Category Archives: Google
Have you ever tried to find a bank or credit union location by using the Location page on their website? Have you ever tried to use it on a mobile phone? Not exactly the best experience is it?
What I usually end up doing is a search on Google for locations in my area. This works pretty well if Google was able to search the bank or credit union’s website to find all the locations in the area. It would work even better if banks and credit unions submitted their branch locations to Google Places.
Here are the search results from “banks in charleston”
The first result is for an online Charleston directory. The second result is a bank website. The next six results are from Google Places. You’ll also notice that they are all different banks.
Quite a few people perform searches for businesses in this fashion. They don’t necessarily search by company name, but by business type in a particular geographical location.
In case it hasn’t sunk in yet, Google is placing greater emphasis on physical locations of businesses. Out of the top eight results of my search, only the second one was from organic search.
By not taking advantage of Google Places, community banks and credit unions are missing out on potential customers. There is a wealth of information that can submitted which will help you rise in search results.
Getting started is easy.
1. Sign up for a Google account
2. Find your branch location in Google Maps
3. Claim your business
Another reason for claiming and adding your locations is your customers may be submitting reviews about your bank or credit union. You may have noticed the red arrows in the first image pointing to customer reviews.
Regardless of whether you claim your location, customers can write reviews about you. If you claimed the location as the business owner, you’ll be able to respond to the reviews.
Your potential and regular customers may not follow you on Twitter or like you on Facebook, but chances are they do use Google. If they’re like me, they click on the Reviews link just to see what people are saying.
Those reviews could determine whether they open account or continue doing business with you. By taking advantage of the free tools that Google offers, you can provide a better, moderated experience for your customers.
Update – If you are listed as the business owner, Google will send you emails of Places traffic and who clicked on directions. Thanks @dmgerbino
Mobile payments are about to get a serious toe-hold in the US. In case you haven’t heard, Google is about to release the newest version of Android, Gingerbread, which will support NFC. Once Apple releases their next iPhone in 2011, you can expect adoption to increase exponentially.
So what does this mean to banks and credit unions? Most won’t be affected for a while. But the big boys like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank and JP Morgan will really start to feel the pain sooner rather than later. Mobile payments will allow users to connect their credit and debit cards to their phone. But that’s only if Google and Apple decide to play nice. They could set themselves up like PayPal, which means that everything would flow through ACH. If that happens, you can kiss interchange fees goodbye. The bigger banks would feel this first because their customers are among the early adopters.
Now, you can stick your head in the sand and hope that adoption doesn’t happen for another 10 years, or you can start planning your strategy today. One thing I’d look at is charging a fee for any ACH withdrawal. The second is getting familiar with iOS and Android. Because if you aren’t planning to adapt, others are.