Tag Archives: local business listing

How to Pull Out-of-Towners to Your Local Business

shoppers_2101364bAs a local business owner, you probably focus all of your advertising and marketing efforts on the people in your local community. That’s because you might not have a website where you sell your products or services online, and instead you rely on foot traffic walking through your door. But if you only focus on local buyers, you may be making a mistake. The truth is, people travel all the time and when people are away from home, they’ll still need to purchase clothing, food, gift items, some services, jewelry, and many, many other products.

How to Catch the Attention of Out of Town Buyers

When someone is traveling in an area they aren’t familiar with, they turn to the internet to find US local businesses and eateries. Think about it, they don’t know the area, and the only way they can determine which stores and restaurants are worth visiting is to look online and read the reviews of people in that area. In addition, they need to be able to find the details of stores and eateries, such as local phone numbers, business addresses, and maps with directions to the local shop.

But this can be a problem for many local business owners because even if they can afford the expense of designing and running a website for their business, they likely don’t have the cash flow or knowledge to conduct effective online advertising campaigns so that out of town visitors can find them. And that brings us to our next point.

Local Business Directories Help Your Business be Seen

What if I told you that there was a way to put your business in front of those out of town buyers without having to spend thousands of dollars on online advertising? Luckily for you, it’s possible with local business directories. These local directories are free to use and they are where most people go to find US local businesses.

But you can’t list your business in just any old local business directory—you need to choose one that gives consumers a reason to bookmark it as their local business directory of choice. People don’t like database type local directories because frankly, most of the local business listings on sites like those are out of date. Instead, people look to quality local business directories like FindUsLocal.com. This innovative local directory offers a wide variety of features and benefits for people in addition to making it easy for them to find US local businesses.

Make Your Business a Must See Attraction

Finally, when trying to appeal to out of towners, you want them to be excited about visiting your store or restaurant, and the best way to do that is to build some online excitement about it. Luckily, FindUsLocal.com gives you a free method to do just that. It’s called the comments section, and with it, you can announce the exciting happenings in your local business. For example, you can let people know when you’re having a sale or a special discount on your most popular products. You can also let the community—and those out of town buyers—know when you receive new products or have a special service to offer. By building this kind of online hype, you will attract the attention of people visiting your area and they will put your store or restaurant on their list of things to do before they leave.

Local business is great, but in order to be a successful business owner, you should also think about how to draw in the visitors that come to your area. And just by following the tips listed above—being seen online by creating a local business listing on a quality local business directory, and using that directory to create some hype around your business—your store, service business or restaurant will quickly be found on out of towners “Must do” lists. What are you waiting for? Head on over to FindUsLocal now to create and optimize your local business listing!

Mistakes That Can Damage Your Online Business Listings

LKd3Qpzd_400x400The reason most local businesses want to be found in online business listings is because that’s where the customers are going to find what they need. Unfortunately, being on a directory is just the first step to online success and higher revenues. In the first place, there are over 4 trillion public web pages and customers rarely go past the first two pages of a search. This means, it’s a race to be found on these two precious top pages – even in local business directories. This has led to the birth of a more sophisticated marketing strategy – local presence management.

Local presence management is simply managing your online business listings so your target market can easily find you, like what they see, and inquire about doing business with you. It’s taking the initiative to protect your online local presence and resolve any issues that may crop up.

And issues will eventually crop up like the following:

  • Missing or incomplete information
  • Old or outdated data
  • Malicious spam
  • Poor visual content
  • Boring content
  • Duplicate content
  • Not standing out

The bottom line? Poor conversion! Studies also confirm that online business listings that generate one or two star reviews have a 90 percent chance of non-conversion. But if you have reviews of at least 3 stars, it opens up your business to potential revenues worth thousands of dollars.

Mistake #1 Failure to Interact

Business interactions through online business directories take on several levels: with prospective buyers, satisfied or dissatisfied customers, suppliers, industry partners, or international inquiries. Treat each interaction as a VIP inquiry but take the necessary precaution to protect sensitive business information until you have verified the source of the inquiry.

Were you aware that latest research shows that 91 percent of Americans read online reviews and testimonials before making a decision to purchase? Furthermore, 60 percent of consumers admit that negative reviews make them automatically decide not to consider that business unless there are signs that the company did something positive to appease the dissatisfied customer. But how do you get good online reviews to gain new customers? According to studies, you only have to ask.

