Free Tools to Promote Your Small Business Online
Many small business owners are unaware of the importance of having the right online presence, and most don't have a website, the online information is old and inaccurate, and they don't know how to handle the promotion on the net.
Most people running small retail shops, restaurants, coffee shops, services, craftsmen, etc. are afraid to post their businesses online fearing another big expense, costly maintenance, and mostly the effort and time to update the site.
But now there are easy to use tools to have a basic online presence... for free:
Google Places: This is like your Yellow Pages ad on Google; allows you to publish basic business information, opening hours, pictures of the facilities, offers, etc. You can also include printable discount coupons. The listing will appear on a Google search for your type of business and on Google Maps.
Facebook Pages: If you sell your product or services to consumers this is a must today. Over 500 million people worldwide use Facebook, many search on Facebook, and spend a lot of time on Facebook. A basic business page is free, you only pay if you want targeted advertising.
Google Sites: If you have a Google account (sign up for Gmail if you need one) you can publish a site free, there are several easy to use templates available for different types of businesses, organizations, schools, etc.
And now Google Voice is available for everyone with a Google account: it allows you to have an unique number for your business, and forward the calls to your land line or cell phone depending on several options; it can ring several phones at the same time until one answers the call. Includes free Voice-Mail with text transcripts and you use it for your cell phone as well.