Category Archives: Local Business Insight

Forbes on Local SEO – Local Business Directory Listings Are Important

121856-1OpP0Q1395155684When it comes to business topics, few publications carry more credibility than Forbes magazine, one of the most-read sources for news about financial, investment and marketing advice. So when the Forbes Business Council – a group of acknowledged leaders in those fields – offered 15 tips on improving local SEO, it wasn’t the least bit surprising that a clear one-third of those tips referred directly to local business directory listings – and several others referenced elements that relate to local business directories.

Why Managing Local Business Directory Listings Is Important to Local Business Marketing

As might be expected from a major publication, a great deal of the advice offered by the Forbes experts was aimed at making your business more visible in the search engine results. The simple fact is that when people look for just about any type of service or product these days, the first thing they do is Google it, or search for it on one of the other major search engines. Anything you can do that helps search engines understand the services you offer and geographical markets you serve is guaranteed to improve your visibility in the search engine rankings.

A Good Local Business Directory Is More Than Local SEO

But there’s more to local business marketing than getting your business to appear in the featured listings when someone does a Google search for the services or products you provide. The other side of the equation is making sure your business ads appear where your customers are already likely to be reading. While many businesses take out ads on local websites – and that’s also an important part of good local online marketing, it’s also very valuable to take advantage of the free business listings offered by larger online local business directory websites like FindUsLocal.com.

Unlike sites that purely cater to businesses, Find Us Local has positioned itself as a valuable resource for your customers. In addition to a comprehensive database of local businesses, sites like Find Us Local focus on being useful to local residents and consumers. The front page of the business directory functions more like an all-in-one-place for your local customers to find out what’s happening in their city, town or neighborhood. There’s a round-up of local news stories, local weather, and upcoming events that are specific to their geographic location. Elements like these are “glue” – they make a website “sticky” by offering features that bring people back over and over again.

When you run a business that relies on customers who live within a few miles of you, this is the kind of website where you want your business to appear prominently. You want people to see your business name frequently so that it becomes familiar, so that it’s the first name that comes to mind when they need someone who provides your services. Not only will a business listing on a local business directory help search engines find your business, it will help your customers find you when they need you.

So About Those Local SEO Tips…

The tips offered by the Forbes business experts break down into a couple of different categories – ways to improve your local business listing, and ways to improve your position in the local search engine results, so let’s take a look at those two elements separately.

Tips for Getting Found on Google (and Other Search Engines)

Good local search engine optimization is a combination of both on-page elements – things you can do on your own website – and off-page elements – things on other websites that help search engines learn more about your business and services. The first is completely under your control. No one but you (or the person/company that manages your website) can make changes to what appears on your website. These five things are all things to do when you’re creating or updating your business website.

  1. Put Your Location in Your Page Titles

When people see your business in a Google search, the page title is in big print at the top of the result. It should reference both your services and your geographical location. You want them to see something like Dr. Ada Greene – Pediatric Dentist in Albany. A page title like that tells both your potential new patients and the search engines what you do and where you do it.

  1. Put Your Address On EVERY Page

Take a little space at the top or bottom of every page on your website to list your business address and contact details. If you’re building it yourself using a template, look for the “header” or “footer” section. Those are pieces that will appear at the top or bottom of every single page when people visit your website.

 

  1. Add a Find Us Page to Your Website

Or include written directions and/or a Google map on your contact page. Again, this is a clear signal to search engines that your business is located in a specific geographical area. More importantly, it helps your customers find your office, store or restaurant.

 

  1. Take Advantage of Tags with Your Location and Business

There are lots of places on your website where you can insert your city, neighborhood or region. Every photo or graphic on your website, for example, can have tags that tell search engines what the picture is about. In the “alt text” tag, for example, you can write “photo of Sweet Bakery, Las Cruces.” You can use the “Description” tag for every page on your website the same way.

 

  1. Add Local Keywords to Your Page Content

When writing directions to your store, refer to local landmarks – “across the street from Crompton Field” helps your potential customers find you, and serves as another local reference to help search engines associate your business more strongly with your city or town.

You don’t have as much control over what appears about your business on websites controlled by others, but there are lots of ways to influence those references – and get lots of quality, incoming links. Unsurprisingly, many of these tips are more about being a part of your local community than they are specifically about online marketing. These are five ways to improve offsite local SEO.

  1. Get Coverage in Local Media

When your business appears on the websites of your local newspapers, blogs and other media, your reputation with search engines gets a big boost. That doesn’t mean paying for ads – it means doing things that local reporters and bloggers want to write about. Don’t just count on them noticing that you sponsor the cheerleaders at the local high school, though. Give local reporters a heads-up when those cheerleaders appear at a local event, for example, and suggest they might want to cover it.

 

  1. Do Things in Your Community

Give a talk at the Chamber of Commerce or other local business organization’s meeting. Organize local businesses to do a Community Giveback Day. Sponsor a contest for local vendors, or get involved in one. Those things boost your profile locally, and can be lots of fun for you and your employees. The additional payoff – high profile incoming links that connect to your business website.

 

  1. Cultivate Relationships with Local Media

Get to know local reporters and columnists and drop them a line when your business is doing something in the community. You want to be in their contact lists so that when they need a comment on something for a story – say, a feature article about holiday shopping or about neighborhood revitalization – they’ll pick up the phone and call you.

