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Small Business Insights: Marketing

A Guest Blogger post by Josh Olswanger

Josh Olswanger, Thrive Web DesignAs a start-up business, your initial goal is to increase revenue by increasing business. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, believe it or not, it’s not always a walk in the park when deciding where to find your next customer or client. Luckily, with a great business marketing plan, you should be able to funnel your attention towards avenues that will undoubtedly increase your chances of finding new business.

Hence we have the Internet. Say goodbye to yesterday when looking for a local plumber involved pulling out the yellow pages and searching around. Today’s day and age relies on a quicker, more accurate, and effective approach. When businesses of all shapes and sizes decide to put a website up, usually it is to find new business.

Having a website live online is only half of the equation. How will you get customers to your site? Where will they know to look for you? The key is strategic planning on your behalf to ensure you’re setting the foundation for them to see you.

Here are 3 very useful and free online directories that every business should submit their website to.

1. Google AKA, Google Places Google My Business

Google local listings are the listings you see on a search results page at the very top. Normally, you’ll see a map and all of the alphabetical markers correlating to the top 10 local businesses. Depending on what your business does or sell, many potential customers will go to the nearest business on that map. Others will call around to find the best price. Either way, it is very effective and highly recommended for everyone to take advantage of.

Setting up an account is easy, and will only require you to open up a free Gmail account. Google will send you a postcard by mail to verify your listing, which will take about 2-3 weeks to receive.

2. Yelp.com

Yelp.com is a very unique database to submit your business and website to. Not only does Yelp provide you with a platform to add company information, pricing and offer deals on, but Yelp integrates closely with Bing.com in displaying certain items on Bing Listings. For example, if you were to search “new york city pizza” in Bing, Next to the listing would include a little yelp icon advertising the promotion you create on the site. Free to sign up, we highly recommend using this tool and collecting as much feedback you can from past and current customers.

3. Thumbtack.com

Thumbtack is similar to Yelp in the fact that you can customize a profile and include testimonials, hours, pricing and more. Although, thumbtack seems to cater to service-based businesses more than those offering a product. Reason being, is that Thumbtack offers a unique bidding system where potential clients can contact the company and put a request in for a quote right on the website. Even though this isn’t rocket science, they do a great job to make the process for both the business and customer very easy.

In the end, the more directories and websites you can network your business with, will definitely up the chances of finding new customers.