Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Establishing a web presence....Not as difficult as you think

With all of the talk about local search vs. Yellow Pages lately, and the rise of local information found online, many small business owners have begun to question the effectiveness of purchasing Yellow Pages ads. And rightly so!

Once seen as the "go to" place for local businesses, the Yellow Pages' popularity has dropped with the emergence of alternatives to the expensive, cumbersomely thick book.
Why sift through wordy, sleepy ads in the Yellow Pages when there are more interactive alternatives out there? Capture your customers' attention by following "the more senses stimulated the better."

Most people are more intrigued when viewing a merchant as a 3-dimensional, breathing entity (like an online business listing) instead of a one-dimensional static box, like an ad in the Yellow Pages. Also, many customers feel that websites lend more credibility and personable qualities to a business. Sounds like a piece-of-cake decision, right? To those who grew up with the Internet, yes, but some may find the print-to-virtual transition a little more intimidating, particularly those not as familiar with the Internet.

MerchantCircle helps alleviate this very real fear by giving you simple, easy to use tools to create your business listing. As you need not learn any coding or technical terms, you may better use your time to concentrate on highlighting your business' attributes - like how your cafe has Fair Trade /Shade Grown coffee or how affordable your salon's prices are.

We've also built a few sample fictional websites to show how our features can better serve you. Remember Central Perk from Friends? Check out their business profile and snazzy image. Taking a moment to upload images and describe your business makes a world of difference when trying to stand out from other merchants (not to mention it's easy and free).

We've also made more traditional promotional tools easier, such as newsletters, profiles, and coupons. In addition, we've brought you blogs, a more current method to keep your customers informed on a regular basis. Businesses can use blogs for anything from updating customers on recent changes in the store to showcasing new and upcoming products. It's an informal, personal way to exchange ideas or provide information while having fun doing it! You can also be as creative as you want, such as uploading images to accentuate your news, like this blog from Gina's Beauty Shop.

More than anything, MerchantCircle wants to show you that you can create your own ad (with a little help from our Wizard) without spending excess amounts of money on annual contracts with the Yellow Pages. In fact, Central Perk and Gina's Beauty Shop (along with other businesses we'll soon introduce) were built using the standard free membership level at the "Circle". So, with all of this in mind, welcome to a great place to call home....and happy business listing-building!


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