by Bruce Brown – special to bizNEVADA
What have you done recently to improve the online presence of your business? You at least have a company website, right? Shockingly, according to a recent study commissioned by GoDaddy, over 50 percent of small businesses in America do not have a website.
And about 10 percent of those businesses without a website don’t even have a Facebook page. If any of this applies to you, listen up because your competitors who have a good online presence are grabbing a lot of your potential business.
Let’s be honest, many small businesses (whether they are brick and mortar or online only) want more of a prominent web presence but have no idea where to start or what to do. What if I told you that you can increase your online prominence dramatically for little or no money? The good news is you can and it is fairly easy to do.
The trick is to correctly utilize the free (or mostly free) online business directories that exist. Yelp.com is one of the most popular, however, there are surprisingly many more online directories you should be aware of and probably be listed on. Keep in mind that many of the small businesses that are already on Yelp.com have incorrect business profiles.
These Seven Free Online Directories Are a Must
I suggest being on these top seven online directories: Yelp.com; Google My Business; LinkedIn Company Directory; Foursquare; YP.com (online Yellow Pages); Angie’s List and Manta. How many of these are you already using? By not utilizing all seven, you are probably losing business to your more web-savvy competition.
When you list your business properly on online business directories like these, you will:
- increase your SEO (basically placing you higher in the search engine rankings for those such as Google and Bing)
- show up in more individual spots or places on the pages viewed when someone does an online search
- increase the number of potential customers or clients who visit your website, call you, and/or send you an email possibly leading to new business (and profits) from new customers
Now that you see the advantage of being on these free online directories, it’s time to create a business profile that packs a punch.
How to Create a Business Profile
The following are what you need in your business profile for any online business directory:
- Your website and/or Facebook/LinkedIn direct link.
- Your company hours. Even if you are not a brick and mortar, state when human beings will be answering the phone or responding to an email.
- Your physical address if you have a store front or an office.
- A company description that tells people what you do and what you offer.
- Make sure ALL your online directory profiles match and there are no discrepancies.
- On your profile, include a picture of your office, your staff working or something else to more personalize your business.
Not Rocket Science
Does this seem like too much work? How about delegating it to someone you trust?
OK, I know, I know. Many of you reading this hateanything to do with the Internet. I get it. Not to worry, there are companies that specialize in doing these profile postings for businesses just like yours. Some have modestly priced fees as well.
A common question I sometimes get from clients is, “What if I get bad reviews?” That is a topic for another day which I refer to as “Reputation Management.”
As we conclude, are online business directories worth “the trouble,” so to speak? Well, I have known businesses that have seen their revenue increase from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars each month by doing this. Since the price is right (generally free), why not give them a try? You and your bank account may be quite pleased with the results.
Bruce Brown has had his own successful small businesses and is the author of four how-to books. He helps business owners to start and/or grow their business(s) (even B2B’s.) But he also shows business owners and executives how writing a book can help position them as “experts in their field.” He can be reached at: www.brownmarketingconsulting.comand www.yourpublishedbook.comor 1-(800) 982-5007 anytime. Also contact him for a free copy of the report this article is based upon.