Mistake #2 Failing to Nurture your Online Presence Scientifically

Aside from interaction, there is a pressing need to continuously nurture your presence in online business directories – professionally. This means using analytics, audits, and SEO management and following these tips:

  • Choose your SEO keywords carefully and be ready to change them when they are no longer relevant
  • Partner with a quality online local business directory that can guarantee fast and secure upload speeds. It takes only a few seconds to distract someone trying to access the directory website – and when that happens, you lose an opportunity to be seen
  • Conducting regular analytics on your business online profile and NAP data

Mistake #3 Getting Blacklisted by the Directory and Search Engines

Your directory can blacklist or the search engine can blacklist the directory where you have your business listing. This is the action taken when black hat tricks or other rules like keyword stuffing are used. Unfortunately, ignorance is not a valid excuse you can use and the penalty is often permanent.

Online business directories will always prioritize their survival over any nasty tricks their clients may attempt to use so it’s best to know the rules and stick with them Use professional advertising and marketing strategies and go with directory websites that do the same. While online business listings are powerful tools, they don’t always deliver instant results. Continuous, consistent quality advertising and marketing will serve you best in the long run.

Mistake #4 Offering More than You Can Give

It’s tempting to offer the moon, sky, and everything else when advertising online but you’ll soon discover that irritated consumers are very vocal and public about their disappointment. Consumers would rather trust reviews and feedback than any content you include in your local business listing.  One of the easiest ways to get negative comments is by not standing by what you post in your advertisements and listings. And consumers can now also tell when a review comes from a verified independent user or not. With an average of 70 percent of online users willing to go public with their opinions, it’s best not to over-promise.

Mistake #5 Not Having a Plan

Online business listings or posts in websites that help consumers find US local businesses should not be done randomly. Have a plan and a strategy on how to implement the plan so it is 100 percent effective. Making random decisions is like relying on a hit-and-miss strategy that will waste a lot of your funds. For instance, if you decide to get listed but you fail to launch an online profile whether it’s website or social media-based, you make it hard for consumers to reach you. People don’t like to spend time on phone calls when an email or chat is easier. Consumers are used to getting replies to their inquiries within 24 to 48 hours.

In conclusion, plan ahead and stay on top of that plan but always be ready to make adjustments at the drop of a hat.

The 5 Most Important Features in a Quality Local Business Directory

The bestOnline business directories are now more important than ever because the world gets a substantial portion of its information online. We are just beginning a new information revolution where individuals everywhere are using their smartphones, tablets, and desktops to get all kinds of information, and this includes getting local business listings.

But these days, no one has the time to find a phone book and thumb through all the sections to look up a business listing. Chances are, because today’s local business owners don’t advertise in the phone book anymore, the people won’t be able to find local businesses that they want. And because there are so many versions of the “yellow pages” in every city, people don’t know which one to choose—and no one wants to flip through multiple phone books just to find US local business phone numbers.

Local Business Listings to the Rescue

However, when looking up local business listings on the internet, it seems rather obvious that the online local business directories are far easier to navigate than the old school paper directories that the previous generations once used. This creates many new ways for local business owners to boost your sales in ways that used to be impossible.

In order to do this, you need to be aware of the most important pieces of information that your customers seek, so you can create the most effective local marketing and advertising strategies relevant to your business. That’s why we want to talk about the five most important things that people are looking for when searching business directories.

The Name of Your Business

This one seems like a no-brainer, but quite often people overlook this important detail because it is so obvious. If nobody knows your name, then how are they going to know you even exist? This is why it is so important to have your company’s name clearly displayed in local business listings, so customers can discover you and begin to understand your brand.

The Location of Your Business

This is probably the single most important piece of information for people trying to find US local businesses. In other words, if someone doesn’t know where your local business is located, they won’t be able to find your business. You should also remember that if your place of business is hard to find, you should include some directions that will help them get to the store. You should always make everything as easy as possible so that more people will be able to do business with you. The last thing you want is for someone to have problems finding your place of business.

Your Business Hours

Are you open at six in the morning? Are you open at night? Only on weekends? This crucial data is vital to the consumers trying to find US local businesses, and you should include it in your local business listing so people can plan to visit your local business during your operating hours. This another just another way you can optimize your listings in local business directories.

Your Contact Information

Today’s consumers want to be able to get in touch with you. Many times they want information about detailed minutia, and sometimes, they just want to talk to you so they can get a better idea about what you and your employees are like. Whatever the reason may be, people need to communicate with a live person (or at least a recording) before taking the plunge and actually going to your location.

