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Holiday Shopping Insights for 2019

As the end of the year approaches, it’s time for many local shop owners to begin the holiday sales. But this year experts say that consumers have cash in hand and are ready to spend it. But here’s the truth: if your local business isn’t already listed on a local business directory, you may miss out on a lot of sales.

So what can you do? Make sure to take advantage of the free local business listing offered by credible business directories like FindUsLocal.com. But before we tell you how to do that, let’s take a look at what’s in store for local shop owners this Christmas season.

What’ the Predicted Average Spend?

This year, consumers are confident about the economy and they aren’t hesitating to spend a little more on Christmas gifts for friends and family. In fact, according to one recent study, consumers say they plan to spend on average $1,500 this year. And the high end spenders—those in upper income brackets—say they will spend closer to $2,100 this holiday shopping season.

But Will They Buy Locally?

Another study done by the same group found a vast contrast in how people think about how and where consumers spend their money. For instance, it is commonly believed that millenialls only buy things online and never go into local shops. But the study found just the opposite. Visits to retails shops in many areas of the county is actually on the rise, particularly in Texas and Florida. Other numbers show that this year’s sale are on track to beat last year’s sales.

That’s because the younger generation prefers experiences and shopping locally provides that kind of experience. Imagine going into a retail store during the holiday season. What would you find? Christmas trees and lights, holiday music, hustle, bustle, and an all around good mood.

Try getting that at an online store.

How to Make Sure You Don’t Miss Your Share of Holiday Sales

If you own a retail store, all this news is bound to excite you. After all, Christmas sales make up a lot of local shop owner’s income for the year. But to cash in on all those sales, you’ve got to get your store’s name in front of all those shoppers. How do you do that?

By creating a free local business listing.

What Is a Free Local Business Listing?

A business listing is just like it sounds: a listing that tells consumers all about your local business. In it, you can find a business name, business address, business phone number, and a business’ website. But you can also learn much more.

When looking at local business listings on a local business directory, consumers can learn a shop’s store hours, what kinds of payment they accept, which brands they sell, and even where to park when visiting the store. In short, a local business listing is like an old Yellow Page ad, only better.

Do You Have a Local Business Listing?

If you run a local business, you may be wondering why you would need an online business listing. After all, your customers live in the same city or town that your business is located in. Why would you need to advertise online.

The answer is simple: it’s the way the world works these days.

No one is going to drag out the old, dusty Yellow Pages to find local businesses. Instead, studies show that almost 100 percent of people go to local business directories when they want to find local businesses. And if yours can’t be found on a local business directory, shoppers may  not know you exist. Instead, they will shop at your competitors who have taken the time to set up their own local business listing.

But I Don’t Have the Time to Set Up a Free Local Business Listing!

We know, it’s the holiday shopping season and you’re doing all you can to keep up. But here’s the deal: if you want to increase the number of shoppers who walk through your door, you’ve got to make sure they know about you. And it’s a given that they’re looking online for local businesses just like yours.

Do you want to be found?

Here’s the good news: it only takes about ten minutes to set up your free local business listing. But that ten minutes can turn into a lot of new sales as all those holiday shoppers find your store and then visit it.

Here’s a quick guide that teaches you how to set up your free business listing in ten minutes or less:

  • Go to a credible local business directory like FindUsLocal.com. It’s important to remember that not all business directories are equal. And that’s why you need to choose one that actively markets itself so that Google and the other large search engines will display it’s business listings.
  • Click on the “Add My Business” button on the top right hand corner of the site.
  • Now, fill in the details of your business. You will want to include the basic details such as your business name, business address, business phone number, and a business website if you have one. But you should also include the details that shoppers are likely looking for. For instance, you should list your store hours so they know when to visit, any special brands or products you carry, and if you own a local restaurant, an indication of what kind of foods you serve.
  • Finally, it’s time to ask your customers to go to your business listing and leave some online reviews. Today’s consumes don’t like to visit new shops without first reading a few good online reviews from other customers. And studies show that consumers are more than happy to leave an online review for a business if asked. So, don’t be shy? Ask your customers to leave an online review for your store as they check out!

And here a quick video showing the importance of these steps:

Tis the Season to Bring in More Sales

Along with all the sentimental and joyful reasons for the season, bringing in more sales is a major concern for local store owners. And to take full advantage of the current consumer confidence, you should do all you can to ensure that they can find your store during their shopping excursions.

How can you do that? By creating your free business listing on a credible local business directory like FindUsLocal.com. By listing your business on his innovative local directory, you will be giving shoppers even more than your store’s information.

