Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, as a small business owner you’ve heard a million times you should market on social media. Hopefully, you’re taking advantage of the opportunity for free advertising and building a community around your business. But there are other ways to promote a local business that you might be overlooking to increase your bottom line in these tough times.
The good news is that many popular sites are free and you can list your business easily. Here are a few sites and marketing tips you may not have thought about to boost your business.
Don’t Let Your Fingers Do The Walking?
No one uses the Yellow Pages phonebook anymore — they pull out their phone and run a quick search with their favorite search engine or review site like Google or Yelp. If your business isn’t there, it might as well not exist. If someone is still letting their fingers do the walking, they’re doing it in the online version.
While the White Pages were traditionally for residential addresses and numbers, the online version has expanded to include businesses., So you can list your business in that directory, which is also available online.
Google Isn’t Just For Research
One of the best ways to promote a local business is through Google My Business. If you have a physical location, your site and business location will show up when someone nearby searches for your niche. Plus, it boosts your rankings on Google.
That boost in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) power can also be used for web-based businesses, as long as you give a headquarters or office address. (They will verify your business through snail mail.) The Google algorithm rewards you as they see your business as more legitimate in search results. You still need to optimize your page for SEO, but this is a big boost.
After you claim and verify your listing, you can choose to run discounts, updates, add photos, and more. List your business hours and a telephone number if you choose — e-commerce businesses can list their hours as 24 hours, seven days a week.
Many business owners have reported this is one of the single best ways to promote a local business or e-commerce website. Also, consider less competitive search engines like Bing for more organic traffic through a search engine.
You Like Me, You Really Like Me!
When consumers are looking for products or services, they often look first at a review site like TripAdvisor or Yelp. Many people still use Yelp to read reviews on local restaurants, home services, and more. Claiming your Yelp Business Page lets you keep your information up-to-date, receive inquiries, and run discount offers.
Consumers also use review sites when hunting for jobs. They might check out a site like Glassdoor to see what employees have to say about working for your business. If you need good employees — and what company doesn’t — you can sign up as an employer on the site and pitch your company to prospective applicants.
Nextdoor’s website offers tips and reviews specific to a particular neighborhood. While it may not be a household name — yet — claiming your business page will put out your products and services for a specific neighborhood and gather feedback from people’s neighbors and community.
Why Don’t You Ever Call?
Just because potential clients are seeing your business listing on a review site doesn’t mean they’re taking action. Some sites specialize in narrowing down your niche into categories and providing listings by the services you offer to help potential consumers find exactly what they need.
Craigslist was one of the first to do this, then Angie’s List came along and focused just on matching services needed with services offered, instead of selling things, social meet-ups, and all the crackpots that come along with that.
Angie’s List has evolved into Angi now but remains one of the oldest sites for finding and offering home services. People use the site to find home improvement contractors, landscaping providers, HVAC repairs, etc.
Thumbtack is similar to Angi but newer and less competitive. It could be worth it to list with a site that’s not as saturated as Angi. They boast they have a competition limit and allow customers to instantly book. Thumbtack might be a great alternative or consider listing on both to promote your local business!
Don’t Forget To Be Social
Social media is still a great way to put your message out into the community and generate business. But don’t just put up a Facebook or Instagram page and leave it. Consider creating a group not only for advertising, but you can include things like funny memes and tips, such as landscaping ideas for a lawn care business or cleaning hacks between cleaning service visits.
Try to include some fun or useful content as well as marketing your products and services. Because we all know that commenters can sometimes get out of hand on social media, you may want to choose to disallow comments or have them screened for approval before posting to keep your page or group positive.
If someone does leave a negative review, be sure to address it politely and professionally and show people you are dedicated to making all your customers happy!
Keep It All Organized
With all the new leads that can come in from these different ways to promote a local business, you may need some software to keep everything organized. Whether tracking marketing leads or appointment setting, ServiceWorks offers one digital product that does that and more. Try it for free.— get more business and keep it!