Local business directories provide a way for you to present this information in a way that is convenient and easy to find for consumers.

Reviews for Your Local Business

Online reviews about the goods or services that local businesses offer are all the rage on the internet right now. These honest reviews will often determine whether or not someone will choose your business over your competition. This is why it’s so important that local business owners provide a place where satisfied customers to leave them. When your business is listed on a local business directory, you’ll provide that place for your customers to leave these all-important reviews.

So after all is said and done, your business needs to be listed on a quality local business directory like FindUsLocal.com so you can make as many connections as possible and grow your customer base. By being listed in the proper business directories, you can be certain that you will reach a large amount of people who are looking for the goods or services that you have to offer.

 

So make sure that all these details are easy for people to find, and you will greatly increase the odds of your business continuing to grow and thrive in your community.

 

3 Ways to Increase Your Local Business Sales Today

How-to-Increase-Sales-and-Audience-Using-Targeted-Local-Sales-AdsAre you tired of waiting for customers to walk in the door of your local business? Have you tried all of the tried and true marketing and advertising methods that used to work, only to find that they just don’t bring in new business like they used to? Maybe you operate a local business that’s been in the family for years, and don’t understand what you’re doing wrong. Your sales are down and you fear that all the years of hard work have been for nothing.

If this sounds like you, we’ve got some great news. Yes, it’s true that the old advertising and marketing methods don’t work anymore, but it’s not because they’re bad methods, it’s because consumer behavior has changed so drastically over the past few years and they don’t turn to the local phone book or community newspaper anymore. Instead, they look online when they want to find US local businesses.

What does that mean for your local shop or restaurant? It means that if you want to succeed in today’s internet obsessed culture, you’ve got to be seen online. Knowing that, it only makes sense that most of your marketing and advertising dollars are spent online. But here’s the crazy thing, the most effective way to get your local business seen online is free.

How to Get Free Online Advertising

In a world where the best things typically cost a lot of money, isn’t it good to know that you can effective online advertising for free? Here are 3 ways that you can not only get an online presence so your business can be found, but also bring in new customers so your store or eatery will thrive.

Find a Good Local Business Directory

You’ve probably heard of the importance of claiming your local business listing on a local directory, but what you may not have heard is that it matters which one you choose. For example, some local business directories are simply data bases filled with often incorrect information about businesses across the nation. While the concept works in theory, these data bases actually can hurt your search engine rankings unless you correct them.

Instead of using one of these cookie cutter directories, look for local business directories that give consumers a reason to use them—that way your business is more likely to be seen because you’ll have that all-important online visibility. For example, FindUsLocal.com is a business directory that go to great lengths to give consumers what they want so that the business owners who create their local business listing there will benefit from it.

Drive Your Customers to Your Local Business Listing

Once you’ve created your local business listing, you’ll need to drive your customers to the directory in order to leave reviews for your business. This is important for two reasons. First, when you have online reviews, it gives your business credibility in the eyes of consumers—and that makes them more likely to visit your store. And most studies show that many people won’t even consider visiting a local shop unless they’ve read some good reviews about it. Secondly, every time someone leaves an online review for your business, that pings the large search engines, such as Google and Bing, that your local business listing is active. And active listings always get more attention from the search engines than stales one.

Use the Local Business Directory to Communicate with Local Consumers

Finally, in order to keep your business fresh and current, you can use the Comments on local business directories like FindUsLocal. The feature allows you communicate the latest news to local consumers—and the best thing about it? It’s free and easy to use. Simply log onto your local business listing and scroll down until you see the option to leave a comment, and then use it to tell your community about a current sale, a job opening, or a new product that’s just arrived.

Local business directories are one of the best ways to build a quick online presence, and amazingly, you can use them for free. Get started by visiting FindUsLocal.com and filling out your business details. Then follow the above listed steps and soon you’ll have new customers walking through your doors!

How Local Citations on Local Business Directories can Boost Your Rankings

The art of running a local business doesn’t look anything like it did a mere 10 years ago. Back then, all you had to do was ensure that you had a decent sized ad in the local phone book, and run a few ads in the community newspaper. But those days are gone and today’s successful local business owners make sure that their store, restaurant or service business can be found online by engaging in online advertising.

But a little known secret that most local business owners don’t know is that citations play a key role in whether or not potential customers can find your business online. Let’s first talk about what citations are, and then talk about the role they play in your business and how to get them.

