Sorry that this week's Tech Tool is coming on Wednesday instead of Monday. Monday got really hectic for me all of a sudden. It was a pizza and red velvet whoopie lunch kind of day.
Anyway, the Tech Tool of the Week is Google Places. No, this is not because it's really really fun to write reviews. It's this week's tech tool because it's a great way to find contacts for an email marketing or a direct mail marketing campaign. Google Places makes it easy to find valid, quality contacts that could lead to some quality business for you, much easier than web surfing yourself or going through the phone book.
To use Google Places to find businesses to pitch, go the the rating page where you would normally start if you wanted to write a review. Next, go to the search bar, and type in a specific type of business with which you want to work. If you want to do work for clothing boutiques, then type in "clothing boutiques". If law firms, then maybe type in "law" or "lawyers." Since I have a lot of experience covering technology, I typed in "technology."
After that, peruse through the results, clicking on the businesses that interest you. If you are doing a direct mail campaign, then an address is right there for you. If you are doing an email campaign, or would like to see if there's a specific person you could send your direct mail to, click the web address to find this information. You may not always find an email or a company directory. If you want, you could call the business to find the information, or you could skip the business all together.
From my perspective, I think that the results from Google Places are very trustworthy. If they happen to have a recent review, then it's very likely the business is still operating and that the contact information is valid. This is a problem you can run into if you pull information from the phone book or an online directory. Also, many of these listings are put there by the businesses themselves, so these companies are hoping to be found. Maybe they didn't intend to be found by someone who's offering writing and editing services, but you never know. That might be something the company needs!
Give it a try! Best of all Google Places is completely free, so you don't have to spend any money on contact lists from database companies. Plus, if you run into a business that you want to review, you can do that also.