 

  1. Join the Local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club or Other Business Organization

Many local business organizations maintain local business directories for members. You absolutely want to be listed there.

 

  1. Encourage Your Customers to Review Your Business Online

Customer reviews are huge factors in both your business’ reputation and its visibility online. Keep in mind that people are more likely to complain than compliment – it’s just human nature – but you can offset that by specifically ASKING satisfied customers to rate your business on review sites. Those reviews are local SEO gold. Not only will they provide a link back to your business, you can feature the best of them in your local business directory listings and on your website.

Best Local Business Directory Listing Practices

Google relies on “citations” to help it place local businesses in a geographic area. Among the best citations are local business directory listings. Taking control of your local business profiles doesn’t take much time or effort, and the results are better visibility for your business and more customers coming through your door. These five tips will help you make the most of local business directory listings.

  1. Claim Your Google My Business Profile

Your Google My Business profile is what shows up when someone in your area searches for someone local that provides a service they need. It’s to your benefit to claim that profile and make it attractive. You’ll need to provide a street address for your profile to set up a listing. Once you do, you can list it in a category, add contact information, business hours and photos that show your business at its best.

 

  1. List Your Business at Multiple Business Listings

Claim your business profile on all the major local business directories and on review sites. Make sure you pay attention to industry-specific catalogs – contractors, professional directories, etc. Every local business directory listing is a mini-landing page where customers can find and learn about your business.

 

  1. Make Sure Information Is Accurate

Inaccurate information can make your business less credible. Check your business listings on the most visible online business directories and review sites and make sure that the address, contact information and business details are consistent across all of them.

 

  1. Beyond Local Business Directory Lisitings

When you Google your business, you’ll often see local business listings on websites you don’t know or haven’t listed yourself on. Those local business directories get their information from a variety of data providers, such as Infogroup and Acxiom. Claim your business with those data providers, and make sure that your contact information and business details are accurate and up to date.

 

  1. Respond to Your Business Reviews

One of the most important things you can do on an ongoing basis is to check the reviews left for your business and respond to them. When you respond to reviews left on your business profiles, you’re letting potential customers know that you are involved and that you care enough.

4 Practical and Easy Techniques to Make Your Local Business Directory Listing More Engaging for Customers

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAgUAAAAJDExNmRhN2I4LWU2NDItNDU1YS05Yzk0LWQ1MDAxMjE0ZDg3ZgMarketing a local business online isn’t as complicated as most business owners believe. In fact, contrary to what many so-called local SEO gurus want you to believe, most of the “rules” for bringing in customers using the Internet are pretty common sense. If that’s the case, why do so many people think it’s so complicated that businesses have to pay experts to do things like create local business directory listings and manage their online presence?

If you own a local business with a website, chances are you’ve been spammed with promises to get your business listed in “hundreds of local business directories” and help you “manage your business profiles” online. In many cases, those companies use strategies that aren’t particularly helpful – and may actually hurt your business’ online reputation. Paying someone to make sure your business is included in hundreds of business directories won’t necessarily hurt your business – but it probably won’t help much. Google tech executives have indicated that LOTS of listings on random business directories aren’t as effective as a handful of well-crafted listings on well-managed local business directories like FindUsLocal.com.

In other words, the key to good local SEO is quality over quantity. In addition, the best practices for creating a good local business directory listing look surprisingly like the best practices for good customer engagement. These six tips for creating a high quality local business directory listing – and using it effectively – are practical and easy to do.

Double Check Your Listing for Accuracy

You don’t have to be a top-notch copy writer to make your business look good in a business listing, but you do have to be accurate. Double check your listing to make sure that your contact information is correct, and that there are no misspellings or typos. No one expects you to write like an English major, but they do expect you to know how to spell the name of your own business. Spelling mistakes and typos make your business look sloppy and unprofessional – and a typo in your telephone number makes it far more difficult for your potential customers to contact you.

Add Photos If You Can

Dating website owners famously tell their registered users that “profiles with pictures get more clicks.” The same is true for businesses that add photos to their local business directory listings. A picture may not be worth a thousand words, but good pictures will definitely attract the attention of potential customers. Tailor the photos you choose to the type of business you run. Use your business logo to help cement your brand image and help your customers find your business quickly and easily among all the listings. Add photos of the outside of your building, especially if it’s a locally recognizable venue. Restaurants might feature photos of their best-selling menu items. Shops could include interior photos showing product displays. Professionals such as lawyers, accountants and real estate agents – businesses that rely on client trust – could include a head shot, or an “action shot” of the business owner doing what they do best.

Provide Customer Reviews and Testimonials

Business reviews and testimonials are marketing gold. Satisfied customers are still the very best advertising for any business, and that’s truer than ever these days. These days, potential customers typically check online reviews before they buy just about anything. Local business directory sites like FindUsLocal.com often give business owners a place in their listing pages to show off testimonials and business reviews, so take full advantage of it. It’s no different than framing that great newspaper article about your place and hanging it on your wall.

Speaking of online reviews, do claim your business listing at major review sites for your industry and encourage your customers to post reviews on them. Use those reviews to gauge what your business is doing well and where it might be missing the mark. Just as importantly, take advantage of the opportunity to engage with your customers. Thank them for positive reviews, tell them how nice it was to serve them, and if you find a negative review, ask the customer to contact you so you can address their concerns.

