5 Benefits of Listing Your Business in an Online Directory.

Small businesses struggle with the challenge of harnessing the full power of the Internet. Online marketing is well known as one of the most effective ways to be found by potential customers. Still, it is not always easy to know where to begin or where to invest money to get the best results. For businesses that are operating on shoestring budgets, the decision with where to put money becomes even more crucial, as there is less opportunity for error before budgets run dry.

One of the most popular places businesses are now turning to is online directories. According to Comscore, over 85% of purchases begin with some research done online. Many of the people doing the searches look to online directories for help in finding businesses that can fulfill a need, largely because online directories rank high in search engine results and deliver small business websites a boost in their search engine optimization.

If your business is considering using online directories, here are five of the top benefits that companies who put their budget toward this highly effective form of online marketing will get.

1. Build Brand Awareness ¨C When your business has a listing in an online directory, you immediately increase the amount of exposure you have to potential clients. This in turn can help send more traffic to your website and let people who are in the market for your specific product or offering get to know your company better. With a paid advertisement, this exposure is maximized and gives you the best results.

2. Target a Specific Market ¨C People that turn to online directories or find them while doing a search are in a specific market looking for a specific product or service to meet their needs. By listing your business in an online directory, your company is viewed by prospective customers. This means that the leads you get from online directories are higher quality, and therefore more worth your time and investment.

3. Boost Business Website SEO ¨C Online directories tend to rank highly in search engines. This means that the links they give back to your website are considered white hat links, which are considered favorable by search engines. When you have backlinks and traffic coming from other sites, especially those that are high ranking websites themselves, this shows the search engines that a website is relevant and therefore gives your businessĄŻ website a boost.

4. Network with Other Businesses - Getting to know other companies in the online directories can help you to form potential partnerships in niche markets outside of your own. This is beneficial too, as it gives you the opportunity to expand the reach of your business and make your strategy stronger as a whole. By partnering with others, your business has the potential to grow into new markets.

5. Increase Business Exposure and Reach ¨C When people browse online directories, they are not always in the market to buy right away. Still, by having a presence in the online directories, you can increase your exposure and reach. This means that when a prospect is ready to buy, they are more likely to go straight to your website to make their final purchase. By gaining exposure early on in the customer purchase process, you have a better chance of landing the final sale when your prospective client makes their decision on which company to use for their needs.

As companies continue to look for ways to reach customers who are searching on the Internet, one place that fails to cease in popularity is online directories. From the exposure to the back end benefit to websites, this has proven to be one of the most effective ways to harness the power of the Internet.