These are free advertising sites, which are all over the World Wide Web. They ultimate would like you to pay for your business to be listed with them, but this is not usually necessary as they tempt you in with a basic free listing to start off with. Just always make sure you check the terms and conditions and don’t add any bank details, so you don’t get caught out and end up paying for something you didn’t expect too. A good plan is to keep a note somewhere of where you have opened an account and listed yourself. Unfortunately this isn’t something that I did, so I had to go back and find them again a few months later (keep updating them every so often to keep the traffic moving and update any changes). I’m sure there’s a few floating about that I haven’t seen for years!

Free websites

Add information about your business, put in as much detail as possible (opening times, what treatments you offer, contact details). Use attractive photos with links to your website, plus any social media pages that you are on. Remember this is your virtual “shop window”, the first place that people will come into contact with you. So make it as inviting as you can and be proud!

This can take quite a bit of time and effort, but remember once you’ve got one done, you’ll have a bit of a template to copy and paste on to other ones. The effort is to direct traffic across the web, you probably won’t get any physical clients from from doing this, but it’s the it’s the interaction between different social media and your website that helps to increase the activity. Lots of links, interaction and interest are what you are aiming for to help your website move up on the search engine ranking.

Generating business

I’ve added Tripadvisor in this group, even though its a bit different, it’s set up in a similar way. Its free to list yourself on, but I find I do get the occasional living breathing client finds me through Tripadvisor as its so popular for checking out local businesses. Because of this encourage any existing clients to give you a review on there, this builds trust and interaction with potential new customers. Go find those free ads and don’t be afraid to sing your own praises!

Social media can directly find you clients, but it also encourages interaction online and so helps your website rank higher on search engines. Love them or loath them,  the more you do on social media and point it towards your website the more traffic you will receive. When I first started I tried to post onto my Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter and Google every few days (okay that didn’t always happen!) and YouTube occasionally. But over a six month period this really did seem to make a difference, just keep going and make it into a habit. YouTube is also worth posting onto, even just short clips will be seen by someone, somewhere and all that lovely interaction across social media will add up over time. Unfortunately social media platforms are always changing the way they work (algorithms), so they change the “goal posts” on who they show your posts, videos and photo’s to. The only way to attempt to keep up with this is by researching what is working at any given time and tweaking what you do.

Social media

The other side to social media is actually growing your ‘fan base’ online. Then some of these people (or their friends) might actually become your clients. If you already have lots of friends and follows then this makes your life easier, the connections are already there. If not you need to grow them yourself, which does takes time and effort. Interacting, liking and commenting on other peoples posts and photo’s helps you build relationships. Try to do this as often as you can and be genuine, it’s not difficult and actually feels nice to be positive and supportive to others. Share the love!

Getting busy online

Keep your posts professional, friendly and informative and try to add in lots of hints and tips that are relevant to your business. You don’t want pictures of you drunk on a night out on your business pages, think how potential customers are going to see it (remember this too makes up part of your “shop front” even though you haven’t got a real one). Try to use your own photo’s or if not you must use royalty free images from online (I use Pixabay quite a lot). There are various apps that you can use to help your posts look more professional, even ones to make video clips, which social media particularly loves. The more interaction you can get on your posts the better too, but you’re never quite sure how many news feeds your beautifully planned posts has actually been put on! It’s a fickle business and with algorithms always being changed, it’s a case of doing your research and trying to keep up with it all. Get posting😊.