Write a Good Business Description

The business description you write will often appear as the snippet of information that’s included in search results, so make it a good one. Keep the length in mind – in most cases, you’ll only have a short sentence or two to convince people you’re the best choice for their needs. Think of it as your elevator pitch, or your Unique Selling Proposition – short, sweet, and to the point.

A good local business directory listing does double duty when it comes to raising your business profile online. When you take the time to craft an engaging business listing, your business will benefit both from being more visible on that particular local business directory – it will also be far more likely to show up and attract attention when people search for your business on Google or other search engines.

Local Business Directory Reviews: How to Get and Use Them to Your Benefit

customer-reviews-2By now, you’ve probably read about all the benefits of creating a local business listing on one of the popular local business directories. These directories have taken the internet by storm as more and more consumers flock to them to find US local businesses. The reason they’ve become so popular in the past few years is because people got tired of looking for local businesses on the large search engines because frankly, they’re designed to give people national results.

So local business directories were born and savvy local business owners have had to rethink they way they bring in new business by using them.

Online Reviews are an Important Aspect of Local Business Listings

After you’ve created your local business listing on a directory like FindUsLocal.com, it’s time to put it to work for your local shop, service business, or restaurant. And one of the smartest ways to do that is to ensure you have at least ten online reviews for your business.

Today’s consumers demand social proof when looking for local businesses and online reviews are important to them. In fact, one recent study shows that people trust online reviews just as much as they do a personal recommendation from a friend or family member.

But many local business owners have questions about how to get online reviews—and then how to use them to attract new business. So we’ve put together this brief guide to help you with this important aspect of your local business marketing.

How to Get Online Reviews

Many local business owners become overwhelmed when they realize just how important online reviews are because they think they’re so difficult to get. But the truth is, another recent study shows that a full 74 percent of those people surveyed say they are open to leaving online reviews if they’re asked. In other words, if you make it a practice to ask your customers to leave a review for your business on the local business directory, they will do it. It’s just a matter of incorporating the practice into your everyday business.

Respond to Online Reviews

Whether you get raving reviews or ones that are a little less enthusiastic, it’s important for your customers to know that they’ve been listened to. By leaving a simple thank you when someone leaves you a great review, or opening an honest dialogue with those who leave less than favorable ones, you can open up the lines of communication with your customers. And quality local business directories like FindUsLocal.com make it easy with their new comments section. This allows you to leave comments directed toward your customers and community.

When You Get a Bad Review

Bad reviews happen, but the way you respond them will make all the difference in how they affect your local business. Don’t become defensive or arrogant in your response, but instead, listen to what the customer is saying and think about how you can improve your business so another customer won’t have the same experience. Thank the reviewer for their honest opinion, and then tell them how their review helped you implement some changes in the business. Other people will see your response and know that you are a local business owner who cares about the experiences of your customers.

Local business directories are changing the way local businesses operate and local reviews are an important part of that. Follow the above tips and learn how to use online reviews in your local business listings. Pretty soon, you’ll have a line out the door of people who found your business and were convinced to come because of all the great online reviews.

How to Brush Up Your Local Business Directory Listing

localmarketingListing your business in an online local business directory is an important part of any promotional strategy. These days, few businesses can flourish with just traditional marketing strategies. Ads in the local newspaper or local radio stations are still useful, but they contribute less and less value to the typical business bottom line. If you’re trying to reach new customers, online business promotion is vital. A listing in a good online local business directory can help you reach more potential customers and bring them through your door.

That said, some local business directories are better than others. While it’s helpful to at least list your business on as many directories as you can, the listings that will bring you the best results are the ones on a local business directory like FindUsLocal.com, which focuses on providing an engaging, totally local experience for the customers that are most important to you – those that live close enough to walk through your door. These 10 tips can help you create an engaging, compelling online business listing. Depending on the business directory site you’re working with, some of them might not apply. The more of these tips you can put into practice, though, the better your results will be.

Find Your Business Listings

Your first step is to find free local business directories where your business might already be listed. Many of these free local directories populate their database with business information taken from publicly available information, which means there’s always a chance that the information listed is out-of-date or incomplete. They invite business owners to “claim” their listing, a way of encouraging businesses to register with them. The signup process is usually quite simple, and well worth the little time and effort it takes. Claiming your business listing gives you access to make changes and updates to what is shown on the page.

Correct and Update Your Business Information

Customers may stumble upon your business listing in many different online directories, so you want to make sure that the information they find is accurate. When they – or a search engine – find conflicting or inaccurate information – they reasonably wonder about your business’ credibility. Make sure that the address, telephone number and hours of operation are correct, and if the site allows it, add a link to your business website and/or your business Facebook page.

List Yourself in Multiple Applicable Categories

Make it easier for your potential customers to find you by making sure your business is listed in every category that applies to what you do. The dentist office we mentioned above would obviously list their business under “Dentists,” but they should also list themselves under any specialty service – Pediatric Dentist, Family Dentist, Cosmetic Dentist, and so on. Whatever your business is, chances are that it fits under multiple categories.

 Make Sure You’re Listed in All Areas You Cover

If you do business with surrounding towns or cities, be sure that you add those areas to your local business profile. It will help customers who are only searching within their own town to find you.

