If you want your business to be a success, you need to promote it to as wide an audience as you can. Getting the message out there, however, can be expensive. The cost of pay per click advertising and other forms of paid promotion can soon use up your marketing budget. To help, we’ve put together a list of the top free to use places that can seriously boost your marketing reach.
1. Google My Business
Google My Business is a very useful place to list your business as it makes it highly visible on the world’s most used search engine. As Google search is available on Android phones, it’s also great for local businesses. Not only does the listing increase your chances of being found; it also provides searchers with a wide range of information about your business. They can use the listing to visit your website, send messages, read reviews, get directions and call you. You can also upload images, offers and deals, display your opening times and more. It even lets users follow you.
2. Bing Places
Bing Places is Microsoft’s version of Google My Business and is available on Bing. Though It doesn’t offer all the same features or have the same reach as Google, it still enables you to create a profile with a company description, directions and links to your website and Facebook page. Unlike Google which features its own reviews, Bing lets you display reviews from other sites, like Facebook or Yell.
3. Apple Maps Connect
Apple Maps Connect is the place to list your business for viewing on Apple devices like iPhones, Macs and iPads. With millions of iPhone users, this is also ideal for local businesses. Just like the two examples above, you can display your basic business information, including address, phone number, business category and opening hours, as well as providing links to your website and social media pages. You can’t upload images (yet) and the reviews Apple uses are taken from third-party sites like Trip Advisor.
The services mentioned above mean that fewer people need to visit sites like Yell to find businesses. However, quite a lot still do and it can attract visitors and generate new business. As businesses listed on Yell are also indexed by search engines, the link to your website from it can help your website to rank better.
The free listing enables you to display name, address, opening times and photos. Reviews can be made through Yell and these are displayed on your profile page. There is a map, but it doesn’t give directions.
Yell has a paid-for premium service. At some point, its representatives will call you to try and persuade you to upgrade.
With over 2.6 billion active users, Facebook is a place you can’t afford not to promote your business. Setting up a Facebook Business Page is free and easy, though you will need a personal Facebook account first. Facebook business pages give you lots of potential to share company information, contact details, directions, website links, videos, images and blog posts. You can use it to communicate with other users, answer questions and show reviews. What’s more, Facebook is developing a storefront which will enable you to sell products directly from the site and now has a Facebook Manager service which lets you control all aspects of managing your business on the platform.
Owned by Facebook, Instagram Business offers a broadly similar suite of features to those of its parent company. The key difference between the platforms is in the type of content used on the sites and the types of people who use them. Generally speaking, Instagram is very popular with younger people and is mainly used for sharing videos and images. For companies that promote themselves using these forms of media and are targeting younger people, this makes it an ideal choice. The platform even provides tools to enhance the content you create.
Instagram is also developing a storefront to sell products directly from your business page, but this is likely to be launched sometime after the Facebook version.
Savvy businesses need to take every opportunity to promote themselves and the six places listed here offer plenty of opportunities for doing that. They all have large numbers of users and are established places where people go to search for businesses. They provide a range of means to display business details, give directions, provide reviews, get contacted and showcase your products and services. What’s more, they are free and won’t put a dent in your marketing budget.