In April 2015 I used Google Maps to find a vehicle hire company nearest to where I lived. I entered the journey on my smartphone and set off.

What I found was a field 4 miles from the correct location.

Over the past six years I have been a regular user of Google Maps, adding positive reviews and photographs where appropriate. Three of the images have received over 100,000 views, but one in particular stands out.

Locally grown tomatoes at Dyke Farm Shop in Pulborough

Taken on 13 March 2020 at Dyke Farm Shop on the outskirts of Pulborough, the tomatoes were grown by one of my favourite local suppliers who, over the last decade, haa developed their varieties and reputation significantly.

In just 10 months this image has been viewed over 118,000 times.

According to Google: “Businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location from users on Google, and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t have photos.”

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While it’s impossible to say how many of those viewers have been to Dyke Farm Shop or gone on to buy the tomatoes featured, it indicates an enormous amount of free marketing to both businesses. If they have signed up to Google My Business, they will be receiving monthly reports about visitor numbers.

Sunder Sandher of One Stop in Leamington Spa signed up to Google My Business 4 years ago and was immediately impressed by the number of people visiting his virtual location. The latest 28-day data available to him shows that his store has had 23,000 views.

Mr Sandher says; “Retailers don’t understand the power of Google maps and it’s free. You can see it’s very popular with customers. A must for all business.”

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