Use Your Profile on the Best Online Local Business Directory Sites to Boost Your Business

Toot your own horn! If the directory allows you to write a small business blurb as a heading for your listing, use it to shamelessly promote your services. Did a local newspaper award you a Best Of prize? Make sure you mention it. At the very least, include your business tag line so that potential customers know what sets you apart from the others.

Upload a Business Picture

If it’s an option, add a picture – or more than one – to your business listing. It can be a photo of your location, or a professional head shot of yourself, or an attractive photo of some of your best-selling products.

Add Positive Reviews in the Comments

If there’s a space for testimonials or positive reviews from past customers, get them up there. Most potential customers will read reviews and recommendations from friends and neighbors before they make a decision on using a particular business. Make it easier for them by posting any testimonials and reviews you have. The easiest way to get those recommendations is to ask satisfied customers if they’d be willing to write a quick note about their experience working with you.

 Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews

If the local business directory allows customers to leave reviews for business, it’s even easier to get those recommendations. Send happy customers to your local directory listing to rate and review your services. You can add a link to your listing on your Facebook business page or website to make it even easier.

Go Through Any Reviews and Respond to Them

Make this a regular part of your business promotion routine. Check your profile regularly – or sign up for notifications if the option is available – so that you can thank customers for positive reviews or address any problems in a timely manner.

A Note About Bad Reviews

A bad review is not the end of the world! While some advisers recommend removing bad reviews from your local business listings, that wisdom is changing. In fact, a few not-so-great reviews make your business profile look more honest. Interestingly, what one customer finds “bad” could be exactly what another customer is looking for. Even more importantly, when potential customers see you responding to unhappy customers and offering to make things right, their impressions of the business and owner tend to get better. So – unless a review is a total hit piece – resist the temptation to remove it, and instead, address it publicly, even if all you say is, “Please call us so that we can resolve that issue.”

While it may seem like a chore to update and spruce up your local business directory listings, it really takes much less time than you’d expect – and the benefits are worth every minute you spend on them.

Local Business Directory: How to Get the Most Out of Your Local Online Business Listing

kbux_local_business_directory_quartzsite_2.pngNot so long ago, when you needed a plumber or a hairdresser or a great place for chicken cacciatore, you asked your friends for a recommendation. If that didn’t work, you picked up the phone book and checked the Yellow Pages, or you checked the classifieds and the ads in the local newspaper. If you were lucky, you might even find a coupon that you could cut out and bring in to get a discount on the “best cacciatore in the city.”

Times have changed. Many homes don’t even have a phone book – or even a home telephone. Newspaper subscriptions – especially for local newspapers – are at an all-time low, and your friends? They’re leaving their recommendations for their favorite just-about-anything on review sites, Facebook and their favorite local business directory. If your business doesn’t have a vibrant and active online presence these days, you’re missing out on the best customer referral strategies ever created.

But before you jump in and start marketing your business online – or if you’ve tried to do that with little success, there’s a few things you should know.

All Online Local Marketing Methods Are Not Created Equal

Many business owners start from the premise of creating their own website. It’s a good start, but as many learned, simply creating a website for your business isn’t enough. This was especially true in the earliest days when small local businesses were competing head-to-head with national corporations that had money to burn on advertising and gaming Google. If your customers searched for “pizza delivery,” for example, Google would point them to the ubiquitous national pizza chains. If the little brick oven pizzeria on the corner showed up at all, it would be on the second or third page of the search engine listings, where most local customers would never find them.

To be fair, Google, and by extension other major search engines, have come a long way in helping people find businesses that are geographically close to them. That’s only half the battle, though. If one of those national chains has a franchise in your area – and odds are that they do – their listings will still come up ahead of yours unless you do a bit of work to make sure your business gets found.

The Beauty of a Local Business Directory

Enter the local business directory. Local business directories are designed to highlight small businesses operating in a particular city or town. Some are little more than a database of businesses with basic information, sorted by type of business. Others, like FindUsLocal.com, are far more elaborate and offer more value for the time you invest in claiming and refining your listing, such as reviews, news and community connections. There’s more to your business listing than just the on-site benefits, though.

When you make sure your business is listed in as many local small business directories as possible, you’re really leveraging a lot more than just the power of the business directory.

Five Benefits of Using an Online Local Business Directory as Part of Your Marketing Strategy

  1. You’ll be putting your business in front of the people who are most likely to patronize your business. If you’re making pizzas, you’ll find most of your customers within 5 miles of your business location. It only makes sense to use geographical targeting to get your name out to those folks.
  2. You can use your local business listing to funnel traffic to your business website and social media pages, where folks can learn more about your services or make purchases.
  3. Every business listing in a local business directory serves as a “citation” – a signal that helps search engines like Google figure out where your store is located. That way, even people who use Google to find great local businesses will be more likely to find your business.
  4. A good local business directory can serve as a central location where folks in your neighborhood can read the reviews from many different online review sites in one place.
  5. Being listed in a business directory that allows nearby neighbors to search by service or industry is like having a dedicated niche on a community bulletin board.

A Basic Local Business Directory Strategy

The best online promotion strategy for local businesses includes making sure you claim your business profile on as many local directories as you can find – but that doesn’t mean you should put the same amount of effort into each listing. This section is about taking the simplest, most basic steps to elevate your online business profile using local business directories. In the next section, you’ll find more advanced, specialized strategies that you should use on business directories that offer you more options.

