a video created is that once it’s done, you also have the ability to embed your business’s video to your Facebook page - it’s a BOGO (buy one get one free)!

 

Offering Virtual tours on your Google business page is another facet of marketing that it at your company’s disposal. According to a Forbes article, Facebook reported that consumers are watching 100 million hours of video on their platform every day! As a growing number of people are watching videos, more and more businesses and brands are beginning to incorporate video into their marketing campaigns.

 

Now for the second part of the our adage "Seeing is believing, but feeling is the truth." I think we would all agree that images and videos have the ability to evoke strong feelings and elicit powerful emotions in us. So, back to our bathroom remodeling project. If you show me a 30-second video of a beautiful spa-like bathroom with fluffy white towels and glowing candles while soft music plays, well, you just won my business. Am I buying the towels or candles or music? Nope. But what I saw with my eyes captured my attention and made me realize that what your Google Business Virtual Tour just portrayed is exactly the kind of bathroom I want. Give it to me now! You fill up my senses—and now I have another song in my head—and if you don’t know "Annie’s Song," please don’t even tell me because I may hold it against you forever.


Remember how our brains process visual information 60,000 times faster than words? Well, guess what? Just ONE minute of video is considered the equivalent of around 1.8 million words. I apologize that all these numbers are beginning to seem like one of my 4th grader’s mathematical word problems - the ones that seem impossible to solve, but please believe me when I tell you that Virtual tour + Your Business = Good Move. It's just one of the exciting options available to you when it comes to telling the story of your business. Google just handed you a gift, my friend, so please take it. Go tell the world your visual story!  Do us a favor and let us know when you’ve begun offering a virtual tour of your business - we’d love to see it!

 

 

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Karin Siccardi is a Reputation Defender, Blogger, and Proofreader/Editor at WebPunch. Originally from Oregon, she migrated to Tennessee where she lives with her husband, four children, and the family dog who lounges at her feet as she enjoys the luxury of working from her home office. An avid reader, she enjoys all wordy things as well as coffee, chocolate, and wine.



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