In the Mountain Home Area like many other small towns across the country, trying to make a living in a small seasonal town is difficult, especially for the small business, or freelancer.
If you own a small business, or if you just work from your home but are a freelance or independent, painter, construction worker, carpenter, window installer, mobile rv repair guy or whatever skills you have– you have to get “out there” on the internet if you are to get beyond surviving, and start thriving.
To become visible you must to go beyond just putting a sign on your car with a phone number, or leaving business cards on a bulletin board. You have to establish yourself in the market online. Of course your work should speak for itself eventually and you should be able to show your potential clients the type of work you have done, and hopefully ask for honest reviews of that work.
One of the challenges is when someone does call, from a sign or from an ad, you can’t show them what you do without an online presence. If you’re on the phone you have a limited ability to tell people how good your work is.
Everyone knows that a picture is worth a million words.
In most cases people today have the tools at their fingertips where they can simply click a few buttons and get all the details of who you are, what you do, and see examples of your work — and will call you, OR NOT, based on the information you put out in the marketplace.
People want to do their homework and research contractors and freelancers before they make a choice in where they spend their money.
I recommend that you create a brand for yourself; i.e. take lots of picture of your work along the way, get testimonial videos or written testimonials from your customers, and put them in a book so you can “SHOW” your clients your work. If you have the imagery in digital form or as an image in your phone, post those images into an online profile of your business so you can allow prospective clients see your work.
No matter how much you try to convince others how good you or your work is, pictures of your work, both before and after are critical to showing off your expertise.
The best compliment someone can give you is their praise. So you need to start asking for “praise” or “testimonial” letters. When you have an online presence, you can ask for customers to leave you a “review” ONLINE where you promote your business, so others can see them.
The challenge in building a website — is it’s expensive. If you do a cheap website like on wix or weebly, that – cheapness will show through and can reflect on your quality of work, and attention to detail. NEVER compromise in building a nice looking and feeling brand from the beginning. Part of the expense in building a professional website is — professional companies have to hire specialists to handle the various aspects of building a website: original photography, sales copy, copywriting, search engine optimization (or SEO), and relevant content, a technical person who can create the space that the website – is “hosted” or an online space where the actual files, photos and the imagery that make up the page of content of your website resides, all has to be technically engineered. All of the branding ideas that allow your business to appear in search engines, selection of a good name that organically appears easily in Google, and then specialized copywriting that makes your content — appear online locally for your products and services is — KEY to making your business either appear online OR it will make your business feel like that is in the middle of the ocean and NO one can see your business.
If you work from home it’s even harder to appear online as Google Maps, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, Mapquest — all of these services ask you if you have a physical location that customers can come visit you. They also ask if you go to client’s locations. And the way you answer those questions will validate if they will – rank you.
Google Maps is getting very strict that ONLY real businesses that have been verified, will appear in Google Search and Google Maps. Apple Maps will NOT approve your business listing if you are a home based business.
I dont know about you but I’m so tired of finding a business online and after getting directions from my phone to the location, it’s no longer in business, or worse yet— it doesn’t exist. The other major challenge I have on a regular basis is… when I get to a business, it’s closed when it’s hours online say it’s open.
So the bottom line is… if you have $5000, and you can spare it to build your business…. I’d recommend you build an online presence of your own from the beginning. However if you cannot afford 5K to 10K or more to really make your business visible, you really need to get a listing on the BEST Local Listing Directory for your area.
In the Mountain Home area, this site you’re on will be the BEST sites for searching for businesses and freelancers, www.MountainHomeArkansas.com. for under $100 a freelancer or small business can have a presence out of the gate — ready to go. If you want to showcase your work with a Gallery of images, the $25/month plan is one of the least expensive options you can invest in. Also as this platform grows, we’ll be reinvesting upto 30% of the ad revenue directly into local advertising platforms and magazines. So hurry and join our program so we can help support the growing of your business too.
The above infographics were taken from this link.