Here are the gifts shoppers will find on the site:

  • The local news from their area
  • Local sports scores from their city or town
  • Ticket to local events inn their area
  • Social media postings from their area
  • Funny and thoughtful sayings to start their day
  • Local weather updates

As you can see, when someone logs onto a local business directory like FindUsLocal.com, they won’t just find local stores and restaurants (although that’s the main reason they visit the site!). They will also find tons of information about their local area.

Are You Ready to Bring in More Sales?

If you’re ready to increase your sales during this holiday season and you don’t already have a local listing for your store, it’s time to put one up now. Simply head on over to FindUsLocal.com and enter your information. Soon, you’ll be ho, ho, ho-ing all the way to the bank!

Do This Now to Increase Local Business Profits

If you own a local business, you probably have one thing on your mind this Christmas season: getting your fair share of holiday purchases. After all, this is the time of year when shoppers are out in droves buying all of the gifts for their friends and families. And you know how they find local businesses to shop at? By using local business directories.

How Much Will Shoppers Spend This Year?

According to the experts? A lot. Consumer confident has skyrocketed and that means they will be spending a lot of money during this year’s holiday season. And despite all of the dire predictions, local business is decidedly not dead. In fact, during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, most shoppers love to get out in it. They enjoy seeing the Christmas decorations at the local shops and interacting with all of the festivities.

But if you’re local shop or restaurant isn’t on a local business directory, you’re not likely to get your share of all that business.

Let’s fix that now, shall we?

But First, What Is a Local  Business Directory?

In the past, it was easy for local businsess owners to get the word out about their shops, service businesses and restaurants. All they had to do was hang a visible sign, take out an ad in the local Yellow Pages, and run ads in local newspapers or coupon books.

Boy, have times changed.

These days, when someone looks for US local business, they turn to local business directories. These useful directories are a tech savvy version of the old Yellow Pages. That’s because when someone wants to find local busineses, they use local business directories in much the same way.

Here are some similarities that local business directories and the old Yellow Pages have in common:

  • They both list only the businesses that can be found in the local area
  • They are categorized by types of businesses. For instance, you would look under “flower shop” to find a local florist in the Yellow Pages. And on a local directory like FindUsLocal.com, you would type “flower shop” into the search bar. Both would provide the same results.
  • Both the Yellow Pages and local business directories make it very easy for shoppers to find local business.

Although both types of local directories have some things in common, they do have one very big difference: price.

If you run an ad in the Yelllow Pages, even today when it’s not used by many people, it can cost in the thousands. And that’ for a small ad that is difficult to notice. But if you set up a business listing on a local business directory like FindUsLocal, it will cost exactly…nothing.

That’s right. You can set up a free local business listing on credible business directories like FindUsLocal.com.

And here’s the deal: there’s no catch.

Check out this short video that sums it up nicely:

Why Do Shoppers Use Local Business Directories?

At this point, you might be wondering why someone who wants to go to a local shop or restaurant would go online to find information about local businesses. After all, isn’t it easier to pull out the Yellow Pages and look for a store or eatery there?

One question: have you tried using the Yellow Pages lately?

So many local businesses have stopped running ads in the books because they know that consumers don’t uses them any more. They realize that today, when a shoppers wants to find a local business, they go online.

That’s because most local businesses have an online presence these days. But building a company website can be expensive, so most chooses to advertise on a local business directory.

And today’s tech savvy shoppers understand that.

Perhaps that’s why a recent study shows that almost 100 percent of shoppers look toward a local business directory when they want to find a local business.

How to Get a Free Local Business Listing

You would think that creating a free local business listing is hard, wouldn’t you? After all, no one is going to provide such a tool that will help increase your local sales that easy, are they?

Actually, they do.

Setting up your free local business listing is so easy that you can do it in a snap. All you have to do is go to FindUsLocal.com and fill in a few blanks. Here’s the exact process you need to do to get your free local business listing.

  • Go to a credible local business directory like FindUsLocal.com. It’s important to remember that not all business directories are equal. And that’s why you need to choose one that actively markets itself so that Google and the other large search engines will display it’s business listings.
  • Click on the “Add My Business” button on the top right hand corner of the site.
  • Now, fill in the details of your business. You will want to include the basic details such as your business name, business address, business phone number, and a business website if you have one. But you should also include the details that shoppers are likely looking for. For instance, you should list your store hours so they know when to visit, any special brands or products you carry, and if you own a local restaurant, an indication of what kind of foods you serve.

