How to get your business found online – fast!
The goal of any new business is simple: bring in revenue. If you are providing data-fusion services or travel holidays the first step in making this a reality is to get the word out about your existence. For if the community around you doesn’t know of you, it is not likely they will purchase from you. Historically, this meant propping up a billboard or buying some spaces in the local Penny Saver as your only options. The issue with those measures is the limited reach and expense at a time when most start up companies are heavily in debt and adding to that list produces a hesitancy. The best option that exists now, for a plethora of reasons, is to turn to the internet and begin to inexpensively spread word of your company. I’ll outline some free or cheap online measures any business owner would be a fool to ignore in the up coming paragraphs. The best thing is that you do not need a website to take advantage of most of these tips.
The first step, is to put your business on the map (literally)! The three largest search engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo) all have independent mapping sections which you can list your physical location on. The utility of these maps is only growing as mobile technologies race forward. Given their position in the search rankings these maps typically have high visibility to searchers, and on mobile technology exist as their own app. Bing has also made their maps a focus going forward, coupled with Apple’s mapping announcement this week, there will be four mapping services all business owners need to take advantage of. These mapping services not only pinpoint your location, but allow for you to add information about your business that potential customers will find useful. These are all free services and are too simple not to use. For step-by-step directions simply Google “put business on Google/Yahoo/Bing maps”. Yes it’s that easy.
Many people now use niche-specific websites to see reviews, locations, pricing and services. If you are a restauranteur this means taking advantage of Urban Spoon. There are hundreds of directories out there to suit your niche, but the trick (and point of this post) is to really take advantage of the highly trafficked sites. After all, our goal is to increase our businesses exposure, especially if you do not have a website. If you do have a website (this is an SEO blog after all) those lesser known niche directories don’t offer you much to any link value anyways given the recent Penguin update.
So what are these top-flight sites that have eager potential customer crawling all over them like ants at a picnic? They’re sites you’ve probably already heard of but haven’t connected them with being a boost for your new business. Sites like Yelp.com, Foursquare.com, and citysearch.com are directories which business owners can create or claim a profile. By doing so you can ‘build your brand’ better than the cursory information that owners typically find before they claim a profile. This way you make sure the right information is out there.
These simple steps are a cheap, effective way to begin gaining customers for your business. They trump social media in the sense that once they are set up they don’t require a lot of your attention once they are set up to be successful. Cheap, easy, and effective – what more could a new business owner ask for?
Below is a list of sites recommended for new businesses:
Author Thomas Farley has been working in internet marketing for half a decade and is currently the head of the Internet Marketing Department at Heinrich Chevrolet.