More and more, listings on popular consumer sites like Yelp, Facebook, and Google My Business are the ways customers find your company. Basically, the web has become a goldmine of free exposure for small business owners. All you have to do is claim your business pages.
To make it easy, we’ve compiled a list of free online communities, directories, and listings where every small business should have a profile. Read the short descriptions below each site and decide which platforms you want to be listed on.
Remember: the more you choose, the greater your online footprint and the easier it is for customers to find your business and spend money with you. Enjoy.
More than 1 out of 7 people on the planet are on Facebook, and they’re actively checking out the 65 million plus local business pages listed on the biggest social network ever. Creating a Facebook presence for your business takes five steps.
Another top five review website, TripAdvisor’s 415 million monthly users have smoke coming from their keyboards — over 535 million reviews have been published on the site. Your small business, especially if it’s in the hospitality space, is missing out on a windfall of digital awareness and feedback if you’re not on TripAdvisor.
Shoppers use the most popular search engine for information about and directions to local stores. For everything. It’s the main street of the web. According to Google, 50% of all the mobile consumers who search for a local business in a day visit it as well. Claiming your business is free. Listing your phone number, open hours, and website could be all it takes to get ready-to-buy customers in the door.
Why is this on here, you might wonder. Fair, Twitter might not “sell” your customers to come into your shop, but it surfaces to the top in search and presents one of the easiest and fastest ways for customers to reach out to you. It’s also a location-based tool that lets you search for customers in your area.
A recent study shows 82% of customers research before they come into the story to buy. Today, especially if you’re marketing to younger demographics, photography-based Instagram is a visual invitation to come in and see for oneself.
Some people don’t have time to read reviews, scroll through a website, or comb through social media posts. A video is easy. Just hit play. A YouTube video (even just one) is a solid marketing vehicle to reach over 30 million customers who are watching almost 5 billion YouTube videos a day.
Foursquare has a passionate following of 55 million monthly local small business fans. They check-in, share where they are, and leave tips for others to follow. Without a filled-in profile on Foursquare, SMB owners are missing out on helpful user-generated information about their business.
It might seem like LinkedIn only matters for national or global brands, but a local business can show researching consumers more of who they are, from owners to employees. Use LinkedIn to present yourself as a reputable, well-connected owner with years of relevant experience, especially for finance-based businesses.
We know Google reigns supreme in search, but Yahoo is still used by 1 billion people every month. Why? For some, it’s preference. For others, especially Firefox web browsers, it’s the default on their machine. Similar to Google My Business, Yahoo partners with Yext (below) to display local small business listings in search results.
With slightly more users than Yahoo, Bing is Microsoft’s search engine. Bing Places for Business is where small business owners can access their local listings. Every Microsoft computer’s default web browser is Internet Explorer and searches with Bing, so it’s worth your time to set up your business information for Skype, Office, Xbox, and Surface tablet users.
12. Angie’s List
Originally created to review local contractors, the online directory has grown to be a go-to repository for crowd-sourced online reviews. It’s free for small business owners to register on Angie’s List through the Business Center. If you offer home services, Angie’s List is highly recommended to reach local customers.
Formerly UrbanSpoon, Zomato helps users hunt for the perfect restaurant. Unlike Yelp, which curates all local businesses, Zomato is hyperfocused on restaurants only. This form will let you claim or add your restaurant. Once verified the listing will start appearing on Zomato.
The Better Business Bureau has been vouching for marketplace trust since 1912. It’s the number one website for reporting scams and other quackery. It’s free to have your business listed in the nonprofit organization’s database. Simply search for your business and if it’s not there, follow these steps to add it. Highly recommended for local law firms.
Geared toward technology startups, Crunchbase is the database companion company to tech news giant TechCrunch. It’s listings are 100% crowd-sourced so you can add your business right now if you’d like. Crunchbase displays important information about founders, date of incorporation, recent news, and employees. Recommended for local startups, especially with venture capital backing.
Sometimes customers want to know how an employer treats its employees. Any type of research in this area will lead curious customers to GlassDoor, the number one review site for companies and employees. With over 700,000 companies reviewed over 33 million times, GlassDoor is another stop local business owners should know about. Recommended for larger corporations. Companies are registered only when employees submit a review.
The nationwide local business publication also offers a searchable directory of local private businesses. It serves 43 major markets in the US, each with it’s own website and tailored news. Bizjournals populates its company profiles from business data company Owler.
19. Chamber lists
An extremely valuable local resource that is often overlooked is your city’s Chamber of Commerce. A hub for events, news, and networking, the Chamber’s website keeps a list of local businesses and members. It might be worth your time to get in front of the right local officials at the Chamber and participate in the free small business services. They exist for owners — the initiators of local commerce — to thrive.
With over 5 billion records, Whitepages is an enormous database of global people and businesses. One unique feature of Whitepages is its APIs, which allow businesses to buy and use the company’s extensive data to build their own software. This means a WP listing shows up not only on whitepages.com but also across all of their API customers’ sites as well. Whitepages uses Yext to create listings.
A new player to the industry, venture-backed startup Alignable claims to be the number one source of referrals for local small businesses, with over 22,000 communities networked on its platform. It’s free and easy to connect on Alignable and start receiving referrals from other local small business owners.
An established online listing community, Manta sees 1,000 companies join its small business directory every day. Manta is recommended not only because it’s easy to get started with a company profile, but also because its time-tested presence carries considerable SEO benefits.
It seems like we’ve been waiting for this one, no? Yext is a one-and-done effort to get your company listed across almost every small business site mentioned in this article. As a one-stop shop, Yext lets you fill out the information for your business and voilà, you’ll be found “everywhere.” See how your company appears in Yext right now.
CitySearch helps you find local business in your neighborhood. With a voting system, award badges, and special deals, CitySearch prioritizes fun. Locals recommend anything from restaurants to attorney offices to hair salons. Bolster your presence on the platform by adding your business to the CityGrid database.
Finally, MerchantCircle allows consumers to search for local merchants by category. According to its website, the directory has over 2 million merchants on its site with over 100 million consumers visiting each month. Claim your business listing on MerchantCircle here.
On – By Brad Plothow