Local SMEs urged to exploit Google Maps, Search to expand reach

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Whenever Filipinos are looking for the nearest café to get their caffeine fix, driving blindly across town sounds like an inconvenience when in a hurry. That is why the number of Google Searches on products, stores, and services “near me” has seen a huge increase from 2017 to 2019.

Google Philippines country director Bernadette Nacario

But because small-scale enterprises cannot readily afford advertorial expenses to get their brand out to a wider audience and increase awareness on their products and services, the free online listing on Google Maps and Search provided by Google My Business has become a valuable tool to reach to their target market.

In contrast with traditional advertisements that is one-sided – with the brand explaining the nature and cost of their services, being listed on Google Maps will give customers the opportunity to leave reviews or base their decisions on previous reviews while the businesses can provide their information, receive bookings, and answer queries from interested clients or consumers.

This is how a business like Qmansi (Quirino calamansi), which is based in Quirino province, was able to reach markets located in Metro Manila by simply making an account on Google My Business. Through its online presence, a Korean businessman was able to discover and visit their farm that led to a business partnership offer that led to Qmansi producing 5,000 products on a daily basis.

“We are humbled that Qmansi has gone places because of Google My Business. We are also proud at the same time that because of our products, more people now recognize the province of Quirino. We are grateful to DTI and Google for the training that they conducted which helped us reach where we are now,” said Qmansi owner Michelle Mariano.

The training Mariano mentioned refers to the MSME Caravan, an initiative of Google Philippines in partnership with the Department of Trade Industry (DTI). With the free-to-download Primer app that teaches digital marketing skills to business owners, the workshop tour has already trained 2,780 MSME owners nationwide. Both Google and DTI aim to reach more this year.

Bernadette Nacario, Google Philippines country director, said its partnership DTI aims to digitize the business processes and models of MSMEs. “We hope that the MSME Caravan will help bring on board more trainees, visit more communities, and give more business owners the digital skills they need,” she said.

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