Once you’ve added all of the details, click finish and your business will be listed on the local directory later that day. And you won’t have spent a dime.

Just think, free local marketing on the place where almost 100 percent of shoppers go to find local businesses.

Can it get any better than that?

What’s Next?

Now that you have a free local business listing, it’s time to stock your store and get ready for all the holiday shoppers who will walk through your doors. After all, once you’re listed on the spot that most consumers go to when they want to find local businesses, the chime on your business door will begin to chime all the day long!

How to Avoid the Next Retail Armageddon

If you’ve watched the news lately, you’ve surely heard about the abundance of retail store closings plaguing the United States. In fact, it’s so bad that experts are calling it a retail Armageddon. And while many people attribute the rash of store closings to the convenience of buying online, others have a different point of view.

What’s Causing the Current Retail Armageddon?

In the past, people looked to the Yellow Pages to find a local business or restaurant. But when the internet came along, people threw away their phone books and began looking online when they wanted to find something.

Because they were already online, it became easier to buy what they needed right then and there. That means if your local business or restaurant isn’t listed online, today’s tech-savvy consumers will never find it. And you can no longer count on people driving by and seeing your sign. Newspaper ads no long work, nor do mailings.

So what do you do?

The New Way of Marketing a Retail Business

But studies show that although buying online is convenient, many people still like visiting their local businesses. There’s nothing like forming relationships with store owners or touching products before you buy them.

The question is: how do you bring customers to your store when they’re looking online for information?

The answer is local business directories.

What Are Local Business Directories?

Local business directories are just the old Yellow Pages, but they are geared for online consumers. Instead of picking an old, heavy book, all they have to do is log into a local business directory and search for a business. For example, if they want to find a local bakery, they would simply type the word bakery into the local directory’s search bar, and all the local bakeries in their area will appear on a list.

Can you see why it’s so important to create your free local business listing?

How to Get Your Local Business Listed

Did you notice my use of the word free in the sentence above? If you remember how expensive Yellow Page ads were, you are likely shocked. But it’s true. You can get a local business listing for free.

Simply go to a credible online local business directory like FindUsLocal.com and claim your business. Then, fill in all the details you can. Soon, all those customers who are looking for a business like yours will start walking through the doors!

How to Get Reviews for Your Local Business

Most people know that if you run an online business, you need to advertise it online so people will find it and shop there. But did you know that the same is true for local businesses?

It’s true. Today’s consumers turn to the internet when finding local businesses, and they expect to see the same information as they do for online shops. That means that as a local business owner, you need to do all you can to get as many online reviews as you can.

Here’s how to do it.

Create Your Local Business Listing

The first thing you need to do is create a local business listing with a credible site like FindUsLocal.com. There, you can include as much information as you need so that potential customers will visit your store and buy from you.

Tell People About the Local Business Listing

Your next step is to tell as many people as possible about your new local business listing. You can include the URL on your business cards, receipts, or hang up a sign in your store or restaurant.

Ask for Reviews

Now that people know you have a local business listing, it’s time to ask them to leave reviews. Start with your most loyal customers and then branch out and ask everyone who does business with you. You can ask them as a favor or offer them a special discount when they leave a review.

Now that you have the online creds that you need, new customers will find you and realize that your business can be trusted. And just think, you did all of this for free.

Isn’t it great to know that you can market your business yourself and bring in new customers—all from creating a new local business listing at FindUsLocal.com?

What is a Free Business Directory—and How Can It Get Your Local Business Ranked?

Running a small, local business is nothing like it used to be. If you think back to just 10 years ago, you could still rely on offline marketing techniques like taking out a page in the Yellow Pages, running ads n the local newspaper, or making sure local customers had your printed coupons to tempt them to visit your store.

But these days, consumers bypass all those old school marketing techniques and instead look online when they want find US local businesses.

But what if you don’t have an online presence? Chances are, most of your competitors do and when consumers want to “find local businesses near me,” they’ll end up visiting their store.

Luckily, being found on the internet, isn’t all that difficult, and you don’t have to build an expensive website to do it. That’s because small business directories are the new online Yellow Pages, and their information is listed in digital format.

In other words, when people want information about local, small businesses they go to free business directories.

What is an Online Business Directory Website?

A free business directory USA is a special search engine that is designed to help consumers find local businesses near them. It operates just like a large search engine on the internet, but instead of including a lot of national chains, articles about the topic and other irrelevant websites in the listings, a free business directory only shows you the local stores in your area related to your search.