  1. Search for your business name and city on Google or another search engine. You’ll see your business listed on many websites you’ve never heard of. Most of these are online business directories that compile basic listings from public resources.
  2. Visit your listing on each business directory. There will be a link asking if this is your business or inviting you to claim your listing. It’s always to your benefit to do that.
  3. Check that the information listed is correct and complete.
  4. If there are errors or missing information, correct or supply it. The more citations Google finds with the same information, the more credibility they’ll give your business when people do searches. The more credibility Google gives you, the more likely it is that your business will come up high in the search engine listings when people search for your services.
  5. Visit the home page of the local business directory to evaluate the quality of each. Make sure that you have geolocation services turned on in your browser so you’ll see exactly what others in your area see when they visit the site. (Hint: websites that use geo-location services will usually ask if you want to share your location with the website. Clicking “yes” will show you information that’s most relevant to your city, town or neighborhood.)

Leverage Your Local Listing with the Best Local Business Directory

Once you’ve narrowed down your target business directories to one or two, you can work on a more targeted local online visibility strategy for your business. These tips and hints will help you make the most of your local directory listings.

  • You’ll get the best results from local business directories that offer up-to-date features. FindUsLocal.com, for example, uses geo-location services to show you information that’s targeted for your immediate area. This is a huge benefit for your customers who don’t have to wade through listings of businesses that our outside their service area – and that makes it easier for them to find you.
  • Does the front page of the business directory you’re looking at offer news and other features that draw people to the site? While most local business directories keep their focus on letting people search for businesses, the most popular ones serve up features that bring visitors back to the site again and again. With community newspapers going out of business or focusing on national and international news, these local directory sites take up the slack by showing news stories that are most relevant to the town in which you’re located. The more often they visit, the more likely they are to see your local listing. If you choose to pay for a premium listing (usually at very reasonable rates), they’ll see your listing featured over and over again.
  • Any small local news site will tell you that event listings and calendars are among their most popular features. Some directories, like Find Us Local, prominently feature upcoming events on their auto-personalized front page. They include concerts, sports events, theater and other events happening soon, and even provide links to ticket-buying services for the convenience of their site users.
  • A business directory that allows people to leave reviews offers even more value for your business. People like to shop and dine at businesses that their friends like. Good reviews will bring more people to your business than any amount of advertising. While you’re at it, make sure the local directory site allows you to comment on any reviews left by customers. Those reviews offer you a chance to thank customers for patronizing your business and reach out to those whose experiences were less positive. People will actually have more faith in a business that responds publicly to a review with negative points than in those with only stellar reviews.

 

Pulling It All Together – Three Take-Away Points on Using a Local Business Directory Strategy

  1. Find and standardize your business listing on as many online local business directories as possible. They only take a few minutes each if you stick to the most important information: business name, address, hours and contact information.
  2. Wherever possible, make sure your website address – including your Facebook page or Twitter account if you use them for promoting your business – are listed and accurate.
  3. When you find a local business directory like Find Us Local, take advantage of everything they offer to boost your business profile among the people most likely to patronize you. Because Find Us Local goes out of its way to keep local readers coming back for more, they provide your business with the best opportunity to be seen by the customers that are most important to your business.

5 Unorthodox Ways Local Business Owners can Help Hurricane Victims

US-WEATHER-STORM-HARVEYThe devastating results we saw from hurricane Harvey made us all sit up and take notice, and now that hurricane Irma is pounding Florida and 2 other storms are forming in the Atlanta, local business owners are wondering what they can do to help their local communities. And that’s a good thing because oftentimes, local shops and restaurants can provide much needed services to people in need. For example, in after hurricane Harvey hit Port Aransas, Texas, a local eatery named “Eats” stepped up and offered free meals to all the local residents and volunteers in the area 3 times a day. People, who were weary with the clean up, came to the local restaurant to eat and mingle with other locals in the same predicament. And according to those locals, they will frequent the restaurant in good times because of the service it offered them in bad times.

If you own a local business, now is a great time to show your community that you care. Here are 5 ways you can do just that.

Make Donations to Your Local Community

When disaster strikes, people have needs that typically can’t be met in a timely fashion by local authorities. For example, after a hurricane, moms need diapers, people need hot food when there is no power, and families need financial donations to rebuild their houses. And as a local business owner, you can take part in these essential services. Whether you donate goods, money, or set up hot food lines like the restaurant did in Port Aransas, you will not only help your local community in its time of need, but you’ll show your business as a part of the community that truly cares about its residents.

Make Sure People can Find You

Even in the aftermath of hurricanes like Harvey, there was limited cell phone service and people relied on it to find US local businesses they could buy supplies from or eat at. That’s why it’s so important that your business is easily found on a local business directory like FindUsLocal.com. By creating your local business listing, people in need will be able to find your local business with the click of a button.

Take Care of Your Employees

It’s important to remember that your employees are a part of the local community, and they have needs, too. If it’s possible to keep them on the payroll until you are able to open your doors again, then do it. If it’s not financially possible, help them through the process of applying for state disaster unemployment assistance so they don’t suffer more than is necessary. And be sure to allow them plenty of time to clean up their houses or tend to the many tasks involved in rebuilding.

