Claim Your Space Online
A common question we here at Caster get when we’re out at trade shows or working with dealers and small businesses is “how can I get myself out there?” While there are a ton of different ways we help businesses address this, from localized campaigns to PR initiatives and plans, one relatively easy piece of the puzzle dealers like these often overlook is their online presence. Sure, they might have a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a LinkedIn business page, and having and leveraging those are phenomenal first steps. But what about other online real estate you can claim for your business?
In the age of the yellow pages, if a homeowner needed a plumber, electrician, or mechanic, they cracked the big book and did some looking. Today, everyone just uses the internet to access that information. I like to recommend to small businesses that they consider claiming their space on sites like Yelp and Google to make sure they’re getting in front of their local customers.
Generally, if you’re the business owner or work for the company, claiming your page on these sites is a simple process but important for the following reasons:
- Improve exposure for search engine traffic
- Ensuring the correct information about your business is available
- Increased activity for local searches
- The ability to link your website to your maps listing
- Allows your customers to easily leave review and interact with your business
- Gives you a competitive advantage of other, non-claimed listings
What used to be known as “Google Places” is now “Google My Business” but the end result and benefit to you, the company, has remained the same. Google My Business allows small business owners to easily claim their business, update their information ensuring their contact information, business hours and location are all correct when they populate in Google and in GoogleMaps – an important piece when potential local customers are looking for the best way to get in touch with you.
Claiming your free real estate online through services like Yelp and Google can be excellent steps towards ensuring potential new business find their way to you, but what if you want to take it a step further? Depending on the services you offer, you might consider a pay-to-play service like joining Angie’s List. While it’s free for consumers to browse and search, small and local businesses need to pay to be a part of Angie’s List.
Just like Google and Yelp, you can check to see if your company is already claimed or listed on sites like Angie’s List, in this case by visiting their business center. You might be surprised to see yourself listed but with inaccurate or incorrect information or, find you have no presence at all.
Looking for some figures as to why all of this is important? 75 percent of mobile searches trigger some form of follow up action and roughly 40 percent of mobile searches have local intent. That means potential customers are pulling up their smartphones and searching for solutions and then acting on what they find and if you’re listed, you’re missing out.
There’s obviously a ton more that small businesses can do to get out there and get noticed by customers but I find, they’re generally not taking advantage of all the free (and sometimes paid) avenues available to them. Got a question? Comment? I’d love to hear it! How do you ensure you’re connecting with local customers? Connect with me on Twitter at @CasterPete or with Caster Communications @CasterComm.