In the old days, people only needed to rely on the white pages and signs outside their business in order to attract people to their business. These days, however, people may completely ignore the fact that your business exists unless you have a presence on the internet. If you're not listed on these three sites, you're missing out on online marketing for local businesses.
Having a Facebook page for a business is a must. It's not only a way for fans of your business to review you and for you to share news and information, but it's also how people find you. Facebook is designed to alert users to businesses around the area they're in. In order to do this, the user turns on their GPS or enters their address, and Facebook goes to work. However, if you're not listed in their database, the user won't find you that way, even if they're standing right in front of your door.
Once a user spots a competing business and notices a good rating, they'll gravitate there rather than go to a seemingly unknown business.
Another site that's a must is Yelp. Like Facebook, users can review your business and post pictures and information about what services you offer, which are all useful to have. However, the biggest thing of importance is Yelp's search. When a user taps in a search for a business like a restaurant or a bookstore, Yelp bases that search on the user's current location. You've got it; it's GPS at work again. Without a listing, your location won't appear.
Finally, Google is the undisputed king of search engines, and that's not all. Many people use Google to find nearby businesses, just like Yelp and Facebook. Now, you might be thinking that your site can be located on Google when someone searches for your business. This may be true, but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll appear on Google Maps.
Google Maps typically doesn't list businesses until it gets confirmation from the owner that a business is located at a certain address. Otherwise, malicious users could post all kinds of fake businesses. So if you haven't told Google Maps that your business is there and open to customers, it won't show up, just like the above two sites.
Getting listed, maintaining a presence, and reaching out to fans on sites like these can be time-consuming and difficult. If you're having trouble handling online marketing yourself and want to see more people walking in than walking by, hire a digital marketing expert to take care of all of this for you.