Offer What You Have

People will be so desperate for even the most basic things in life that whatever you can offer will be appreciated by your local community. For example, if you are one of the lucky ones who still have power after the hurricane, you can offer a safe place for residents to charge their cell phones or plug in their laptops to check emails or disaster assistance communications. If you have foam plates or cups, hand them out to people who need them. No matter what kind of local business you operate, you surely have something people need or can offer services to the people in your area.

Get Out and Help

One of the biggest needs people have after a disaster like Hurricane Harvey or Irma is a need for physical help. If you strong—or have employees who are—you can get out into the community and look for ways to help. People will need help moving trees out of their yards, moving ruined appliances and furniture out of the house, and many other things that the elderly or single women can’t handle on their own. And even if you’re not strong, you can help mop up the muck or go through people belongings looking for salvageable items.

Local business owners can play an important part in the aftermath of a disaster like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Just be sure you can be found on local business directories like FindUsLocal.com so people can get what they need, donate basic necessity items to the community, get out and physically help where you can, and be sure that your employees are taken care of.

If you haven’t already created your local business listing on a local business directory, why not head over to FindUsLocal.com now and do it? Who knows, the victims of a hurricane could be desperate to find US local businesses like yours this very minute.

How to Help Your Community Recover from Hurricane Harvey

ab536046b6444014a633e280a994b0cf_t1070_h833d6d541269956fdc46a71c214be7b274e69d1fIf you’re a local business owner, you are probably a big part of the community. Chances are, you participate in local charity events, fundraisers and provide products or services at county fair auctions and more. But when a natural disaster like Hurricane Harvey hits, most local business owners step up and do all they can to make things easier on the local community.

Is your shop, restaurant, or service business located in the areas of Texas that have been hit by Hurricane Harvey? If so, there are some things you can do as a local business owner that will help ease the frustration and fears of your local community. Here are some things you can do today.

Make Yourself Known to the Locals

The people in your community are probably aware of the local businesses they typically use, but may not know about your business. And because most communications will be down for several days, you’ll  need to make it easy for them to find you. Most cell phones still work in the disaster areas, so ensure that they can find you by creating a local business listing on local business directories like FindUsLocal.com. It only takes a minute and your business may be able to provide someone with exactly what they need to go forward in their life.

Let Them Know How You can Help

Times like this aren’t for advertising to bring in more sales, but you’ll still need to get your name in front of the locals to make it easier on them. For example, if you own a local convenience store, make sure your customers know that you have plenty of bottled water in stock. On the other hand, if you own a restaurant, be sure to announce when you’re open for business because people will not be able to cook in their own homes until the power comes back on. And if you run the local hardware shop, be sure to let them know that you have the supplies they’ll need to secure their homes. Whatever type of local business you run, be sure to pinpoint the services or products you can provide to the community in a way that doesn’t make you sound like you’re trying to sell them something.

One way to do this is to use your social media platforms. You can tweet out your announcements and the people who follow you will read them and may pass them along. Another great tool is Find Us Local’s comment’s section. This handy feature on the local business directory allows business owners to announce sales and product information in an easy to use format. For instance, you could announce the arrival of bottled water, or let the community know that you’re handing out free breakfast tacos the day after the hurricane hit. And even better is that consumers can use the comments section to make announcements of their own. They may talk about things related to Hurricane Harvey, or they may let other people know the good things about your business.

Hurricane Harvey brought a lot of misery and uncertainty into a lot of people’s lives, and as a local business owner, you should do all you can to alleviate as many of their hurdles as you can. That may mean giving them a free breakfast taco, having enough bottled water to get them through the day, or having just the right roof nails in stock. But in order to help, the people in your community need to know about your store, service business, or restaurant. Go right now to FindUsLocal.com and take a few minutes to create your local business listing so the people in your community can find you.

Local Business Directories: A Primer for Local Business Owners

imagesOwning a local business these days is a lot different than it was a mere ten years ago. Back then, as long as you had a good ad in the local phone book, ran a few ads in the community newspaper, and sent out mailings to attract new business with coupons you were golden. It’s been that way for decades, but then the internet came along and changed everything. And those local business owners who haven’t kept up with the times are feeling the pain when it comes to sales.

In fact, the number of local store closings this year alone is more than they were in the Great Recession. And analysts aren’t optimistic about the future of local businesses because online retailers like Amazon continue to expand, leaving local business owners in the dark.

But there is a group of local business owners who have changed with the times and their stores are thriving. Let’s talk about what they’ve done to gain that momentum and keep the customers coming to their shops.

Successful Local Shops Can Be Seen Online

When is the last time you heard of someone opening the phone book to find US local businesses? Or how long has it been since you’ve received a little blue envelope full of coupons to the local shops and restaurants in your area? These advertising methods of yesterday are all but nonexistent and have been replaced with online advertising. But that can be a problem for local businesses that have no online presence.

You see, when today’s consumers want to find US local restaurants or shops, they look online for the information, and if your shop can’t be found there, you’ll miss out on all that business. Until recently, people used the major search engines to find US local businesses, but it quickly became too much of a hassle to sift through all the irrelevant results like articles and websites of national chains or online stores. And that’s why local business directories were invented.

