According to research from Verisign, 91 percent of consumers use the Internet to look for local goods and services. If your local business is not online, you may be missing out on a significant number of potential customers.
Getting online and establishing a presence for your business doesn’t need to take much time or money.
Here are three ways to get started today:
1. Add your business to online directories.
If you are still relying on that thick, dusty yellow book to find new customers, you may be missing a lot of opportunities.
Today, many consumers turn to online directories first to find information about local businesses, and your business needs to show up in those searches. Here are a few types of directories to consider:
Search engine directories: List basic information about your business, like phone number, address and business hours, on places like Google My Business, Bing Places for Business or Yahoo! Local.
Local directories: Claim your business on some of the sites that specialize in listings by city or region, including YP.com, Citysearch and Local.com.
Review-centric directories: If you rely on customer reviews to drive business, consider sites known for consumer ratings and reviews. Registration is also free at many popular sites like Yelp, Angie’s List and Merchant Circle.
Industry-specific directories: If your business is in a specialized industry, an easy way to find relevant, high-traffic directories for your area of expertise is to do a quick online search of your profession (e.g., “attorney”) or your profession + “directory” (e.g., “attorney directory”). The search results should include links to directories that you may want to focus on.
With so many directory choices, don’t feel overwhelmed at the possibilities. Just choose one or two that you think your customers use the most. Also, your business may already have a listing on these directories as search engines can automatically build one for you. In that case, all you’ll need to do is claim it and make sure the information listed is correct.
2. Set up a social media page for your business
Nearly two-thirds of American adults use social networking sites², so it makes sense to harness the power of social media to help promote your business. But what social media platform is right for you?