Free Ways to Help Differentiate Your Business Online

Free Ways to Help Differentiate Your Business Online

You’re familiar with the major social media channels, but have you considered avenues like Bing Places For Business, Nextdoor and PRLog?

Have you ever stopped to think about your business from your customers’ point of view? Why should they choose you over your competitors? What do you do or offer that competitors don’t? Is it better service? Better value? More selection? More convenience?

Once you’ve arrived at an answer, you’ve determined your differentiators – what makes your company stand out from the rest. And now that you know the factors that differentiate your business, it’s time to promote them. And it doesn’t have to cost a pretty penny.

Promote yourself

Whether you’ve got a set marketing budget or are working without one, you can make great use of free resources to distinguish your business. Through many community-based resources, you can amplify your message and drum up business by word of mouth, via friends telling friends, and neighbors talking to neighbors.

Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram may be among the first things that come to mind, but you have other arrows in your quiver, so to speak. For instance, you can get a free directory listing for your business with Google Place, Yahoo! Local and Bing Places For Business.

You can also create a free business profile on Google My Business and post photos and offers: It lets you connect with customers across Google Search and Google Maps. Or create a free business page on Nextdoor to reach people in your neighborhood. Then make yourself known as the expert in your business or industry through a blog and other online posts.

Communicating is key

Customer feedback in the form of online comments and reviews is a great way to determine what you’re doing right – and where there is room for improvement or innovation. High ratings and positive comments can help drive additional business. Respond to your customers to show that you are listening to them – and that you truly care about their thoughts, opinions and feelings.

Sign up for Yelp and upload business information and photos; respond to reviews. You can also contribute to an online community related to your business, upload content to YouTube and Flickr, and publicize newsworthy events through press releases on sites such as PRLog and 24/7 Press Release.

While you don’t have to do all these things, you should start somewhere and engage consistently and continuously. It requires a commitment on your part, but it can pay big dividends. Investing the time and energy into making your business attractive to your customers, and then promoting it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money – but it can help make a big difference to your bottom line.

Next steps

Drum up business with these action items:

  • Determine what differentiates your business
  • Promote it for free through the various channels
  • Monitor engagements/analytics
  • Reply to messages from customers and prospects

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