Local business directories act just like the large search engines except they only give consumers the exact results they’re looking for. For example, if someone were looking for a computer shop in San Francisco, California on a major search engine, they would see all kinds of articles about computers and the link to big box stores or online computer shops, but it would be difficult for them to find US local computer shops. On the other hand, if they were to conduct the same search on a local business directory, they would only see computer shops located in the San Francisco area in the results.

Do you see why consumers are using local business directories more and more?

Can Your Business be Found on a Local Business Directory?

And here is where the rubber meets the road. Since consumers across the nation are turning to local business directories to find US local businesses, it’s imperative that your business be found there. If it’s not, those potential customers will find your competitors and buy from them instead. Luckily, it’s easy to claim our local business listing—just log onto FindUsLocal.com, search for your business, and then claim the listing. But there are some tricks you should know before doing so to ensure that your local listing stands out and gets the attention of the people who are looking for a local business just like yours. Here are the best ways to ensure that happens.

Don’t Just Choose Any Local Business Directory

Not all local business directories are the same, and in you should take the time to find the one that will give you the best results. After all, if you’re going to take the time to create your local business listing, doesn’t it make sense to put it on a local directory that has enough traffic? FindUsLocal.com is one of the best directories out there, and here are a few reasons why.

  • It’s Convenient. Some local business directories make it difficult for consumers to find US local businesses because they have to jump through so many hoops to see the results. But FindUsLocal.com uses cutting edge technology to automatically match the results visitors see with their location. In other words, when they log onto the local business directory, they will see a customized home page that is built around their immediate location. And when they search, they will only see the local results from that area.
  • Local News. Local news can be hard to come by these days because so much attention is focused on national and global news, but local business directories like FindUsLocal.com make it easy. On visitor’s home page, they will see all the local news from their area in a running steam.
  • Local Events. Instead of having to call the local civic centers, auditoriums and sports stadiums, visitors can simply browse through all of the upcoming local events on the FindUsLocal home page. It showcases all of the upcoming concerts, plays and sporting events, and just to make things easier for visitors, it also includes links so they can purchase tickets to the events easier.
  • Online Reviews. Most experts agree that local businesses can’t thrive unless they have some good online reviews from the locals in their city or town. But that can be a problem for many local shops because they don’t have an online place for customers to leave those reviews. But when you claim your local business listing on FindUsLocal.com, you’ll have one. There, customers can leave reviews for your business so that others from your community can read them before making a purchasing decision.
  • A Daily Dose of Inspiration or Humor. As an added benefit, FindUsLocal.com offers an inspirational quote and a humorous feature called the Name of the Day for people who like to have a little something extra to start off their day. These features will make them think, laugh, or just tuck away a little piece of knowledge to use another day.
  • Interaction. Finally, today’s consumers demand interaction from the local businesses they buy from, but that can be a challenge for local shop owners who don’t have thriving social media accounts. But FindUsLocal.com offers a way around that in its comments section. It allows both business owners and consumers to leave comments and that can easily turn into a two-way conversation about your business. For example, you can use the feature to announce a sale or a new products and consumers can ask questions about or tell others about the great deal they got. Keep in that FindUsLocal is the only local business directory to offer this amazing feature.

Pay Attention to the Details

Now that you know why FindUsLocal.com is the best local business directory for you, let’s talk about how to create your local listing. It’s important that you enter your NAP+W’s the same on every local directory that you list on because if you don’t, it could hurt you in the search engine results.

NAP+W’s stand for name, address, phone number, and website address, and while this may sound simple, there are some things you need to know.

For example, if the name of your store is Cups, Inc., you must decide whether or not to include the “Ink” in your business name, and then do it the same way on every local business directory you list on. The same is true for your business address. If it ends in Street, Drive, Parkway or any other clarifying word, you’ll need to determine whether or not to include it in the local business listings.

Have You Created Your Local Business Listing Yet?

If you haven’t already created your listing on a quality local business directory like FindUsLocal.com, what are you waiting for? There are thousands of local consumers looking for businesses like yours every day, and until they can find you online, you’re missing out on all of that business!

How Local Business Directories can Help People Find You in a Natural Disaster like Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane-Harvey-NOAA-Satellite-534x462Hurricane Harvey is all over the news as many Texas people have been evacuated from their homes because of the super storm. The hurricane made landfall as a category 4, which is the strongest storm to hit Texas in 57 years. Luckily, despite all the damage the storm did, the loss of life appears to be minimal as of this writing. But our thoughts are with those who lost loved ones, or have to face the daunting task of rebuilding.

But how will Hurricane Harvey affect local business owners and the people who seek out supplies, food, and products to rebuild their houses? After all, in some towns, the local businesses they’ve dealt with for years are gone and they’ll need to seek out new ones.

Local Business Directory Listings Will Help People Find You

For the past few years, more and more people have turned to local business directories to find US local businesses, and after a storm like Hurricane Harvey, things won’t be any different. Imagine that if someone needed to board up a busted out window caused by the storm and they drove to their local lumber yard only to find it had been demolished by the storm.  Unless they knew of another one, they would likely turn to a local business directory to find one. But in order to be found on local business directories, you need to be listed on them. And although the process of doing that is simple, it does require some specific knowledge to do it right. Here’s a rundown of how to get your business listed so those affected by Hurricane Harvey can find you.

