According to Google, only 15% of small businesses
If you’re like many people, you dispose of your local phone directory as soon as it arrives at your door. Or maybe you’re like me and you keep it around for a while in a drawer or cabinet before re-organizing and, ultimately, tossing it anyway. I feel kind of guilty that so much work probably goes into the production of this book only to be disposed of. (I think I’ll start tearing out the pages for fire kindling to get some value out of it.)
These days, more people are going online to find a product or a service provider rather than searching through the big book directories. But, according to Google, only 15% of small businesses have claimed their listing on Google Places. This is a completely free marketing opportunity that allows your business to be included in one of the most popular online directories.
Google Places allow you to include basic information about your business like address, phone numbers and hours of operation. But, it also let’s you add additional information – it’s almost like a mini website for your business within Google Places. You can add photos, coupons and extensive information about your products or services.
In addition to Google Places, there are other online directories as well. Some of these include Yahoo Places, Citysearch, Best of the Web, Yelp, SuperPages, Foursquare, Hotfrog, YellowPages and others. If this seems overwhelming, just start with getting listed on one of these directories. Then, as you have a few minutes here or there, you can add to another and then another. Once you get your first listing up, you can just input the same information on other listings, some may even allow you to just copy and paste.
Check out GetListed.org to find out where your business is already listed and where else you should list it to improve your online search presence. You simply enter your business name and zip code and it finds your listings and gives you a performance score of 1-100.
One final tip: Be sure to include at least one photo on your listings (although more is better). People are visual and tend to have a better response to listings that have some graphic appeal. Even if it’s just a photo of your place of business or your logo, put an image there to better engage your prospects.