I put this list together for our clients a while back, and was never planning on posting it to our blog. I was scared that as soon as I did, I’d get “hate mail” from people because I included sites they didn’t like, and forgot sites they did!
But I can take the abuse…and the benefit of having people comment here and add their favorite sites for the common good made it an easy decision. Please feel free to add your favorite site(s) below.
So, without further ado, here are some lesser-known tools and tips for some of the largest sites out there, in addition to some terrific resources that you may not have heard of.
Increase The Visibility Of Your Practice For Free
This is NOT only for dry cleaners, hair salons, and yogurt shops! Any kind of business can add a Places listing, and it is FREE and takes only a few minutes. It is pretty intuitive, and even if you don’t do everything perfectly, you’ll still get a huge benefit from this. If you want to make sure you get the important and more complicated stuff just right, feel free to watch our free Google Places Help: Step-by-step Setup video series (literally…you’ll see everything along with my running narrative.)
Ditto. All free, all pretty easy and fairly intuitive – use The Nike® Method (Just Do It!)
There are tons of other places you can list your business information, many of which are industry specific. Try this free tool and use it to help grow your online reputation (comments, feedback, reviews, likes, etc.) – which is very important to your search engine rankings.
Google: Beyond The Beaten Path
Almost everybody knows about the great free tools like Gmail and Google Calendar, and most people know about Google’s Pay Per Click (“Adwords”) advertising platform, etc. But Google Docs is a great – yes, and also free – way to collaborate online. Also, Google Apps isn’t free, but it can be a great solution for certain businesses.
Instead of manually searching (when you remember and have the time…), this free service from Google will email you whenever it runs across new news on any term you select. Savvy business owners are using this for reputation management – to be notified any time their name, their company name, company executives, etc. are mentioned. You can also setup an alert to monitor your competitors or stay up-to-date on breaking industry news. (This is also a powerful method that consultants and vertically-targeted businesses use – great way to stay in touch with prospects and clients by sending pertinent info happening in their industry before they even see it.)
Just what it sounds like. Easy way to check on trends over time. Google Insights is similar, but can be even more powerful.
Free incoming, local phone number with voicemail transcription, SMS (Text) notifications, and tons of other features. A phenomenal way to track response to your different advertising and marketing campaigns.
Free (but you already guessed that) application that allows you to track info about your website visitors. You can also implement its free “conversion tracking” and “goals” features to measure ROI on your campaigns (this is major.)
With its strong business emphasis, most people are familiar with LinkedIn. But fewer people are aware that it has a pretty solid, effective advertising platform. Also, Company Pages and Custom Groups can be useful and aren’t as well known. LinkedIn doesn’t push their paid account upgrades and associated benefits too hard, so for more info on LinkedIn’s premium features look at LinkedIn Subscriptions.
FaceBook Really Can Be Used For Businesses
Terrific way for local companies to connect with their prospects and clients and build trust. Such a massive, active userbase means that there will be 2.7 Trillion inches of ad space available this year (over 42 million miles – or almost halfway to the Sun!) With that much inventory, the price for the acquisition of new leads can be very attractive.
Becoming more and more important every day. One quick (but game-changing?) tip: – leave an iPad where patients will be (an iPad for the “cool, touch me” factor, but a laptop will do just fine also) and get your customers to simply log in and “like” your FaceBook page. It is quick and easy for them, and now going forward you have an immediate, unobtrusive way to announce specials, sales, etc. – without having to compete for Inbox “attention” or worry about email deliverability and spam filters…
With a viewership larger than ABC, CBS, and NBC…combined…it’s a fair guess you’ve heard of YouTube. Far from just a place to watch skateboarding dogs and cute crying babies, YouTube’s massive reach and “rich” content helps you connect and build relationships with prospects and patients like few other platforms.
Whether it is a simple video taken with your camera phone, a video created – easily – on Animoto, or a professionally-produced, broadcast-quality spot, you must challenge yourself to create a presence here! You can also advertise on YouTube, which can be very powerful.
What The Heck is AWeber?
One of the most important things to have on your website. Easily create forms to capture visitor info (aka leads for your practice), and automatically build rapport and value with a prospect… For more on the power of an autoresponder, spend a few minutes at AWeber.com.
Quick Notes On Other Great Sites
Excellent, pay-when-job-is-done outsourcing site (free to solicit bids.)
Don’t guess what your prospects and customers want – ask them. Easily.
An alternative to Google Analytics – and easier to use.
Free tool to research how many searches are performed for terms related to your business.
Reasonably-priced, EASY tool to create nice-looking videos from pictures and existing video clips.
That’s it for now! The only way that this list will stay current and valuable is if you share your great sites below in the comments. I’ll send a free copy of my book to anybody that posts 5 or more sites…