Online marketing can be an effective strategy for even the smallest business!

“We’ve weathered several periods when times weren’t so good, and so I don’t think we’ll cancel our advertising now. In fact, we might even increase it.”

—W. K. Kellogg, US entrepreneur

It’s often tempting to slash advertising and marketing budgets in tough times. This is a mistake many businesses big, and small often make. In today’s digital world, you don’t need the massive marketing budgets of Walmart or Kellogg’s to get noticed and drive sales. There are a ton of very effective, inexpensive (or even free) strategies for small business owners to implement, that have a big impact. 

It’s not news that customers are online and searching for products and services right from their smartphone. What we often don’t know is HOW search engines like Google work. When a web user searches for something, search engines scan thousands of pages in online directories to provide results. When a site is listed in one of these directories, it is deemed more relevant and achieves a higher ranking. What does this mean for you, the small business owner? Simply put, if your business is listed in these directories, your business will be found quicker than those that are not. That’s free marketing! That’s good for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). 

Not Sure Where to Start?

Take a look at a few of these online directories, and simply add your business name, contact details, products or services to get started:   

  • Google My Business: Google My Business connects you directly with customers, whether they’re looking for you via Google Search, Maps or Google+.
  • Canadian Company Capabilities database: Promote your products, services, trade experience, and technology in this searchable database of over 60,000 Canadian businesses.
  • Directory of directories: A listing of associations and groups with offices in Alberta that have membership directories.
  • Hotfrog: Hotfrog makes your business stand out in places like Google. Be found by customers looking for what you do.
  • Yellow pages: Simply fill out a form and your free business profile will be listed at (business name, address and phone number).
  • Bing places: Add your business to Bing for free and help online customers discover your business.

Want even more? Check out the Canada Business Network resources on online marketing for tips on blogging, podcasting, email, and social networking.