Visibility is the lifeblood of any small business, from neighborhood storefronts to scrappy e-commerce startups. Online directory listings offer tremendous visibility for brick-and-mortar and online-only companies alike. The trick is knowing which directories give you the most bang for your buck.
Here’s a look at six of the most important. Which are you listed on already — and which do you need to get on, stat?
Facebook isn’t exactly a business directory, but let’s not get bogged down in the details. With more than two billion monthly users and counting, it’s the world’s most popular social media site.
For many Web users, Facebook is more than a social media site — it’s a separate and self-contained realm of the Internet beyond which users rarely if ever need to venture. You don’t even want to know how many unique searches Facebook sees every day. Without a Facebook business page, you’re missing out on a massive, and growing, traffic stream.
Bottom line: If you don’t yet have a Facebook page for your business, do yourself a favor and set one up. HubSpot has a comprehensive tutorial here.
Crunchbase is a business directory for companies unapologetically committed to “going places.” If you’re planning a fundraising round in the near future or simply want to lift the cover off your company for other interested business decision-makers, this is the place to do it.
The Crunchbase profile for Beyond the Rack, a Canadian e-commerce platform that’s landed several successful fundraising rounds since its inception, shows the possibilities. It’s all here: categories, founders, HQ location, venture stage, total fundraising, rank relative to other Crunchbase companies, and more.
Think of LinkedIn as Facebook’s smaller, more businesslike cousin. In a sense, it’s the digital equivalent of a local Chamber of Commerce confab: a great place to be seen, and an even better venue for forging new connections. Use your LinkedIn profile to engage with industry influencers and post or cross-post original content supporting your marketing or thought leadership campaigns.
Yelp is probably the best-known online review site for local businesses. If you’re trying to improve your company’s visibility and drum up buzz for its products and services, you need to invest in a quality Yelp presence.
The results can be dramatic: The Yelp profile for Chicago Pizza Tours, a local outfit devoted to its hometown’s famously gooey pies, is a five-star-filled lovefest. Without that boost, it’s doubtful the otherwise unremarkable company would be doing as well as it is.
- Better Business Bureau
Despite legitimate gripes with its ranking and dispute-resolution methodology, the Better Business Bureau remains the foremost arbiter of business credibility in the United States. BBB-accredited businesses simply look better to customers, even if they don’t have that coveted A+ rating. The good news: If you play by the rules and address customer complaints quickly, you shouldn’t have trouble maintaining an above-average rating.
- YP.com (Yellow Pages)
Remember the old Yellow Pages? Well, they’re still around, but let’s be real — you probably haven’t opened a phone book in years.
The modern successor to those clunky volumes is decidedly digital: YP.com, a catchall business directory for local and national firms. Like Yelp, it’s a popular resource for customers seeking out new, location-centric experiences, but it’s also a must-list for service providers and trade businesses: plumbing, electrical, landscaping, and on and on.
Where Else Are You Listed?
These aren’t the only six must-list sites for businesses large and small. Depending on your company’s niche and focus, you’ll almost certainly need to invest in directory and social listings elsewhere. There’s no correct or incorrect mix of properties, merely more or less complete listing portfolios.
If you haven’t already done so, survey the competition to determine where they’re seeing the most value — and then get busy.