Google Places is the map that comes up when someone types “Lending Near [Insert Geographic Area Here]” into Google. There are pins in the map indicating locations that fit your search criteria that you can click on to obtain more information about the business or go directly to the business’ website. This service is free, but does require you to register with Google Places. You may already be registered with Google Places, but if you aren’t, it is a great tool in reaching out to potential members in your area.
To register, you simply go to Google.com/Places and follow the directions to create your account. In addition to Credit Union Name, Address, Website and Telephone Number you are also given the opportunity to assign your Credit Union Categories that will assist in identifying your Credit Union via Google Search. Examples I’ve seen have been “Car Loans,” “Home Loans,” “Savings & Checking,” or just “Credit Union.” You can also include pictures, video, and an extended description that also will help web searchers pinpoint your credit union.
Once you have completed your web registration, you are required to verify the physical location by responding to a postcard mailed to the address. Mailings are advertised by Google Places to take two to three weeks for delivery. If you are prone to quickly throwing out junk mail, be sure to sift through your mail more thoroughly until you find it. If you miss the mailing, you can request they resend the confirmation.
In addition to the search tool, Google provides analytical tools that show how many people have been driven to your site by the Google Places search. Google Places is a great tool to use when you are looking for a local service that you are unfamiliar with. In fact, I used it last week to find a veterinarian for my Guinea Pig. Please look past the absurdity of paying $75 to take a $25 guinea pig to the vet to see that it was a useful resource in that situation and would likely assist a consumer in finding an auto or home loan.
Dan Price, CPA
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