Last week, Melissa Rudolph from asked:
Hi — Here is a question for you. As a small business how important is it to do online advertising — whether it be on Facebook, Yelp, Angie's List, or even the good old Brookfield Patch? Is it just relevant enough to make sure your business is listed and seen on these sites or is advertising on them worth the money? Thanks!! -Melissa, Customer Service Manager, The Maids
Great question Melissa, which I must answer delicately as the great folks at The Patch are very good to me and we want to stay in their good favor. ;) Let's tackle what you are referring to in their appropriate categories:
- In terms of directory listings — Yelp, Manta, Merchant Circle, Angie’s Circle, etc. — absolutely get your businesses listed on at least their basic services, most of them for free or for a nominal cost [Editor's Note: Patch also offers free directory listings — ]. There are many of them — just do a Google search for local directory services — and they continue to grow. Your services are prime for them. Chances are your basic info is already there, and if not be sure to sign up, but also make sure to claim your business there, where you can usually flesh it out, adding a live link to your website and other pertinent information. Also encourage folks to write good reviews for you on them, as most of them are review sites as well, and there is no better form of advertising than potential customers reading great reviews about your company.
- The social media and search engine sites you should be interacting on as well. For your business it's important to have a Facebook Page and interact as much as possible, again, for free. Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing, should all have your listings on them, and again, so long as you have a physical address, will accept your registration for free. Here at Omaginarium we have services that submit to many of these, and more for you, if you do not have the time, and update them as well. There are other marketing services for this as well. Linking to these sites will give you great SEO and maximum exposure.
- Advertising on the social media sites and Search Engines (SEM) such as Google Adwords and on online news sites such as Patch is a different animal. That costs money but can bring great value and boost your exposure as well. Make sure you are advertising in a paper or online service where your target audience is going however, and look at it as a long term commitment, not a one shot deal, as in order for advertising to be effective it needs to be seen and seen again in order for its impact to be recognized. Make sure if you are doing this that in your limited wording you are speaking to a real need, a customers “pain” not just to your services offered. For example: rather than: “We offer residential as well as corporate packages,” you might want to word it more like, “Too busy to clean your house after a long day?” or something of that nature…
A good marketing plan is usually an integrated one and takes all three of these components into account. You test them, and keep track of what is working and what isn’t and tweak from there.
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