These are fundamental Google tools that every business should strongly consider leveraging. They can help you enhance operations, customer support, data management and online traffic—not to mention they’re free!
Gmail is one of the cleanest and simplest free email options out there, and will be required in order to access most other Google tools. Gmail includes numerous features such as customizable email addresses (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org), powerful email filtering and Gchat to communicate with other members of your team. Watch this free online course about Gmail to learn more.
Google Drive is a dynamic and comprehensive resource for sharing and managing documents, spreadsheets and presentations in the cloud. You can seamlessly import and export Word and Excel files online, manage their privacy settings and allow co-workers or business partners to edit or access them. Learn how to get started here.
Google Calendar allows you to create multiple color-coded calendars, and share them with others. This can be extremely useful for managing schedules and deadlines, and setting up alerts.
Google Alerts is an extremely simple way to track what people are saying about your business or service on the web—it will alert you whenever a specific query (for example, the name of your business) appears on a new webpage.
You can connect Google Voice to your mobile phone for free, and set up personalized greetings, call screening, free text messages to US numbers, free phone calls from a computer to any domestic phone, filtered “Do Not Disturb” hours and much more.
Google Analytics is a critical free tool for any business that has an online component. It allows you to track and analyze your online traffic, including where exactly visitors are coming from, who your visitors are and other key patterns. Take a free course on Google Analytics here.
It’s a good idea for any local business to verify their listing with Google Places. This will put you on the map, literally, when people search for relevant products or services in your local area. See the photo at the end of the article for an example of Google Place search results.
Google+ may not be as popular as Facebook (yet) but it offers more customization options for businesses—plus, why not ahead of the curve? You can share links similarly to Facebook, but you can also host live Google Hangouts for product demos, giveaways or other promotional activities. You can also specify your business type on Google+, which unlocks certain features (e.g. local businesses can elect options that help people find them).
Google Forms allows to you to create surveys, RSVP templates or other forms for collecting user information. All of your data will automatically be stored in Google Drive, where you can manage it on a spreadsheet or view graphical breakdowns.
Google and Your Business
One largely overlooked resource for discovering the best Google tools for your business is, well, Google itself. The Google and Your Business Blog is an excellent place for businesses to learn about Google tools and applications that can help their company enhance their connection with customers.
These are just a handful of excellent Google tools that come with a cost but can provide immense value to your business.
Every time you do a Google search you see results from Google AdWords on both the top and right-hand side of the search results (see the photo below). AdWords is the most prominent online advertising platform in the world, and is vital for any online business looking to drive traffic. Learn how to run a successful AdWords campaign here.
Google Site Search
As your website grows, it can be difficult for customers to navigate through large amounts of content. If customers can’t find what they’re looking for, you could easily lose a sale. Adding a Google Site Search bar into your website can help retain customers; it can also be integrated with Google Analytics and provide greater information about what people are searching for on your site.
As mobile presence escalates and more customers are purchasing products online, it becomes increasingly imperative to take your website mobile. You can leverage GOMO (short for Go Mobile) to get a free sneak-peek at what a mobile version of your site would look like. If you choose to take the plunge GOMO will connect you with a developer to help you build a mobile website.
Written by Rochelle Bailis