Most small business customers are local. Also, most small businesses don’t have a lot of money to spend on online marketing. Fortunately, three of the most powerful local online marketing tools are free and easy to use. And they are specifically useful for helping nearby customers and clients find you.
In this post, we’ll tell you about:
- Google Local Business Center
All three get lots and lots of traffic, and Google and Yahoo! will list your business on their excellent maps. And did I mention they’re free?
Tip: Search engine optimizers have been recommending these tips for years. Isn’t it time you took advantage of these tools?
1. Google Local Business Center
Google is the king of online search and has some of the most-highly used mapping tools in the world today. Be sure your business is listed so searchers can find you in their area.
You’ll need to create a Google Account, then add your business to the Local Business Center. It requires a few steps, but it is pretty easy and it is free!
Here’s how to sign up with Google Local Business Center:
1.1. Go to http://www.google.com/accounts/
In bottom right, find this text and click:
Don’t have a Google Account?
Create an account now
1.2. Sign up – Follow Google’ account sign up process. It requires a small amount of work.
1.3. Once you’re signed up and logged in, go to the top account page, and find the “Local Business Center” link – Fill out the form. Request that they send you a postcard to confirm, rather than other options which require doing work to your website or loading a file via FTP.
1.4. The postcard from Google will have a link and PIN on it. Go to the link and enter your PIN – you’re done!
Another way to sign up with Google – search these words in Google: Google Local Business Center – the search results will take you directly to the starting page which shows a little video overview.
Also, Google, as always, has great online help:
– Getting started: http://maps.google.com/support/bin/static.py?hl=en&page=guide.cs&guide=21029&topic=21030
– Adding a listing: http://maps.google.com/support/bin/static.py?page=guide.cs&guide=21029&topic=21032
Yahoo! may not be quite as popular as Google overall, but they are very powerful in local online marketing. Registering your business is very simple and, again, it’s free.
Here’s how to sign up with Yahoo!Local:
2.1. Go to: http://listings.local.yahoo.com/csubmit/index.php – Complete the basic form, then click on the “> Additional Information” text link and fill out the rest of the form – the more complete, the more useful it is for your customers. That’s it!
Yelp might have gotten some bad publicity lately, but they are simply too powerful to ignore. Signing up with them requires a few steps, but you can’t beat the price (free). To be sure you are listed properly, you will need to create a “Business Owner Account.”
Here’s how to sign up with Yelp:
3.1. Go to: http://www.yelp.com/business?country=US – This page has a good overview of what Yelp is all about.
3.2. Click on the “Get Started” button – You will now see a page the asks you to search for your business, since there’s a good chance it already exists on Yelp. If you see your business listed, click on the “Select” text link, then the “Next Step” button.
If you don’t see your business listed, click on the “Having trouble finding your business?” text link at the bottom of the listings, and follow the same process.
3.3. Next, you fill out the basic information form. Yelp will then email you. The email will contain a link that you need to click to confirm you are with the business.
3.4. After clicking on the link in the email, you will get a more advanced form that lets you fill in more information about your business. Be sure to take advantage of this form – it gives you the ability to tell the world all about your business – for free!
I hope your business will take advantage of these three powerful, free websites.