What are Local Citations?

In its simplest form, a citation is a mention of your business on the internet. But not all local citations are the same, and in order to positively affect your business’ search engine rankings, you’ll need the right citations. For example, when your business is listed on a quality local business directory, that’s considered a positive and effective citation. But when it’s mentioned on your Aunt Betty’s Facebook page, not so much.

Why are Local Citations so Important?

The major search engines like Google and Bing operate with algorithms. Those algorithms are software programs that anticipate and analyze the vast information on the web in order to rank the millions of websites there. And one of the key things the algorithm uses for local businesses is citations.

You see, the search engine deploys “spiders” to crawl the web and look for local citations, and the more it finds for a local business, the more importance it places on that business. And as you probably know, when a major search engine deems a website or local business important, that means it will show up higher in the search engine results.

What can you do to be thought of as important by the search engine spiders? If you guessed citations, you’re correct.

How to Get Local Citations

Now that you understand just how important local citations are to your local business success, let’s talk about how to get them. Luckily, it’s not that difficult to get a few good citations that will boost your business in the search engine rankings. Here are 3 steps that will give you instant results.

  • Search out quality local business directories. Since having a good local business listing is one of the best ways to get effective citations, you’ll need to identify a few good local business directories. Look for directories that utilize GEO location technology on their site, so consumers will automatically see the results from their local area. And look for a local directory that offers consumers more than just local listings. For example, FindUsLocal.com uses the cutting edge location technology, and offers consumers all kinds of special features to keep them coming back again and again.
  • Once you choose a few local business directories, it’s time to create your local business listings. To do so, simply claim your business on the directory and then fill in as many details as you can. Remember, the local business listings that offer consumers all the details they want, like the business address, phone number, and hours of operation, are the most effective.
  • After you’ve set up your local business listings, it’s time to promote them. Ask your current customers to leave online reviews, and interact with them in real time by using the comments section on local business directories like FindUsLocal.com. There is a difference between online reviews and the comments section, so be sure to visit the local directory to learn how to use each of them.

Local business directories play an important role in today’s local business success, and if you haven’t already set up your local business listing at a quality directory like FindUsLocal.com, isn’t it time to get started? Simply log onto the site, and then claim your local listing. Then, follow the steps listing above and watch how new customers find your store and visit it to make purchases. Soon, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t create your local business listing a long time ago!

 

How to Use Online Visibility to Grow Your Local Business

Be-Seen-Block-360x270It’s becoming increasingly obvious to local business owners across the nation that having an online presence is vital to the health of a local shop, restaurant, or service business. That’s because the way people find US local businesses has changed dramatically in the past few years. While they once may have opened up the local phone book or looked for specials or discounts in their local newspaper, they now use their smartphones, tablets, and laptops to find local businesses.

But what does that mean for those local business owners who don’t yet have an online presence? Unfortunately, for many it means they have to shutter the door of the local business their family has owned for generations.

Don’t let the changing times cost you your business, but instead determine to change with the times and position your local shop so that consumers can find it. And one of the best ways you can achieve that marketing and sales goal is by having an online presence. But before we get into how to create one for your business, let’s talk about some eye-opening statistics.

  • When 81 percent of people decide to make a large purchase, they do online research before making a commitment. That means if your business can be positioned as an authority in your field by having an online presence, they are likely to trust you when it comes time to make a decision.
  • After people search for a local shop, restaurant, or service business online, 72 percent of them travel to the local business. In other words, by having an online presence so people can find you online means that 71 percent of them will visit your store after they see you online.
  • Many people conduct mobile searches these days, and that’s a good thing because studies show that once someone tries to find US local businesses using a mobile device, 78 percent of them end up making a purchase in the store.
  • And what about those people who don’t make a purchase that day? Studies show that 18 percent of them do make a purchase within a day.
  • Thirty-three percent of the searches made on a mobile device were done immediately before visiting the store.
  • 60 percent of the adults in the US use some type of mobile device to find US local businesses online.

These statistics highlight the importance of having an online presence, so now let’s talk about how you can get that oh so important visibility. Here are 3 things you can do today that will boost your online visibility and cause more customers to walk through your door.

Create a Local Business Listing

When people go online to find US local businesses, they typically start with a local business directory. These directories are designed to help people find US local businesses without having to jump through all the hoop they do on the larger search engines. And some sites, like FindUsLocal.com make it even easier for consumers by using GEO technology software. This software automatically reads a visitor’s location and then quickly designed a customized home page for them that shows them local search results as well as the news and happenings in their own area.

