How to Successfully Advertise Online Without Paying For It: Business Profiles
When done properly, directories are a fantastic place to increase the reach your business has in the online world. They are trusted and utilized by customers. Google tells us just how much,
[Tweet ““4 in 5 consumers conduct local searches on search engines””]
To start, search for your business in search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) and see if there are any listings that come up. If there are listings for your business that you have not claimed, claim them and update the information. You may be able to add a photo, your store hours, and even a link to your website. Many of the places that allow you to create business profiles, also encourage customers to provide reviews of businesses. These reviews can be a great benefit to you as well.
Once you claim any listings you find, create new listings at relevant directories. Here are a few to get you started.
Give Your Info Directly to Search Engines
Search engines want to provide searchers with easy access to local store info. This is like free advertising for you! If you have a physical location, this is a great opportunity to increase the traffic your website receives.
The profiles listed below will appear at the top of searches when local customers are looking for you. These local listings will provide those customers with your contact info, store hours, directions, and most importantly, direct access to you and the great things your shop has to offer. How do these listings bring customers directly to you? By linking directly to your website where customers can shop in your online store.
Google My Business – If you have a business location (e.g. a brick and mortar store) and want to be found online, adding your business to this directory will help you show up in relevant search results for your area. Google also supports statistics and reporting — you can see how often your listing appears on the web. Fill out a free Google My Business profile here. To see an overview of the process, go here.
Yext (Yahoo Local Listings) – While Yahoo does not have the market share Google or Bing have, it is still widely used. Its local listings present a great opportunity for small businesses to give searchers the info they’re looking for. Create a Yext profile for your business here.
Don’t Forget About Social Profiles
Social Networks are often championed as being great places to interact with customers, create a positive online image, and gain online recognition. In addition to the customer engagement benefits these networks provide, they also send positive signals to search engines, suggesting that yours is a “real” business that should be noticed.
You know best which social networks are relevant to your business, but here are the most popular ones that we recommend.
Facebook – With 1.71 BILLION monthly users, Facebook is the number one social network in the world. Customers often look up businesses on Facebook to see how they interact with their customers.
Pinterest – Take advantage of the way great photography captures attention by using photos to market to over 110 million monthly users who spend hours on Pinterest.
LinkedIn – LinkedIn is a great place to network with other small business owners. There are currently 450 million members. Having a well-done business profile here gives your business a professional appearance and shows that you are aware of the importance of social media in today’s retail industry.
Add To Your Business Credibility
If you are a member of the Better Business Bureau, take the time to fill out a profile at bbb.org and give your business credibilty and your customers’ confidence in shopping with you.
How to Choose
Find reputable places that are relevant to your business. When deciding if you want to fill out a profile, ask yourself these questions;
- Does this website look professional?
- Would I use this directory?
- It it worth investment of time or money?
Read more about using online directories here.
Is it Worth It?
Wondering if completing business profiles is it worth your time? Here are some stats to help you decide.
[Tweet “50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day.”]
[Tweet “34% of consumers who conducted a local search on computer/tablet visited a store within a day.”]