4 Steps to Get Found Online on the Cheap

Recently I was asked by a very small store-front business what is the quickest and easiest way to get found online. Knowing their budget was nil, I didn’t even bother with the usual strategy and grander scale ideas. I wanted to help, so I boiled it all down to 4 simple steps they could do themselves to get found online fast and on the cheap.

 

STEP ONE: Claim you space!

Go to the following locations and fill in ALL the necessary details about your business. You only need the FREE version for these listings at first, so don’t sign up for any paid placement. Be sure you have a copy of your logo, any photos you have of your business, and details about your business (hours, location, etc.) ready to go before starting. Set aside some “quality” time, because this could take a while. Some of these may auto fill once you get the big ones done like Google Places, Bing & Yahoo.

Hint: if you can, work on the Google Places profile at your place of work so you are near your work phone, this is ideal. This way you can prove you are the business owner by phone and continue to work on your profile without having to wait a few weeks for Google to send you something via snail mail.

  1. Sign up with Google Places
  2. Sign up with Bing Maps
  3. Yahoo Local
  4. Yelp
  5. CitiSearch
  6. Foursquare
  7. Localeze
  8. MerchantCircle
  9. ShowMelocal
  10. Manta
  11. SuperPages
  12. PinBud
  13. Look to see if “Patch” is in your area.
  14. Look up specific locator services for your industry. For example “Salon & Spa Source” for salon owners.

 

STEP TWO: Ask for reviews.

Once you’ve claimed your space, it’s time to start asking customers to review your business. I recommend asking for reviews on Yelp and Google Places to start. One way to help customers remember would be to have a business cards printed (VistaPrint.com always has spectacular deals on business cards) with something snappy like:

 

TELL THE WORLD WHAT YOU THINK

Review Us: yelp.com and maps.google.com

[Your logo or a photo here]

 

You can also include notes to review you online in your printed materials, on receipts or even a sign on the shop door or window.

 

Online is a crowed place and reviews help you get noticed. They are also picked up by search engines.

 

STEP THREE: Simple website.

After you’ve established all your online “places” you can think about a website. For your business you may only want/need a simple site with your location, hours, products and services. I would start by checking out the free resource GoogleSites. You can actually make your own website for FREE! It’s pretty cool. Check it out here: http://www.google.com/sites/help/intl/en/overview.html

 

STEP FOUR: Advance to Social Media

Once you have conquered steps one through three, you may be ready to try out social media tools like Facebook or Linkedin. Before you jump into these tools decide if you have the time to maintain them. To make an impact, you should expect to devote an average of 15 to 30 minutes per day (1.5 to 3.5 hours per week) to maintain your presence. By maintain I mean post, respond to others, research and follow up. You don’t actually need to be out there every day, but on the days you’re not on the social site, you may find you are spending more time because you haven’t been there for a while.

 

Hopefully all this information will help you get off on the right foot as you set yourself up online. For all you shop owners out there, now there’s no excuse. The next time I search for you, I expect to find you online!

 

 

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About Karin Khuhro

Karin Khuhro is a Digital Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Copywriter. As the owner of Strategy E-ssentials she works with other savvy marketers, digital specialists and business leaders to bring knowledge, know-how and solutions to small and medium sized businesses. Connect with Karin on Google+ or Linkedin.