How to Use Bing Places to Grow Your Business
No matter what business you’re in, you can’t make money if nobody knows you exist. Today, that means setting up your business to show up at the right time and in the right place when customers look for businesses like yours. It also means making sure your business is presented to future customers in a way that lets them know your business is the right choice for them.
Today, one of the best ways to promote your business to potential customers precisely when they’re ready to buy products or services like yours is Bing Places.
What is Bing Places and Who is it For?
Bing Places is a free online listing service owned by Microsoft and linked to the Bing search engine. It’s like a sophisticated modern-day phone book that’s actually used by millions of people to find businesses.
Bing Places isn’t ideal for every business and they make it clear on their homepage that they serve three types of businesses: (1) a local or small business with a storefront, (2) a chain business with multiple physical locations, and (3) a business providing services at customer locations.
Thus, if you’re an online-only business, you likely won’t get as much value from it as a business with a physical presence will. But if you’re a local, small, or chain business that serves people offline, Bing Places is a great way to promote your business.
Why Bing Places Should be Part of Your Promotion Strategy
Five things make Bing Places stand out as a great way to list your business:
- Cost. A Bing Places listing is free to set up.
- Setup. It’s a simple, one-time setup. Once you set your business up in Bing Places once, Bing Places does the rest of the work for you. From start to finish, it takes less than 30 minutes to set up and verify your business ownership, so nobody (including competitors) can make unauthorized updates to your listing. You can update your listing at any time if something changes about your business, but it’s otherwise a true “set it and forget it” system.
- Reach. Once your business is listed, Bing Places helps you become more visible to online customers who use the Bing search engine. Millions of people search Bing every day. It’s owned by Microsoft and is the default search engine on millions of computers. That means your business can be featured in Bing and Bing Maps results, including popular local search results, when people search for businesses like yours without requiring you to do anything more.
- Social Proof. When Bing Places showcases your business to online customers, it includes your business’s Yelp! reviews, business hours, and contact information, so customers know when you’re open, how to get in touch with you if they have more questions, and how well you serve your customers. The more satisfied customers you have leaving Yelp! reviews, the more likely people are to chose your business from your competitors, so serve your customers well and their great reviews will help you attract even more customers.
- Analytics. Although you can get a lot of benefits from the one-time, “set it and forget it” system, if you want to go deeper, Bing Places gives you free access to back-end information that tells you how your business listing is performing compared to your competitors and even gives you advice on how to improve your website.
Collectively, this gives you a unique opportunity to connect with potential customers the moment they’re searching for businesses like yours, without having to continuously spend time or money.
Here’s how to set up and optimize your Bing Places listing
These step-by-step instructions on setting up and optimizing your Bing Places listing will get you up and running in no time.
Step 1: Add or Claim Your Listing
Head over to the Bing Places homepage. Right in the middle, you should see a big “Get Started” button. It looks like this.
Clicking that button will bring you to this page, where you can search to see whether Bing already has a listing for your business.
To search for your business, you need to submit a combination of country/region and your business phone number or your business name and location. Once you enter that information, just click “search.”
If a listing already exists for your business, you’ll see it on the next page with an option to claim it. You’ll also see a “create new business” button, giving you the option to create a new listing if you don’t see yours. In my example, a listing already exists for this restaurant, which you can see below, so we’ll click “Claim Business.”
Step 2: Complete Your Business Profile Listing
Once you add or claim your listing, Bing Places will automatically walk you through adding accurate information for your business. You’ll need a Microsoft account to associate with your listing at this point, so you’ll be asked to log in or create a new account. You can create a new one for free at https://signup.live.com/signup.
After logging in, the site walks you through a simple process where you enter your business name, address, contact information, hours of operation (if applicable), social media accounts, and web address. If you don’t have a storefront but have an agency or business that serves people in person, there’s an option to check a box that says “Do not display address lines in search results.” If you do have an address, however, be sure that box isn’t checked, so people know where to find you.
You can also add up to ten images here to help your listing stand out. For our example, we added just one, but before it goes live, we’d take great new pictures to utilize all ten spots. I suggest adding some great images of your business and products, your logo, award badges, and even pictures of happy customers with your products if they’re willing to let you do it.
Finally, you can add categories for your business to let Bing know what type of business you run. Enter as many categories as apply to your business here. For example, if you run a fast-food restaurant that serves coffee, breakfast, and sandwiches, like our example does, you might select coffee shop, breakfast restaurant, sandwiches, take away, fast-food restaurant, American restaurants, and burgers. After selecting your categories, you need to select a “primary category.” In our example, we used “fast food restaurant.”
The more complete your listing, the more Bing will want to push you up the search results, so fill in as much information as you can. Make sure the information that appears is accurate and complete, including your hours of operation, contact information, and website. Also, upload quality pictures to help your business stand out from others. It only takes a few extra seconds to do so, but help your listing get noticed.
Step 2: Verify Your Listing
After you add or claim your listing, you’ll need to verify your listing by entering a PIN that Bing will send to you by e-mail, phone call, text message, or snail mail. To help avoid people claiming businesses that aren’t theirs, Bing will only allow people to verify their business from a source that Bing can independently verify belongs to your business. That means if you add or change a phone number or email address, Bing will limit you to verifying by snail mail. That’s what happened in our example.
We updated all of the contact information but the physical address, so Bing limited us to receiving and entering a pin by snail mail, which takes 3-5 business days.
If you can verify by phone and choose that option, make sure you’re near the phone because it’ll call you right away. Email or phone is the simplest and quickest way to get your pin. If not, snail mail might be your only choice.
However you get your pin, you can verify your listing on your Bing Places dashboard.
Step 4: Manage Your Listing (or Listings)
After verifying your listing, you’re all set. Bing will let you know when they expect your listing to be live, but after that, there’s nothing more you need to do in order to be seen by potential customers.
Set a reminder to check in to confirm the listing is correct and save the link to your Bing Places dashboard so you can fix anything that needs to be changed. After doing so, you’ll be ready to start reaping the benefits when people search for businesses like yours.
Be sure to update your Bing Places listing if things change, so it has the most current and complete information at all times.
Get Ready to Grow!
Bing Places is one of the best places on the internet to list your business for free. Millions of people visit Bing every day searching for businesses just like yours and having Bing Places working on your behalf can make the difference between finding your next lifelong customer or seeing them become loyal to another business. I highly recommend that you take a few minutes to set up a Bing Places listing for your business today.
Hi I’m Jaime. Each and every week I bring you the top business advice from the people who know best.Learn More