Local business owners have seen some major changes in the marketplace in the past decade, and those changes have changed the way they do business. In fact, the local shop owners who haven’t kept up with the times are shuttering their doors at an alarming rate. That’s because consumers don’t shop like they used to and local store owners have to change the way they market their business in order to get their attention. Here are a few ways consumer behavior has changed over the past decade.
- The Yellow Pages are out. In the past, consumers all over the country opened the Yellow Pages anytime they wanted to find a local business, but today, they turn to the internet. That presents a significant problem for local business owners that don’t have an online presence.
- Online reviews are important. These days, consumers rely on online reviews almost as much as they do personal recommendations. In fact, a recent study proves that people think an online review is just as important as a recommendation from a friend or family member when deciding whether or not to do business with a local store.
- Big search engines are frustrating. When people want to find a national business or one that offers online shopping, they use one of the major search engines in their efforts. But that technique becomes frustrating when those same people want to find a local business. The search engines results are peppered with big chains and national stores and so many people refuse to search for local businesses that way.
Local Business Directories are the Answer
In answer to consumer cries about the difficulty in finding local businesses online, local business directories were created. These directories are designed to give visitors a way to find the local businesses they want. To do this, the business directories only list the local shops that are located in the specific community of the visitor. For example, if a visitor logged onto a local directory from Los Angeles, California and was looking for a restaurant, they would only see the restaurants located in Los Angeles.
But as local directories become more and more popular with consumers, the directories have had to up their game in order to offer them more. For instance, local directories like FindUsLocal.com offers more than local results. It also offers a front page that will help consumers stay up to date on their community. It offers local news, showcases local events like sports games, plays and concerts, and highlights local tweets from business owners about job opportunities and sales.
If you’re a local business owner, you should do all you to take advantage of local directories to help boost your sales. After all, the more people who are able to find your shop, the more sales you’ll make, right?
How to Best Use Local Business Directories
Now that you understand why local directories should be a part of your business’ marketing plan, let’s talk about how to use them in a way to bring in more business. Here are 5 points to keep in mind when listing your business on a local directory.
Consumers Use Local Directories That are Easy to Use
One of the main reasons people are switching from the large search engines when looking for local results is that they are just too difficult to use. But not all local directories make things that much easier for them. For instance, some local directories require visitors to enter personal information, such as their zip code, in order to see the results from their area. Others require them to register or jump through other hoops just to use the local search directory.
On the other hand, some local directories like FindUsLocal.com go to great lengths to give visitors an easy way to find the local results they need. They do this by using GEO location technology, which automatically matches every visitor’s location with the results they see. If you were to log onto FindUsLocal.com from Fort Meyers, Florida, you would see the restaurants, shops, services, news, events, and social media posts from that city.
Because there is such a variety in the way local directories operate, it makes sense for local shop owners to list their businesses on the local directories that use this game changing technology.
Consumers Use Local Directories That Allow Reviews
There have been numerous studies lately that show just how important online reviews are to people. But that can quickly become an issue for local business owners who don’t have an online presence. The answer is local business directories that allow online reviews.
Sites like FindUsLocal.com allow consumers to leave reviews for local businesses, and that helps in a number of ways. First of all, most people won’t even consider trying a new business unless they have read some online reviews. Secondly, when a business has a number of good reviews on local directories, it increases its credibility within the community. Keep in mind that not all local directories allow consumers to leave reviews so you should look for one that does. Otherwise, your business listing won’t do the most it can to bring new business to your local shop.
In order to take advantage of this feature, you should ask your customers to go to your local business listing and leave a review. Studies show that more than 70 percent of them will do it if only they were asked.
Consumers Need to Know You’re There
One of the most overlooked aspects of having local business listings is forgetting to tell customers about it. If they are aware of your listing, they can point friends and family to it or read and leave reviews for your business. Many business owners also ask their customers to share the local directory information on social media to get the business name in front of even more people.
Get Your Nap +W’s Right
When you list your local business on local business directories, it’s important to pay attention to the details such as the business name, address, phone number, and website. If even one detail is off in one of the listings, it will be counted as a false business listing by the search engine spiders—and that will hurt you in the rankings. For instance, if your business is named ABC Company but in some directories it’s listed as ABC Company, Inc., it will hurt your rankings. Make sure all aspects of your NAP +W’s are the same on every local directory your business is listed on.
Consumers Want to See a Lot of Details
Finally, when people go to local business directories to search for a local shop, they want to find ample information there about the business. For example, they want to find the address, phone number, website, directions, pricing information, offerings and more. When you list your business on sites like FindUsLocal.com, be sure include all the details so people can make an educated decision about whether or not to do business with you.
As you can see, listing your shop on local business directories is one of the best decisions you can make when marketing your local business. But be sure to choose a local directory that uses up to date technology and allows consumers to read and leave online reviews. And be sure to fill in as many details as you can and then let people know where to find your business online.
And remember, if you’re looking for a quality local business directory that fits into these guidelines, be sure to check out FindUsLocal.com.