Get Plenty of Online Reviews

While having an online presence is key to a successful local business, you need to optimize your local business listings by driving your customers there to leave online reviews for your business. Studies have shown that most people are hesitant to visit local shops and restaurants unless they can first read a few good online reviews, and that’s why online reviews are so important for local business listings.

It’s been shown that if local business owners ask their customers to leave a review for their business, 7 out of 10 will do it.

Spread Your Business Name Around

Finally, it’s important that you don’t only list your business with one local business directory, even if it’s a quality directory like FindUsLocal.com. The large search engines use these local business directories to help them rank local businesses higher in the search results, so you should be on as many as you can. In other words, the more local business directories your business is listed on, the higher the chances you’ll be seen by the local customers looking for a business like yours.

Online visibility is one of the key aspects to a successful local business these days, and local business directories are the best way to get it. Remember, if you haven’t already created your local business listing, you may be missing out on business right now as consumers look for a business like yours, but find your competitor instead. Don’t wait, list your business on a local directory today!

Local Business Directories Can Boost Your Sales—Here’s How

sales-growthThese days, it’s vital that small and local business owners do all they can to be seen online. After all, it’s a proven fact that when today’s consumers try and find US local business, they turn to their smart phones, laptops, and tablets. But a surprising number of local business owners haven’t take the steps to build their online presence, and that’s resulting in a lot sagging sales, and unfortunately, closed doors. If you own a local shop, restaurant, or service business and haven’t yet built your online presence so consumers can find you, here are some things you should know.

Old-School Advertising Methods Don’t Work Anymore

In the past, local shop owners relied heavily on newspaper ads, phone book ads, or those mailers that were so popular in the day. But recent studies show that 90 percent of consumers look online when they want to find US local businesses. That means if you’re still relying on off-line advertising and marketing efforts, you’re not reaching the majority of the people in your community.

In fact, there have been some recent studies that show just how much consumer behavior has changed in the past few years. Consider these marketing statistics:

  • Almost three-quarters of consumers are likely to look on the major search engines when they are trying to find US local businesses.
  • When looking for local businesses, sixty percent of consumers use mobile devices to conduct the search. They use an app or search on their smartphones.
  • Half of people looking for US local businesses check the company website.
  • More than half of consumers search for local businesses online at least one time a month.
  • A full 91 percent of shoppers read online reviews before deciding to visit a local business.

Can you see how important it is for local businesses to be found online? If you’re not, more than half of the people who are looking for a business like yours will never find you!

Local Business Directories Can Help You Be Seen Online

What if you don’t have the resources to build a company website? That’s where local business directories come in. These local search engines are designed to help consumers find US local businesses without having to look through all of the national results like they do on the major search engines.

Before we tell you how local business listings can help you be seen online, here are some facts about how local business directories work.

  • The smarter local directories, like FindUsLocal.com, use GEO location technology to automatically show the visitor only the results from their area. For example, if someone from Los Angeles, California were looking for a furniture store, they would go the local directory and enter “furniture store” in the search bar and would see a list of furniture stores in their local area.
  • Some local business directories feature additional benefits so that people will visit the site frequently. For example, FindUsLocal.com offers local news, a comment section that allows business owners and consumers to interact with each other, links to local plays, concerts, and sporting events, and even some inspirational and humorous things to keep consumers engaged and coming back. And remember, every time they visit the local directory page, that’s another chance they will find your local business.

How Local Business Directories Help People Find Your Business

When someone searches for local businesses on a major search engine, they are often confronted with results that don’t fit their criteria. For example, if they were searching for that furniture store, they might see national chains and online stores in the mix. So to ensure that your store is seen, you’ll need a lot of citations so the search engine spiders will recognize and display your store.  And one of the best ways to get those citations is by creating local business directory listings on quality local business directories.

How to Create Your Local Business Listing

Creating these all-important business listings involves more than just haphazardly listing your business on directories. You’ll need to plan ahead and create your business listings in a particular way. Here are some tips to help you do it right.

