Online Business Directories

Benefits of Online Business Directories for small businesses

The increase of active internet users is rising each year, Statista reported that there are 38.13 million active internet users in South Africa in January 2021 from 36.54 million in the previous year.  Adaptability is essential for small businesses to survive, as internet users are increasing so should micro and small businesses reach new customers through online interventions such as online business directories.

Increase your SEO in search results

According to International School of Tanganyika (n.d.), online business directories provide further search engine validation for your website and business. There’s also no need to go out and seek a link swap from other businesses, which is a conventional approach for gaining authority from search engines, if you submit your business’s information to the online business directory. 

Online business directories assist in building awareness for small business and extend their market reach to new customers as opposed to traditional marketing methods which require a significant amount of money for advertising on billboards and television. 

Small businesses do not have huge advertising budgets, listing your small business on an online business directory is advantageous in terms of saving costs because of its affordability and how much you can get from it through SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which help making it easier for your business to be findable and relevant to those potential customers who are seeking for your business’s service or product.

Builds brand awareness around your business

Small businesses benefit a lot from listing their businesses online because they can tap into a wider network of customers of which they wouldn’t be able to achieve on their own. This has its long-term benefits which will help them to upscale their businesses into becoming more competitive in their respective industries, and competition drives innovation which will inspire other upcoming small businesses in entering the market. An increase in sales will also allow them to create more employment opportunities within their organization. This will rise more brand awareness for the business as it grows.

Enhances the business’s online presence

Online portals makes it easy to advertise and introduce your services and products (SA Business Connect, 2022). Listing your business online also makes it possible for customers to purchase your services or products online without having to perform physical payments. This comes at a great convenience to the customer because it encourages them to invest into your business through those purchases made online.

Covid19 is a practical example of why its important to list your business online and grow its presence within the digital world, when the South African economy was forced to go into hard lockdown on the 26th of March 2020 this had impacted a lot of businesses that have not established an online presence, because those businesses became inaccessible to customers due to lacking the online presence.

If you are running a small business in the hospitality industry and were used to providing your services through physical bookings or telephonically, this would have had a major impact on your business’s financial performance for the year. Internet is much more accessible than purchasing prepaid airtime because cities such as Tshwane provide free Wi-Fi to its people who reside in the area, there is also free Wi-Fi that is accessible in public libraries. Prepaid airtime is not free and its only available to those who have the resources that will allow them to purchase it.

Helps in making your business visible locally

Not all businesses have big fancy establishments that are easily noticeable from a distance, listing your small business online will also aid in customers knowing where to find you through the listed business address on the site. It is convenient for also locals to be able to locate your business by searching for it online, which saves them time from travelling through big cities such as Johannesburg which has a lot of businesses operating. This will lead the customers directly to you, whether physically or telephonically in order to receive your services or products.

Improves on the discoverability of the business

It is encouraged to list your small business on more than just one online business directory, this improves on the business’s discoverability. This will add your small business to multiple search results that will appear on a person’s device when they search for example “restaurants in Johannesburg”. This also builds familiarity around your small business when it appears on online search results because it is easy to forget about a business that would only appear once in the search results among other multiple listings that offer the same kind of services that your small business will be offering.

Why online business directories over social media marketing

Social media is a great marketing tool for businesses, users are constantly browsing through their social media feed because social media platforms are engineered to create users to spend more time on them. This will be beneficial for your business because users will be able to engage with your business, but social media marketing is costly. Compared to online business directories where some come at a fee or free of charge to list your business, advertising through social media isn’t the best way to advertise your small business because advertising costs are charged daily compared to business directories which are monthly or annually.

Social media advertising campaigns take time to yield positive results because you won’t gain traction for your business by just advertising for a day or two, but a month and more to see results. Social media limits your reach to customers according to how much you pay each day of your advertising campaign as opposed to online business directories which allow you a higher marketing reach for less.

Social media metrics do not target a niche market compared to online business directories, higher chances are the person looking for your business’s services through online business directories is a potential customer compared to someone who is casually browsing through their social media feed and upon that stumbles on your business ad and just scrolls past it without taking notice because they are easily distracted by posts from friends or accounts they follow and aren’t in need for any business services.

Key points to why online business directories are best for your small business compared to social media marketing:

  • Online business directories build more brand awareness for your business because they are meant to increase your business’s visibility whereas social media is meant to just attract more users to their site.
  • It saves a lot of costs compared to social media marketing which doesn’t favor a small business’s budget because you pay daily to advertise and you won’t reach new customers through just a day, it takes time.
  • Drives potential customers directly to your business as opposed to running a social media advertising campaigning hoping the person who comes across your business ad takes interest in your business’s services.
  • Online business directories do not limit your business’s discoverability compared to social media which requires you to pay more to reach a wider market.
  • They take advantage of SEO and are meant to attract more customers to your business site.
  • If someone is looking for a business, they are more likely to search for it rather than to go look for one on social media.
  • Targets a niche market in need of your business services compared to social media which makes use of only active users through metrics such as age and location on their platform to see your business ad which really does not do much for your business in general.

Check our Business Directory and search your favourite local goods and services.

To learn about some resources to help small businesses in South Africa click here.

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March 8, 2022 - In Tips

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