Choose the Right Directory

There are hundreds of online business directories, but not all of them are as equally effective. In fact, there was a recently published list of the top 70 online local business directories and you should definitely select one from there. Local directories like FindUsLocal.com made the list for very specific reasons such as the fact that it uses GEO location technology to show visitors customized home pages that only display results from their immediate area.

Create Your Local Business Listing the Right Way

You can just slap up any local business listing and expect it to produce great results for your business. In fact, when you list your business, you’ll need to do it in a specific way to get the benefits they offer. For example, you’ll need to list your business name, address, phone number, and website address, known as NAP +W, exactly the same on every local directory you use. That means if you list your business name as ABC Lumber, Inc. on Bing, you’ll also need to use that exact name when you create your local business listing on FindUsLocal.com.

Be Active With Your Local Business Listing

Now that you’ve created your listing, it’s time to get active so that you reap the most benefits from it. To do that, you’ll first need to ask your existing customers to leave an online review for your business. Studies show the importance of this. In one study, consumers said that they trust online reviews as much as they would trust a recommendation from a friend or family member. And others from that same study said they wouldn’t even consider doing business with a local shop without first reading at least 10 online reviews written from other members of the community. In other words, without online reviews, it will be difficult to convince today’s consumers to take a chance on your business. Luckily, another study shows that over 70 percent of people asked say that if asked, they would leave a review for a local business.

In addition to online reviews, today’s consumers expect the shops and eateries they visit to open up the lines of communication with them. And local business directories like FindUsLocal make that easy by allowing both consumers and business owners to leave comments about a business on the local business directory. Consumers can leave comments for other visitors, while business owners can use the feature to make sales announcements or let the people of the community know when new products arrive.

Local business directories will play an important role in the recovery and rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey. Make sure your business can be found by creating your local business listing at FindUsLocal.com right now.

How to Make Local Business Listings Work for Your Business

action-blackIf you run a local business, are you doing all you can to ensure its success for the future? After all, the reports of the death of retail are every place, but smart local business owners know that if they only make a few changes, they will be able to serve their local community for years to come. What are these small changes? Making sure your business can be found online for starters.

Local Business Directories Allow People to Find Local Businesses

In an age where people look for everything—and I mean everything—online, it’s imperative that local business owners make sure their shops, restaurants, or service businesses can be found by the internet savvy consumers of today. And while many local businesses have websites where consumers can find the information, many others don’t have the time or budget to create one. And that lack of an internet presence is one of the reasons why so many local shop owners are being forced to close their doors this year.

Before local business directories came along, people had to use the large search engines to find US local business in their area. But that’s a problem because the large search engines aren’t exactly designed to give local results to people who just want to find a local business in their town or city. That’s because the results people see in major search engine results are often riddled with things like articles, and websites that aren’t relevant. For example, if someone were looking for a local wine shop, they may see articles about how to select a good wine, or online wine shop websites. But that won’t help them if they want to drive to a local shop and buy a bottle of wine.

That’s why so many people are turning to local business directories. These directories are designed to give people the local results they want in an easy to use format. For example, if someone were to log onto FindUsLocal.com, one of the most innovative local business directories around, they would automatically see a customized home page that is built around their local area. This happens because some local business directories use GEO location technology that reads a visitor’s location as soon as they log onto the site.

Once there, visitors only have to enter their search term in the local business directories search bar and they will instantly see a listing of the local businesses that fit the criteria in the results. In other words, if you were to look for that wine shop in your own town or city, you would enter “wine shop” in the search bar on a local business directory and you would only see the local wine shops in your area.

How to Ensure Your Business is Seen on Local Business Directories

Now that you understand the importance of local business directories for your local shop, let’s talk about the best way to list your business there. It’s not that difficult, but you will need to follow a few steps to ensure that your local business listing is correct so you’ll reap the most benefits from it. Here are 3 things you should always do when listing your business on a local business directory.

  • Create your local business listing. First, you’ll need to create your very own local business listing so people can find your shop or restaurant when they’re looking for one like yours. To do this, simply claim your business on local business directories like FindUsLocal.com and then fill in the details. Be sure to fill in your name, address, phone number, and website URL exactly the same on every local business directory because if you don’t, all your hard work will be for nothing.
  • Ask Customers to Leave Reviews. Most consumers want to read some honest local reviews about a business before they decide whether or not to visit their shop or restaurant, and if your business doesn’t have some, it could hurt your business. To overcome this, simply point your current customers to your local business listing on the local business directory. There, they can leave a review for your business, which will help other people decide whether or not to visit your shop.
  • Open a two-way conversation. Today’s consumers expect local business owners to have a professional relationship with them, and most of the interaction is done online. This has been a major problem for a lot of business owners because they don’t have the time needed to build a large social media following. But now they don’t have to with the innovation genius of local business directories like FindUsLocal.com. There, you’ll find something called the comments section and you can use it to interact with your customers in real time. It makes the process of communicating with your customers and others in your community easy and efficient. Plus it can be done in only a few minutes a day compared to the hours it takes to use social media to do the same.

Local business directories are an important tool in the tool belt of local business directories. Have you taken the important step of claiming your local business listing on FindUsLocal.com? If not, what are you waiting for? A new customer could be looking for a business just like yours right this minute!