Just like online dating has exploded in popularity, it’s no coincidence that websites connecting service providers and professionals for specific business needs are following the same trend. No wonder then, that online business profiles have become a critical tool to “sell” yourself to potential customers.
Here at GRIDVendor.com, our participating service providers say they like the ability to customize their individual profile pages to give them the most online “clickworthy” mileage. It’s what helps get them noticed by the community association management companies, homeowners association and condominium managers we help them reach.
So it’s especially disconcerting to click on one of our new GRIDVendor.com profile pages and find a vendor has entered the bare minimum—a barely-descriptive sentence or two, an incomplete service offering explanation, no logo or illustrating picture, and (oh no!) bad spelling.
Having a bad business profile is like expecting to get a date without brushing your hair or changing out of your sweats! You may do great work, but how can a potential customer tell if your profile is poorly written or incomplete?
Regardless of whether your intended business page offers specific “boxes” to put your information, it’s always a good idea to repeat it in the text of your profile as well. Should the reader miss your details in once place, he or she is sure to see them in another. Don’t take the chance by leaving anything blank, and repeat your message as often as you can. Besides, in cyberspace, more words increase your chances of being found by search engine “crawlers,” thus increasing the likelihood your business name will emerge on Google's coveted “Page One.”
Help Your Customers Find You
It used to be complicated and expensive, but these days, creating a simple website and getting a professional email address is super easy—even for those with few computer skills. You can find a wide array of easy-to-navigate free or almost free options just by using your Internet browser to search for “Build a free website” or “get a free business email address,” so you can ditch the unprofessional-sounding “Hotmail,” “AOL” and “gmail” URLs (Web-speak for a website address) for one that actually represents your business.
What locations or geographic area does your business serve? Be sure to explain whether you bring your services to your customers, or whether they come to you.
Use a phone number you’ll answer and make sure your voice mail greeting reflects your business. Even in these days of nationwide cell phone coverage, a toll-free number still says you care about your customers (in addition to providing some regulatory protection).
A note to those just starting to build their digital footprint is to visit “Google My Business” (www.google.com/business) and create your “Google Business” local listing page. Google's search engine gets the lion's share of online traffic, so if your business ranks on Google, you’re in good shape. But first you have to let Google know your business exists, so it can put you on the “Google Map”—both literally and figuratively. Ideally, you'll want to link to your profile page as much as you can to increase online traffic, and make posts on your Google Business page to help Google pinpoint search keywords attached to your services.
Tell Customers About Your Business
Imagine yourself at the other end of the mouse as a property manager who has little time or patience to make a decision about you, the hard-working service provider. What do they most need to know about you? What would you like them to know? What types of problems can you solve? Can you tell about a particularly difficult situation you handled? What special talents do you have and what types of services do you perform? List those in a bullet format for easy reading, if possible.
Do you hold any special licenses, or are you certified by any major (or minor) accrediting organizations? How long have you been in business? What types of jobs have you done over those years, and for whom? Can you cite any references? You’ll want to include detailed answers to these questions in your text narrative.
And use your spell check, of course!
Finally, if you don’t have a logo, you can either get one made online, or simply select a licensed picture from a clip art service like istockphoto.com that fits the general description of your business. This way, a community association manager looking at your profile overview won’t see a blank space where a picture or logo would have otherwise been.
This is the time to self-promote! Don't hold back!
Jennifer J.H. Pierce
Business Development Manager | GRID Systems
1700 NW 66 Avenue, Suite 113, Plantation, FL 33313
P: 954-329-1406 | M: 954-295-JJHP (5547)