For example, if you search for a seafood restaurant in Los Angeles, California, you would only see the business names, addresses and phone numbers for local sea food restaurants. The same holds true when you search for local stores and services businesses. Want to find a plumber in San Antonio, Texas? Use free online business listings to find them. Need a dress shop for that perfect dress? Free business directories are you answer.

How to Create Free Online Business Listings for Your Local Business

If you want to be found online by all those local shoppers looking for a business just like yours, don’t worry. You won’t have to spend hours on the project, or a lot of money. In fact, quality business directories like FindUsLocal.com are free and you can create your local business listing in under 10 minutes.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Learn the difference between online databases and true local business directories. Not all business directories are the same, and in order to be the most benefits from listing on one, you need to make sure you choose the right ones. Look for a small business directory that offers more to consumers than just a database of outdated local listings. For example, FindUsLocal offers local news, a live stream of upcoming events, and the opportunity for both consumers and business owners to leave live comments on a local business listings. Sites like these keep shoppers come back time and time to the site to find local businesses.
  • Pay attention to the details in your free local listing. When you create your free small business listing, pay attention to the details and ensure that you enter them exactly the same on each and every business listing. If you don’t, it will confuse the search engine spiders and some of the local citations you create won’t be attributed to your business. In short, enter your business name, address, phone number, and website URL exactly the same on all the free small business listings you create.
  • Drive people to your local listing by adding new content. When you drive people to your local business listing, it makes the search engine spiders sit up and take notice—and that results in a higher search engine ranking. You can drive people to your local listing by asking them to leave reviews, or communicating with your community directly by leaving live comments on your business listing. The more you interact with your community, the higher your search engine rankings will be.

Free business directories are not only the best way to increase your search engine rankings, but they’re also a great way to digitally interact with the shoppers in your community. If you haven’t already created yours, why not head over to FindUsLocal.com now, and spend 10 minutes designing your free business listing?

Local Business News is Mixed—Where Will Your Store Fall?

maxresdefault (1)If you’ve read the news lately, you’ve seen all the reports of the retail store closings across the nation. And along with all the national chains that are calling it quits, a lot small, local retail shops have shuttered their doors too. But not all of the experts hold a negative opinion of the future of retail. Here are surprising facts in the midst of all the bad news:

  • One study shows that a majority—75 percent in fact—of consumers say that if given the chance, they would prefer to shop in their retail stores rather than buy their products online.
  • Moody’s rated local businesses, and the report says that despite all the store closings, only about 16 percent of them are in dire straights financially. The remainder of them are “fundamentally healthy.”

What the News Means for Your Business

With the mixed reports about local businesses, it makes sense that you would do all you to ensure that you don’t fall into the 16 perfect of local shops that have to close its doors. And here’s the thing: most experts agree that if you simply make a few changes, you can ensure the success of your local business. And the biggest change you’ll have to make is how to go after new business. In other words, you will need to change the way you try to attract new customers.

Local Business Directories are the Answer

For so long, local business owners have used their local community to tell people about their business. They have spent money on ads to make sure they’re seen when people open the phone book, or take out large display ads in the local newspaper. But the sad truth is that people just don’t look to either of those places any more when they want to find USA local businesses. Instead, they log on and look online for the local shops and restaurants they want to visit.

That means unless you have an online presence, you’re missing out on an awful lot of business. And that’s where many of the problems arise. You see, up until now, an online presence was a luxury for local shop owners and many of them still think that way. But the truth is, being seen online is now a necessity for any local business that wants to thrive in today’s internet culture.

And local business directories like Find US Local offer local business owners the opportunity to have an online presence—for free.

Why Consumers Love Local Business Directories

For starters, online local business directories allow consumers to easily find US local businesses without all the hassles they encounter when trying to find them on major search engines. For example, if they were looking for a local flooring company on a large search engine they would see national chains and online flooring stores, along with a lot of articles about flooring. But when looking on a local business directory, they would only find the local flooring retailers in their community.

And in addition to this ease of use, they’ll find other cool features on local business directories like FindUsLocal.com, too. Here are just a few:

  • Local News. It can be tough to find all of the local news on one website, but local business directories like FindUsLocal offers up a fresh serving of daily local news to consumers. That’s why so many of them check in at least once a day to find out what’s going on in their community.
  • Local Events. For people who like to keep up with the sporting events, music concerts and theatrical plays and other performances, local business directories are the one place they can get all the information in one place. Find US Local offers a live stream of all the events coming to a visitor’s area—along with a link where they can purchase tickets with the press of a button.
  • Reviews. Most people these days wouldn’t even think about doing business with a local shop or restaurant without first reading some reviews left by other people in the community. And local business directories are the perfect place to read those reviews. And in addition to reviews, local business directories like Find US Local allow consumers to leave comments about the business, and for the business owners to respond to them. This two way communication is a vital part of today’s marketing.
  • Details. Finally, people like to use local business directories to find all the details they need about the local businesses they want to visit. For instance, they’ll find the address and a map with directions, a phone number, reviews, and any other information the owner believes is important.

