Building your business’s Online Brand

Studies have shown 97% of consumers research products online before buying local. Given that; one doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that it’s critical for business owners to use all available resources, especially FREE ones, to enhance their business’s online brand and make it easier for customers to find it. The easier it is to find your business; the more likely you are to gain customers. In this series of blog posts, I endeavor to explore how you can leverage online resources to help provide a boost to your bottom line.

First step in improving your business’s online brand is to claim its online business listing on business listing services and review sites as well as establishing your business’s presence on social networks. Bing Business Portal, Google+Local, Yelp, and TripAdvisor are examples of business listing services while Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Google+ are examples of social networks. Consider the following benefits and I think you’ll agree with me in that it’s definitely worthwhile.

1) Build your brand – By claiming your business listings and establishing presence on social networks, you’re making your brand more visible across the web. This also has a direct benefit to your business in search engine results. The easier it is for your customers to find you, the higher the chances that they will.

2) Brand consistency & loyalty – By claiming your business listing, you have the ability to update your business information, add a personal touch with pictures and messaging, and even post a menu or special promotions. Arm your customers with the information that they’re likely to look for and better success you’ll have. i.e., display physical address with menu highlighting special promotion if you’re a restaurant.

3) Reach your customers on their turf – Most if not all, service providers tend to be device agnostic meaning your business listing will show up properly formatted regardless of the device being used. So by simply claiming your business listing and/or establishing a presence on social networks, your business will show up correctly on desktops, mobile devices, tablets, etc., even if your business website does not. Also, these service providers tend to have a huge following with their mobile applications which is a significant advantage in today’s digital world.

There is an overabundance of business listing services and social networks to establish presence for your business. And it can be quite overwhelming as well as turn into huge hassle. But you don’t have to do everything at once; break it into smaller chunks and utilize Brandify’s “brand report card” to assess your starting point as well as measure its improvement over time.

Brandify is a free online service specifically designed to help small and mid-size businesses reach more customers by establishing and maintaining a positive online reputation. Brandify’s “brand report card” is built using a sophisticated scoring model that takes into account over 80 data points of a business’ online presence.

Microsoft has partnered with Brandify to deliver this free tool for SBDC consultants to engage with new and existing clients. As you invite more of your customers to try the tool and obtain their Brandify score, you can help your center earn a monthly $5000 cash incentive! Get started today: Also, check out this short overview video on Brandify.