Online local business listings is a growing arm of the advertising industry and the speed in which it is evolving can trip up small to medium enterprises (SMEs) who may sign up with the wrong directory. There are some online business directories that are industry specific and cater only to manufacturing firms and factories which means SMEs will not be able to garner any significant business revenues as the volume requirements and other criteria of these companies are based on large scale orders.
Who is Your Market?
Today, a local business is no longer limited to local clients. With the available shipping methods and e-transaction technology, you can stay local but be open to inquiries from around the world. However, first you have to get listed on a find US local business directory that is gaining top rank in search engines like finduslocal.com.
Even the potential for customers from other parts of the country is constant and available to SMEs. Based on 2016 figures, ecommerce in the US alone almost reached $400 billion while worldwide, there was an increase of 246% from the previous year. If you are not feeling even a little bit of the outflow from online buyers national or international, then your advertising and marketing efforts need to be reworked and you may need to get on a few of the reputable local business directories.
The Buy, Hire American Campaign
The Buy American campaign is old news. In fact, it was originally launched in 1933 – more than 84 years ago! The “Buy America” is not as old but still a campaign that was approved in 1983. These are two separate laws. The first does not include services and is limited to federal government agencies while the second is part of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act. When Donald Trump became president, part of his government’s agenda was a “Buy, Hire American” campaign.
The thrust of this new campaign is what you should be interested in: preference for domestically manufactured products so if your business involves the production of local products, then you will begin to feel this advantage soon.
As for those businesses who don’t produce their own but sell as a US firm, they still have nominal advantage being a US company – and they should grab it. The business environment in all industries has become so competitive because of the Internet, experts recommend using every advantage you can get to corner a piece of the market.
How to Maximize your Advertising ROI
When using online local business directories or local business listings, you should always factor in the return on your investment (ROI) – even with free ads! This is because with or without ad fees, you still spend time and effort creating and perfecting your content so you might as well get the most out of it.
Here’s how you can maximize ROI:
- Perfect your SEO marketing
- Make sure contact details are easy to find and read
- Include certifications and awards
- Don’t forget to offer some kind of marketing teaser like discounts or coupons
- Solicit reviews and feedback
- Respond quickly to inquiries and reviews
In addition, measure, analyze and improve your ads. Some of the stats you can measure are the number of people who respond to your local business listings, number of people that lands on your website or walks in to your business store, and revenues generated from the local business directories.
Customer Experience is King but So Are Your Employees
The people who respond to your ads and inquiries are customers and employees. Treat them right and they will happily buy from you or assist customers so they buy from you. You can set up your own online customer service or tie up with a company that can do it for you.
The latest stats on customer experience will prove that they can make or break your business:
- 89% of customers shift to a competitor after a bad experience including a no response action
- 86% would continue to do business if happy with the experience – and would recommend the business to their network
- 84% are frustrated when they don’t get answers and 42% expect a response within one hour
- And here’s the clincher: 57% would rather call a business than chat online or send an email
As for employee satisfaction, it isn’t just their pay grade that will make them empathize with your business goals, but the whole experience with the job and the business owner or manager. In fact, employee experience depends on three things:
- Work tools, software, technologies
- Employer’s attitude towards employees
Meet all these and you will have people willing to work hard and stay committed to your business.
Finally, be active in managing your ads and business listings regardless of whether you are a home-based business, have a staff of one or employ more than 20 people.