Now more than ever, it is crucial for your business to be easily be found by your local community, but with budgets tight it is best to look to first take advantage of all free marketing options. Our top three favorite options for local business marketing that we find small to medium-sized businesses often overlook consist of Google My Business, Bing Places, and the NextDoor app. All three can help give your business the visibility it is looking for.
Google My Business is a free business listing that will allow you to post the following information on your listing: type of business, hours of operation, marketing posts, contact information, social platforms and more about your business so that your audience can get the latest information. This platform is also how users can submit reviews and where you can respond to their feedback. Google My Business offers insights as well so that you can get an understanding on how your investment in keeping this platform up to date is paying off for your business by providing data on keywords your listing shows up for in Google or how many call or visit your website from your profile. Once setup, a small investment of just a few minutes a month can make this a foundational platform for your business and how you communicate with your local community. In most cases, there is already a business listing and just needs you to claim it.
For one of our most recent clients, we claimed and optimized their account by: adding their website URL, took new pictures and uploaded them, added a company description, created marketing posts, and began responding to reviews. Within two weeks, we saw a spike in views and engagement on their Google My Business profile.
Bing Places is a similar business listing tool that is available, but also important to claim as this can target a separate segment of your users. In order to set up this tool, you will need a business twitter account to verify. Additional great insights can be gathered by this listing tool and this quick and easy account setup of about 30 minutes is well worth it. You can choose to sync Bing Places with Google My Business for faster setup and easier ongoing updates. Don’t forget for best measurement practices to create UTM codes for website URL’s so that you can track the traffic from these business listings in your Google Analytics.
NextDoor is a website and community app for neighbors to safely interact with each other. NextDoor offers the ability to setup an account as a local neighbor, but also the ability to setup a free business listing. This business listing is a great way for neighbors to tag you easily and promote you as many of the conversations on this app are requests asking for different service and restaurant recommendations. Any business can set up an account, but this type of listing and marketing is highly recommended for service companies like plumbers, electricians, roofers, landscaping companies, etc. but we have seen success across all industries. One thing to keep in mind is that your business will not show in a neighborhood until you receive your first review for that neighborhood so make sure to grab your profile link and make it easily accessible for your customers to provide reviews in an ongoing basis.
It is important to note that beyond the free setup and some of the free marketing opportunities each has its own paid ad option available as well. This can also be advantageous should you be gaining momentum and want to do a more unique promotion for further visibility and conversion.
Don’t forget with each of these that tracking the data is important to your measurement strategy. As we always say, data is king to your business decisions so keep this in mind when claiming your free business listings.