These days, there are more ways than ever to generate leads online for your business.  Obviously the bigger ones such as Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and so on should be part of your overall strategy.

A little less well-known are sites such as Sales Spider, Thumbtack, YourBizListing, and more. These types of sites have some of the social networking components but are more directly geared towards the “networking” side of generating leads and a little less emphasis on the “social” side.

They tend to be a little more robust than the typical business directory sites and have more features focused on attracting more leads.  They don’t tend to rank quite as highly on the search engines as sites like Yelp!, Google+ for business, and CitySearch, but they’re worth taking the time and effort to build out properly.

Each of these has free listings available (as of this writing) to help you with your lead generation efforts online.  Some have paid “premium” listings as well.

Sales Spider

W3 Group business profile on Sales Spider

Here’s how Sales Spider describes their service offering:

Sales Spider is America’s #1 business social network for Small and Medium Sized Businesses (SMBs). Sales Spider has approximately 1,087,515 members and is growing by thousands a day.

Sales Spider helps SMB owners and executives grow their businesses and is completely free to register. The company has multiple technology patents pending. The site features the following areas:

  • Integrated Social Network and Community
    • Easy Searching to Find & Connect with People
    • One-to-One Messaging & Chat Forums
  • Opportunity Matchmaking – Patent Pending
    • Daily Opportunities Matched to Keywords & Locations
    • Includes: Contracts, Jobs, Classifieds ads, Business Owners and Businesses
  • Business Center
    • Business Library with Online tools, articles, whitepapers & links
  • Business Directory
    • Features 14 million plus companies
  • Free Classified Marketplace
    • B2b classified advertising

How effective is this for online lead generation? We’ve received a few leads via this source, and are in the process of building out the W3 Group Marketing profile even more so we’re expecting some increase.

Thumbtack

W3 Group Marketing business profile on Thumbtack

Thumbtack seems to be focused more on helping you, the business owner, find local providers for the products and services you need.  On the flip side of the coin, by building out your own company profile, you can automatically be sent leads of people who are looking for the services you offer.  My profile is here: We help businesses get more BUSINESS!

Here’s how Thumbtack describes their service:

Let us do the legwork for you

  • 1. Tell us what you need
  • 2. We’ll identify verified service pros based on your specific needs
  • 3. Available service pros will submit quotes for you to compare
  • 4. You choose and hire the service pro that’s right for you

How effective is it? It’s still too early to tell, but we have received a few leads so far, and expect to attract more leads online now that our company profile is more complete.

YourBizListing

W3 Group business profile on YourBizListing

YourBizListing bills themselves as the “NEW way of marketing” – but what does that mean? Straight from the horse’s mouth:

YourBizListing provides entrepreneurs, freelancers & marketers powerful tools and advertising opportunities all in one place. We built this service knowing that people like you need various tools at your disposal to get that next client or project. That’s why we decided to give you everything you need, all in one place to make that happen!

How effective is it? The jury’s still out at this point… As of this writing, my profile has garnered 108 views, but from that – a grand total of 0 leads.  I think this one is geared a little more towards leads for small businesses, MLM and freelancers, but it could be useful for larger businesses as well. Many of the tools they offer are similar to tools we and our clients have already implemented, but if you’ve got a new business or a home-based business, this may be a useful services to help you get things moving.

The key to generating leads from these and other online directories is fairly simple: Fill out your profile as completely as possible, use a compelling description that speaks directly to your target market and answers their questions and shows how your business is the solution to their problems, and use the tools effectively.

We’re testing these sources along with many others.  Stay tuned to learn which online lead generation sources we find most useful and effective…

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