In today’s digital age, it is both easier and harder than ever to start your own business. Most business owners find success in networking, but when you’re starting with nothing, you can be left in the dust. To build a proper foundation for your startup, you need to invest time into five specific platforms. All of these are designed to help get your business off the ground for free.

Google My Business

The first thing you should do is register your business with Google My Business. GMB is the handy tool that pulls out businesses and lists them under Google Maps. It appears in Google Maps and at the top of (or to the right of) Google searches. When set up accurately, this free platform puts your business in front of countless new customers, naturally.

Everything on your GMB profile needs to match your website — your hours, address, phone number, email — everything. Additionally, your other listings and social media pages should match your GMB account as well.

We recommend adding photos of your location and products/service to boost interaction rate as well. According to Google, businesses that add photos to their Business Profiles receive 42% more requests for directions, and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t. It’s a tool that shouldn’t be overlooked!

Get on Social Media

Social media is a community-generated powerhouse that shouldn’t be discounted. It allows you as the business owner to promote your business in local media groups and for customers to engage with you. This level of interaction helps build trust and establish your credibility as a business.

On the advertising side of things, Facebook is the place to be at first. It gives you access to hundreds of local groups and thousands of people who are looking for what you’re selling. If you don’t have a website, Facebook is a good short-term alternative to drive online traffic and engagement too! Additionally, Facebook allows you to post multiple streams of media, including messages, videos, gifs, advertisements, and more.

Other platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok, are great for longer-term strategies with budgets behind them. They’re not going to be the front-facing side of your business, so they’re not the most important building block in your foundation. It doesn’t hurt to have them, but don’t invest too much time in them when you’re first starting out.

Register on Popular Online Directories

People need to be able to find your business for you to start getting new customers. That’s where free directories come into play. The big directories are Yelp and Google My Business and you should get on those right away, but there are two others you should register for immediately.

Yellow Pages

Yellow Pages is all online nowadays and it is still a trusted and popular directory. About 60 million people visit every month, 91% of whom contact a business within 24 hours.

Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau allows all kinds of businesses to apply for a listing, not just the large companies. You’ll need to apply for accreditation, but once you’re approved, customers verify you’re a business they can trust. That will go a long way for your business.

Use Marketing Managing Software

As the owner of a startup, there is a lot for you to manage. Digital marketing is a huge beast and it’s easy to get lost in all of its nuances. Marketing softwares, commonly known as software as a service (Saas), are designed to help you manage digital advertising and customer relations. When you’re just starting out, Business Warrior is the marketing software you need.

It’s designed to scan the web and compile all relevant data to show you the following information in one dashboard:

  • If you’re listed on Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, and Bing
  • Your average reviews (across all sites), if you replied to them, and your most recent reviews
  • If you’re set up to advertise on Google and Facebook
  • Your SEO and top keyword ranking
  • Your website speed

Without Business Warrior, you’ll have to manually check GMB, Facebook, manage your SEO (search engine optimization) and online advertisements on whatever platform you choose. Business Warrior makes all of that easy. Everything you need is in one place. It will save you countless hours of work and it gives you actionable steps to fix or update what you’re missing.

Manage Your Reviews

Owners should never ignore their reviews — it’s free advertising left by their customers. Depending on the review, it can bring in good business or turn customers away. After all, over 90% of potential customers read reviews and make their decision on whether to buy or not based on reviews!

If you have a three-star rating, you can quickly turn that around by reaching out to the reviewer and publicly leaving a handcrafted reply. Don’t do this generic copy/paste replies — take the time to leave a thought out response that addresses and corrects their concerns. Reviews are powerful and when you stay on top of them, they can work in your favor!

By using these five tips, you can tap into the power of digital advertising and start growing your startup and getting new customers so it can be what you always wanted it to be.

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