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No matter the size of your business, visibility is essential in building awareness for your company, and to grow your profit.
You’re forgiven for thinking that to expand your business you must spend a lot on advertisement. There are many costly ways to market your business; print, billboard, television, and digital advertisement, for example. However, there are affordable, and even free options, to help you grow your visibility online.
What are local business listings?
The best way to think of an online business listing is that it’s your business’s portfolio. It’s an opportunity to showcase who and what your business is, and how it can help your target audience.
Every business listing platform requires the name, address, and phone number of your business. All business listings have their own perks, and most of them also include:
- A link to your website
- A simple bio
- Hours of operation
- Pictures or videos of your business
- A short description of your business
- Accepted methods of payment
Before we jump in, what’s the benefit of listing your business?
Local business listings ultimately give your business more authority and trustworthiness. An unknown business that doesn’t appear with recognisable associated listings may arouse suspicion.
A business listing will also give your business a platform, and direct people to your website.
Savvy business owners know the importance of online marketing for their website. But don’t forget, there’s other ways to get people to buy your products or use your services, it doesn’t have to just be from your website.
Business listings are great for directing new customers to your website from the listing. Even better, some listings will even allow customers to enquire straight from the listing itself.
The business listings to help you grow your business
There are many websites where you can list your business for free. We’ve added mostly free options below, and a couple of paid options if your budget allows.
Google My Business
This is the modern Yellow Pages. Every business should either create their Google My Business (GMB) page, or claim the one that Google has created for your business.
Even better, your customers will become more familiar with GMB as Google has very recently started television advertising for the platform. It has really gained traction over the last couple of years.
- Your business would not only appear in Google Search, but also in Google Maps, which is very handy for local customers and any passer-by.
- Your GMB means you can not only show off great customer reviews, but also present exclusive offers & discounts, your opening hours, available locations, images, videos, messaging with customers, and more.
- GMB drives traffic to your website, location, and social channels.
GMB could become a key tool within your digital marketing arsenal.
Google is the number one search engine, but not everyone uses Google. Within the UK market share of the top search engines, Bing sits second behind Google, with just over 9% according to statista.
Bing Places even links to other review sites where you’ve gained reviews, like Facebook or Bark.com.
Have you already verified your Google My Business listing? Bing makes it easy to import the data from GMB and instantly verifies your listing too!
Facebook is a little different to a typical free business listing, but it could be an essential tool in your social media strategy. Consumers today enjoy having on-demand contact and prefer reaching out to businesses through social media.
Just like GMB, you’ll be able to show your hours, locations and services, but where Facebook trumps GMB is the ability to communicate with customers. You can chat and you have more creative freedom when creating posts on behalf of your business.
Once known as the Yellow Pages, Yell is an online business directory. It’s a little different to the hefty phone book we used to receive. Now it’s on-demand, much lighter to hold, and much easier to find business details.
By adding your business here, your listing is indexable, meaning it can appear in the likes of Google Search, and therefore, discoverable for potential customers searching online.
Tripadvisor is ideal for those businesses within hospitality, entertainment and travel. From city tours to restaurants, Tripadvisor is a big name that is often the go-to for customers on holiday or even looking for local places to eat at.
There is even the option of taking bookings through Tripadvisor, so it becomes even easier to convert customers who are impressed by your reviews.
Yelp is great for those with a physical location: restaurants, dentists, bars, beauty salons and entertainment experiences.
Customers can leave your business a review, and they can add images to those reviews. This is a great feature and saves you the job of having to populate your page with imagery.
Other sites to be listed on… and potentially win new customers!
Checkatrade (it’s not free)
This is perfect for tradespeople. But did you know that the listed professions go beyond a builder, roofer or garden landscaper? Checkatrade has the likes of IT technicians, car dealerships, website designers, and other professionals on it.
Checkatrade has built a name for itself as the trusted trade directory in the UK. If you get a profile you can flash your Checkatrade badge everywhere to build authority and trust with your potential customers.
Bark (free to join, not free to bid on leads)
Bark.com follows a similar model to Checkatrade. You will be able to list your business, get reviews from customers (Bark also merges the reviews you’ve received with Google My Business and Facebook), and bid on projects that consumers submit.
There are many more options for your business
Along with all the platforms we mentioned above, there are other platforms out there. Some of which could be more suited to your business or profession. There are industry specific directories and even much smaller scale listings which could be worth your time.
Wherever you list your business, ensure you are consistent with how the business name is written, the logo used, your bio, address and locations.
Tom is the co-founder of TRACX, a no-code marketing platform that allows local business owners to collect customer feedback and create engaging marketing campaigns. With over 17 years of experience in entrepreneurship, product development, and marketing for businesses large and small, Tom is currently responsible for developing product and marketing strategies for TRACX.