Business listings are key to getting found online when people are searching. Business listings are the online equivalent of an ad in the white pages. In the old days, you could list your business with one directory (the Yellow Pages) and be done. Now, there are more than 60 business directories online where you may want to list your business so people searching online can find you.
If you don't claim or create these business listings, you will be losing business. Why? Someone refers you or your business to a colleague or friend...that person then generally goes online to their favorite place to search and types in your name or the business name that was referred to them. Will you and/or your business come up on that search in that directory? If not, your competitors will and you have just lost a customer who should have been yours.
People searching online go to hundreds of places. It's not like the old days when there was one Yellow Book and you could work with one rep to get your ad done and people would find you there. Now there are more than 60 reputable sites where you need to go to set up a listing for your business. And within this list there are a few "must do" places to claim your listing.
You don't need a website to create a business listing. If you have a website, you can link people to it from your listing. If you don't have a website, the business listing can include the key information a customer or prospective customer or client needs to know about you and your business.
Many of the business listings will be free. The challenge is that it takes a lot of time to set up all the business listings. You may want to find a reputable expert or company to set these up for you. You'll also need to maintain these listings - add new offers; add new information about what you do or sell; create videos and relevant information to differentiate your business from competitors.
- Free Listings - here's our list of the reputable places to create a business listing. Most of these companies offering free listings already have a listing for your business from pulling publicly available data. You need to "claim your listing" to make sure the information is accurate.
- Google Places How-to Guide - most people search on Google so claiming your Google Places business listing is the most important listing to create and update.
Don't want to set up all these listings yourself?
The best return on your time (and money) may be to find a reputable marketing freelancer or company that specializes in online marketing who will set things up for you and/or manage it for you. That's like hiring a landscape firm to do the hard work to set up your sprinkler system and then choosing whether you want to do the maintenance work yourself or hire the person or company to do that for you too.
The reality of owning and running your own business and being responsible for marketing:
"I find time to be my biggest challenge. Yes, you can pay people to do some of the necessary work but you still have to do the planning and thinking to guide these people. You are the one who understands your business and niche best -so whatever you delegate, you still have to know the content and processes."
Know this: we're not paid by any of these companies to mention them. We don't have any kick-back affiliate deals and we don't sell ads. We're paid by our Premium Members who subscribe to MarketingZone because we offer really credible advice. We offer many articles for free as a demonstration of the quality of advice and research we offer.
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