Before we jump in, a brief marketing background on why doing this work for your business will pay dividends in the future.

As you think about these problems, think from the perspective of both your prospective customer, and Google (the largest search engine ever). How & what Google thinks it knows about your business directly impacts the humans that will be able to discover your business into the future.

Much of what we discuss revolves around creating authority and a positive perception around your business. In this article we will cover some of the first steps that will set your business up for success online.

One more note. I use the term “business” very loosely. This could be a side project or a hobby. Many of the best businesses started exactly that way. Even Dabcrate emerged from a passion project! So let’s dive in!!

Here are the top 5 sites to supercharge your business’ local presence.

These online profiles can be created and verified in less than a couple hours.

The Content: You should have about 5 images of your business & products, as well as a 200-500 word description of your business activities and what your customers should expect when doing business with you.

Maps is one of the most downloaded apps. Your customers have it & use it.

1. List your business on Google Maps

Go here: Google My Business

Just click “Manage Now” in the top right on the Google My Business homepage and login with your business email.

Google will sniff its index of infinite knowledge and allow you to claim an existing business on Google Maps. This is important if you’re an existing business, with an active Maps listing, and positive reviews! If you’re a new business you’ll have to start from scratch and verify your address with Google via a mailed postcard, (which takes less than a week). Existing businesses can usually verify by phone or email in seconds.

Next, check your information is correct like business name, phone, & address. Make sure you fill out as many fields as possible like store hours and your website link. (Seriously, fill out every field you can!)

BONUS: Upload those pictures of your storefront & products on the “Photos” tab inside your business listing. Next, edit the exact location of your map pin when entering your business address. Just drag the map pin to your front door, or wherever you want guests to enter. If you share a building with other businesses, just drag your pin to the front door of your building to give your customers (and Google) a better understanding of exactly where you are.

Yelp is one of the most popular review sites & has a reputation for ‘real’ reviews.

2. Claim your business on Yelp

Go Here: Yelp for Business Owners

Just search for your business name and zip, and click the “Claim This Business” button next to your business info. If you’re new to Yelp, click “Add Your Business To Yelp”.

Enter your business details, click next, and Yelp will send you a text with your 4-digit pin number to verify your listing. Enter the pin and you’re verified!

Check that your contact info is correct like name, phone number, & address. Fill out as many of the description fields, as well as a link to your website and hours. Yelp has a number of unique opportunities to describe your business’ specialties, the history of the business, and even your details on your business experience!

Help prospective customers understand why you’re an authority in your given niche. Give them the details on your education, influence, or background to make an educated decision. Reinforce the descriptions of your experience with the photos you upload to the gallery.

BONUS: Create a Check-In Offer for your customers! Incentivize your customers to “Check-In” on the Yelp App while at your location, and reward their loyalty with a special deal just for them! Offer 10% off their first visit, a free bonus, or a special discounted item… the choice is yours!

The services that use YP data are more valuable than the humans on the site.

3. List your business on Yellow Pages

Go Here: YP Ad Solutions

They’re going to try and upsell YP’s marketing service, but we want to list your business for FREE on YP!

Enter your business name & phone number, and YP will match your info to your existing listing. If this is a new listing, most of the fields will be blank. YP will verify your listing with the automated call.

You can select up to 4 categories for your business. Select 4 categories for your business. The first category will be your primary, and the other 3 will help your customers and YP understand your business.

YP offers a number of fields and descriptions, fill out as many of the attributes as possible. Let your customers know about the amenities offered at your location, your professional accreditations, business associations, products for sale, & other services.

Add your favorite business photos, and add a short title and description about what’s in the photo. Instead of a picture of an ‘ice cream cone’, it’s ‘decadent chocolate ice cream served in a giant waffle cone’!

BONUS: Add a coupon to customers that find you online! The YP coupon feature is pretty flexible, letting you customize your offer and disclaimers, as well as options to allow redemption by printing a coupon, in the YP App, or online.

Build Your Online Presence

Online reviews are the perfect way to demonstrate your amazing experience to prospective customers. The profiles you just created give those 3rd parties the platform to share their interactions with you.

The work isn’t over just because the profiles are claimed. Capitalize on your work and give your customers a reason to share their experience online.

  • Link to your top local profiles in your email signature to boost confidence with new contacts & automatically get new reviews.
  • Share positive reviews from customers on your social profiles as quotes to emphasize and highlight what people love.
  • Train your staff to share your positive online reputation, don’t forget to mention your excellent ratings in ads and on your website.

How are you using online reviews?

Tell us how you’re seeing success with reviews online! Leave a comment, post and tag @dabcrate, and join the conversation!