If you’re like most local business owners, this is your worst-case scenario: It’s a few weeks before Christmas and your store is experiencing a sales slump. You hear on the news about the millions of holiday shoppers who are setting records and many of your competitors are killing it. But for some reason, those shoppers aren’t finding their way to your door. Here’s the deal: it could all come down to your local business listings.
What Are Local Business Listings?
Studies show that almost 100 percent of consumers look online to find information about the places they intend to do business with—and that includes local shops, restaurants, and service businesses. They no longer look in the Yellow Pages, ad in the local newspaper, or ask friends and family for recommendations. No, they go en mass to local business directories to get the information.
Those directories are filled with local business listings. A local business listing is a modern take on the old Yellow Pages listings—but better. When using the Yellow Pages, consumers could find a business’s phone number and address, but that’s it.
On the other hand, local business listings are filled with that information, plus business hours, directions or a map, which types of payment are taken, and even menus, product offerings, sales information, and more.
No wonder most American consumers use local business directories to find local businesses.
How Everything Can Go Wrong
Not many local shop owners understand that even if they didn’t sign up to a local business directory, their information is still listed there. That’s because the directories list every local business in an area, and until the owner claims that listing and updates the information, the consumer will only see what is available at the time of the listing.
Holiday Shoppers are Here: Are You Ready?
That’s bad news for local business owners who are trying to draw in holiday shoppers.
Imagine if you consulted a local business directory to find information about a local furniture store. You go to a local directory, choose a store, and then drive there to make a purchase. But when you arrive, the store is closed. You were sure you checked the store hours on the local directory, but sure enough, you and your family are sitting in a car outside of a closed store.
What went wrong?
The local business owner of that store never claimed their local business listing on the directory, so the information is incorrect. Thus, that store now has a new disgruntled consumer with no fault of their own.
How to Prevent Things from Going Wrong
If you want to ensure that all those holiday shoppers find your store, you need to take a couple of steps. First, go to FindUsLocal.com—a credible and popular local business directory—and claim your listing. Simply enter your store name in the search bar on top of the page and click on the listing when you see it.
Next, claim that listing as the owner. Now it’s time to carefully look at all the information in the listing and correct what’s wrong. Did you move? Enter the new address? Did you get a new phone number? Be sure to correct the listing. Did you add a new product line or an addition to your menu? Make sure the local listing reflects that.
Boost Your Chances of Being Picked
When consumers go to local business directories, they will have multiple businesses to choose from. What makes one stand out from another? Online reviews, that’s what.
Now that you’ve have claimed and updated your local business listing, it’s time to ask your customers to go to your listing and leave a positive review for your business. Studies show that people are much more likely to visit a local shop, service business, or restaurant if they have read positive reviews from other consumers.
Another study shows that people are more than willing to leave those reviews if asked. So, create a program where you or your employees asks every customer at checkout if they will leave a review. You have plenty of time before Christmas to get a good number of reviews so holiday shoppers will see them.
Expand Your Efforts
Once you have claimed your listing on FindUsLocal.com, it’s time to expand your efforts. Do this by Googling your business name, and for every local listing that shows up, take the same steps that you did at FindUsLocal.com.
It’s time to take the steps necessary to ensure that your business has a stellar year. And one of the most important things you can do is claim and update all of your local business listings. After all, if shoppers find your listing but can’t find your store, how will you increase your sales?