The TRUTH about “creating a free profile” for your business.

April 2nd, 2013 | Chandler Zieg | Painting Business Articles | No Comments

Have you ever filled out a “free profile” online to promote your business or get more painting leads? If so, this is a MUST-READ.

This might go down as one of the biggest rackets in online advertising EVER. What am I talking about exactly? I’m talking about “free” profile pages that “help your business get found”.

If you’re a small business owner, you’ve probably already heard this pitch from solicitors ad nauseum. The proposition is as follows: Create a FREE online profile so customers can find you, if you have limited exposure online.

Sounds great right? WRONG!

What small business owners don’t realize when they fill out their “free profile”, is that they are giving their name/advertising power to whoever’s offering the “free profile”.

Here’s what happens after you fill out your free company profile:

The advertiser often has partnerships with several other internet advertising companies, so the advertiser mass produces your profile to all it’s partner sites as well. Even though you only filled out one profile, you’ll often see the same information you put in your profile on several other “directory” sites.

The site then displays your company’s profile and information, but uses THEIR number for your contact phone number. This means that technically it’s your profile, yet they have the contact power over the profile. If anyone tries to call/email you from your profile, they will end up calling the advertisers number. The advertiser then attempts to contact you claiming they have exclusive “leads” or customers for you.

See the problem? Any potential customers trying to find you will likely find the advertisers tracking phone number, call that, and then you’re being charged for YOUR OWN CUSTOMERS.

Here’s an example that is probably happening as we speak:

Lets say Joe Homeowner wants to find a painter they used a couple years back, called ABC Painting Co. Joe Homeowner goes to google and types in “ABC Painting Co.” Several search results that show up have ABC Painting Co in the name, seeming to be the original company, but the url address is to a different url or directory. Joe Homeowner clicks one of the sites thinking its just ABC Painting Co.

When Joe calls the number on the profile to use their favorite painting company again, the call gets re-routed to the advertiser instead of just ABC Painting Co. Then the “free-profile” advertiser calls you trying to sell you your own customers that were just trying to find your original number in the first place.

Most small business owners DON’T have an online presence, so the free profile sounds great. Just remember that you’re basically selling all your advertising power to less-than-sound directories.

If your website already has enough presence and has been around a while, your site will likely still show up first when you google your company name. However, if you’re smaller and less-established online (like most small biz owners), your own site will get CRUSHED by the advertisers online presence and SEO rankings. Your actual site will get buried in the search results so that it’s almost impossible to find your original number.

If you fill out a “free-profile” you are allowing several directories/online advertisers to put their OWN number so they can charge you for your OWN customers.

ONLY create a profile for your company if your website is established enough to not get buried in the search results AND if the contact info provided is YOUR contact info, not a tracking number by the advertiser.

The lasting effects of this can be pretty devastating for a small business owner. The internet stores EVERYTHING ever published. This means all those stock-template-profiles they blasted out on your behalf will likely be out there forever. That means your advertisers phone number will be there, forever siphoning away from your own referrals.

Don’t believe us? If you’ve filled out a free profile recently, try googling your company name. If your site does not show up first, you’re losing customers every day to the advertisers you sold your company’s soul to.

We hate seeing good contractors getting taken advantage of by these larger advertisers. This article was written to create awareness about what you’re really doing to yourself and your company when you utilize “free-profile” services. We hope this helps!

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