  • Be choosy. You should list your shop or restaurant on just any old local business directory. Instead, look for quality local business directories like FindUsLocal. A good business directory will offer more to consumers and use GEO location technology.
  • Be consistent. You’ll need to ensure that your local business listings are all the same. Enter your business name, address, phone number, and website if you have one, exactly the same on every local business listing you create. Otherwise you’ll confuse the search engine spiders and the inconsistent listings won’t be credited to your business.
  • Be interactive. You’ll need to interact with consumers on your local business listing using methods like the comments section over at FindUsLocal.com. This keeps your business listing active and that will make it more visible to the search engine spiders.
  • Be proactive. Remember how important online reviews are to consumers? You’ll need to encourage your customers to leave them for your business on your local business listing. And don’t stop when you have ten or so reviews. Studies show that people like to see current reviews when deciding whether or not to visit a local business.

As you can see, having an online presence is one of the best things you can do for your local business. If you haven’t already created a local business listing, why not head over to FindUsLocal.com right now and do it? It’s one of the best things you can do for your local business today!

Online Local Business Directory Listings Are Not Just for Retail

Business group portraitDentists, doctors, therapists and other health care providers are at a distinct disadvantage in the world of advertising and marketing. In many cases, professional ethics define the type and scope of advertising they’re allowed to do. For the longest time, most local health practitioners simply paid for an ad in the local phone directory and worked hard at word-of-mouth reputation. These days, however, the ubiquitous phone directory with its bright yellow pages for professional and business listings has all but disappeared. Instead, businesses buy online advertising and create websites, fish for positive reviews and try to engage with potential customers on social media platforms. Most don’t think about making sure their practice is listed with local business directories, which is a pity. A well-written local business directory listing can bring in new patients and help maintain relationships with existing patients.

How Local Business Directory Listings Promote Your Health Care Practice

Doctors, Dentists, and Other Health Care Providers Need an Online Presence

Plain and simple, most people aren’t looking for new doctors in the phone book any longer. Whether they’re new in town, have a new baby, or are looking for a specialist in a particular field, the first thing they do these days is fire up their browsers. In general, 85% of people use the Internet to find local businesses and services of all kinds.

When it comes specifically to health care, a 2017 study found that 77% of consumers looking for health care providers used a search engine to find a doctor. By comparison, when people were trying to find a new doctor, up to 83 percent scanned various types of local business directories, including those on hospital and health insurance sites, and local business directories with consumer-written doctor’s reviews.

Why List a Health Care Practice in a Local Business Directory

In addition to being found by potential new patients who go directly to a business directory, local business directory listings help boost the chances of being found when they simply do an online search to, for example, find US local chiropractors, dentists or other health care professionals. More about that later – first, three other reasons that local directory listings make sense for busy medical practices.

  • Online business directories are among the simplest type of online presence to set up. Even when professionals choose to list their services in multiple directories, it only takes a few minutes per site to set up the listing.
  • It’s one of the cheapest online marketing methods available. Most local directories offer free listings to any business with a physical address, and allow the business owner to add keywords, photos and other customizations to their listing. Some offer upgrades to paid listings that offer more customizations, featured ads and other types of promotion.
  • There’s far less “clutter” on local business directories. Because so many professionals focus on search engine marketing, there are far fewer listings overall in local online business directories, which means each listing has a better chance of standing out.

 

Signal Search Engines with Local Business Directory Listings

Health care providers can use business directory listings to link directly to their websites, which makes it easier for potential new clients to find them in two ways. First, with listings in multiple local business directories, there’s a greater chance of being found through the directories themselves. In addition, search engines rely on information from business directories and other websites to help them determine where a business is located. When someone does a search with “local intent” – that is, they want to find a service or practitioner nearby – the search engines will find multiple citations listing the practice at a specific address. In other words, when medical professionals in private practice list themselves in local business directories like FindUsLocal.com, Google and other search engines are more likely to show those listings when someone nearby is searching for their services.

Geographically Targeted Marketing Brings Results

As more and more big box stores and national chains set up local mini-clinics, local practitioners actually have a leg up in local search when they list themselves in a local business directory. Early last year, Google took aim at businesses with hundreds (or even thousands!) of business locations, as well as those that didn’t list a physical address. Since a pair of updates to their algorithm, searches to “find us local therapists,” for example, will usually put local practitioners in private practice at the front of the list of results. Practitioners can take even more advantage of that benefit by listing their practice in as many categories as appropriate for their services and location.

Manage Customer Reviews

When deciding which local business directories are worth the time and attention, health care providers and business owners should always consider those that allow consumers to write reviews. Online reviews from patients offer an unparalleled opportunity to learn what their patients appreciate and where they can improve in the way of customer service. Many businesses pay consultants to do that kind of research for them, and there it is, free for the taking and learning.

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: 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.