In the past, when people or businesses needed a product or service they would turn to the phonebook sitting in their kitchen cabinet. If your business was not listed or your advertisement was not the biggest and greatest, you were overlooked and lost out on the business. Because of this, businesses both small and large paid a fortune to have the biggest and best advertisement. Thank goodness this situation is a thing of the past.
The new phonebook is the Internet, more specifically the search engines of the internet. Most people and businesses now visit their favorite search engine, Google for example, to find their products and services. For businesses, this is a more effective way of advertising their small business and can be a lot cheaper than using the phonebook. This only works for your small business if you have a presence on the internet.
Many search engines offer up their own phonebook style listings. Google for example offers Google Places, which is integrated with Google Search. When someone searches for a service or product, it will display 10 locations that are in the general area of the person performing the search. Your goal is to have your small business that offers this service or product is one of those.
Google allows for you to place your business into their directory regardless if you have a website or not. Just visit http://www.google.com/local/add to add your business. When adding your business, you can specify addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, websites, categories, payment options, business hours, service areas, descriptions and much more. This is the first step to driving more sales into your small business.
The biggest step that I still find to be the best step is to have a website. Most people these days would prefer to sit in the comfort of their living room and surf the internet to find the best company offering their product or service. If you have a listing on Google Places, that helps them know that your business is there, however, potential customers want to know more about your business. Many people have a mentality that good solid businesses will have some sort of website online. If your business does not, they are more likely to visit the website of your competition and take their business there.
Having a website for your small business is what will give you the ability to stand out from the rest. Using this site, you can advertise your weekly specials, holiday hours, updated pricing, and more. This is a lot more than you have the ability of doing with a small phonebook advertisement, and if done right, a whole lot cheaper too.
For tips & articles on what your small business website should include, please check out our Business Website Tips category.