On Google, a picture of your business just might be worth a thousand customers. At least that's what one new tech company is hoping.
That company, Virtual Properti.es, photographs the interiors of businesses and offers a 360-degree virtual tour. That virtual tour is then listed in Google's search results.
That differentiation may come in handy: New research from marketing firm Constant Contact and research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey has found that consumers are increasingly basing their decisions on search results from mobile phones and applications. That research found that 81 percent of consumers have searched for a restaurant on a mobile app, while 92 percent searched through a Web browser in the past six months.
"[The service] allows businesses to open their doors virtually, so that anyone can walk into their establishment," said Jimmy Mino, founder and CEO of Virtual Properti.es, which offers 360-degree photography services.
The service offers a number of benefits to businesses, Mino said. The service costs a one-time fee of between $350 and $500. Prices vary based on the size of the organization. Mino says the process takes between one and two hours and the images will be up within one or two weeks.
"The main benefit is that it gives businesses an increased Web presence, because these images are going on Google's database," said Mino. "When people search for a business, they will not only see a listing and the information about a business, but they will give people an opportunity to go inside and showcase their business. I am not sure if it enhances SEO ranking but it does help to stand out in the search process."
Virtual Properti.es is one of nearly 100 photographers from across the country licensed as a "trusted" Google photographer. However, the company is just one of a dozen photography companies servicing New York, New Jersey and California.
Mino — who has worked with a number of businesses, including Carlo's Bake Shop from the television series "Cake Boss " — said the service not only helps customers make up their minds by showing them how a business looks, but it also serves as an effective marketing tool.
"It is a really great opportunity, because it is a fresh and new marketing piece, which can help businesses get on the cutting edge of what Google is doing," Mino said. "The cost-to-benefit ratio in the long term is very beneficial. It really adds value for businesses."