Staying current with today’s marketing trends is the best way to ensure that your local shop, service business, or restaurant will continue to serve you community for years to come. And your first step is to ensure that you have a business listing on quality local business directories like FindUsLocal.com. Why not take this important online advertising step now and find out how it can bring in new customers to your shop?

 

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.

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.

2 Things You can Do Right Now to Boost Your Local Business Listings

local-business-blog-375x270Local business owners across the nation are looking for ways to boost their business as more and more consumers are turning to online stores to fill their needs. But a recent study shows that local business owners shouldn’t give up when it comes to attracting local consumers to their business. The study shows that of all the people surveyed, a full 75 percent of them prefer to shop locally. So, what’s the disconnect? After all, thousands of stores are closing in our nation. There is one key difference between those stores that are thriving—despite the growth of online retail stores—and those that are shuttering their doors.

Local Business Directories are the Difference Between Success and Failure

There is one thing successful local business owners do that others don’t: they create business listings on local business directories like FindUsLocal.com. Online local business directories make it easy for people to find US local businesses because they don’t have to wade through all of the irrelevant results that come up in the major search engines. For example, if you were looking for an Indian restaurant on a major search engine, you would likely see recipes and other similar things in the results. But if you searched for Indian restaurant on a local business directory, you would only see a listing of all the Indian restaurants in your area.

So, as a local business owner, how do you ensure that your local business listing will be seen by those people in your community who are looking for a shop or eatery like yours? Here are 2 tips that help people find your business.

Set up Your Local Business Listing Correctly to Get the Best Results

When creating your local business listing, it’s important to do it in a way that will give you the best results so it will come up in the search engine results. You see, the large search engines use spiders to scour the internet and find all of the local business listings for your business, and when you have more than one, it increases the chances of your business listing showing up in the results. For example, if you create a business listing on both Yelp! And FindUsLocal.com, it will make it more likely that when someone tries to find US local businesses in your area, yours will be seen.

But when you create multiple local business listings, you’ll need to make sure they’re exactly the same on every local business directory that you use. For example, your business name, address, phone number, and website address must match exactly—otherwise the search engine spiders won’t recognize the listings as yours and all your hard work will have been for nothing.

Make Sure you Do This Very Important Thing

After you’ve properly set up your local business listings, it’s time to make those listings work to the benefit of your business, and one of the best things you can do to ensure that is to ask your customers to leave online reviews on them. Not sure why this is so important? Here are some results from a recent study showing just how important local reviews are for your business.

  • 90 percent of the people asked in one study say that they need to read about 10 reviews before making a decision about whether or not they will buy from a local shop or restaurant. That means you should constantly ask your customers to leave reviews on your local business listing to build up as many reviews as you can get.
  • The reason you need to consistently ask your customers to leave reviews is because of those surveyed, 73 percent say they ignore online reviews that are 3 month old or older. Be sure to make it a habit to ask for reviews in order to overcome this obstacle.
  • If you’re still not convinced that having online reviews is important, the survey shows that 74 percent of the people surveyed say that when they see that a local business has good online reviews, it makes them want to do business with it. And even more important is the fact that 58 percent of those surveyed say that when a business has good online reviews, it causes them to visit that eatery, shop, or service business.
  • Are you wondering how in the world you’re going to get your customers to leave reviews on your online local business listing? According to the study, it’s not that difficult. In fact, 7 out of 10 people surveyed say that they would leave a review for a local business when asked.
  • Finally, if you’re still not convinced of the importance of local business listings, 84 percent of the people surveyed say that they place just as much importance on online reviews as they do a personal recommendation from a friend or family member. Now that is a statistic that’s hard to argue with!

If you’re a retail local business owner who is struggling to figure out how to thrive in our new online economy, the above two tips are a great place to start. Begin by creating a business listing on an online business directory like FindUsLocal.com. Make sure to use the same information on all of your listings, and then ask your customers to go there and leave online reviews. Once you’ve taken these two steps, you’ll quickly reap the benefits of having a great online presence.