If you run a local business, chances are your experience has changed in the past decade. With the emergence of big online sites like Amazon, local shops are having to up their game. In fact, many local shops have gone out of business in the past few years. Is it because people don’t like to shop locally anymore? No, it’s because they didn’t make use of local business directories.
Do People Still Shop Locally?
Contrary to popular belief, most people still like to visit their local stores and interact with the people who run them. Yes, people do like to buy a lot of their things online, but they don’t like to shop online exclusively.
There is something special about walking into a store and talking to the local business owners and salespeople. And people will always want to combine online shopping with going to their local stores.
So, if your business is hurting, it’s not because people aren’t shopping in local stores anymore. It’s because they don’t know how to find you.
Local Business Directories: Are They the Answer?
Here’s a question: if people don’t know how to find your local business, what can you do to change that? Enter local business directories.
In the past, people used the Yellow Pages to find local businesses. But since the world has gone online, the way people find local businesses has changed. If you want to find a local shop today, you go to the online Yellow Pages: local business directories.
What Are Local Business Directories?
Local Business Directories are websites that host a large database of all the local businesses in the country. They are categorized by city and state, and each business is represented by a list of facts. These facts are pulled from online citations all over the web, but not all of them are right.
And if the facts about your business aren’t updated and correct, it can actually hurt your search engine ranking position.
When a visitor logs onto a local business directory like FindUsLocal.com, they are instantly shown a customized home page. The page shows results from the city or town they’re logging on from. For instance, if someone visited FindUsLocal.com from Los Angeles, California, they would see the following on the home page:
- The local news from the area
- The weather from Los Angeles
- A few jokes and fun facts
- Events in the area, such as sporting events, plays and theatre events, and concerts.
- Live social media from the area
- Live comments from business owners and customers in the Los Angeles area about the local businesses in the area
The reason visitors see all the local events, weather, and news from their area is because sites like FindUsLocal use GEO location technology. This software automatically tracks visitors when they log onto the site. And in seconds, the site understands where the visitor is and shows them the results from the area.
This sets up the visitor to feel at home on the local business directory. Once they’ve explored the home page, they can begin looking for the local businesses they want to shop at.
How to Find Local Businesses on a Local Directory
The next step in the process is to find local businesses in your area. The visitor uses the search engine bar on the right side of the local business directory. For instance, on FindUsLocal.com, it’s on the top right side. They enter keywords to help them find the local businesses they want.
For instance, if they are looking for a furniture store, they could type in “furniture store” into the search engine bar. Next, a list of all the furniture stores is presented in a list. The visitor will see all of the furniture stores and can click on each one. When they do, they will see all of the unique details of that business such as its name, address, and phone number. If they like what they see, they will likely visit that business.
How to List Your Business on a Local Business Directory
If you’re ready to create a free local business listing, you should know that there is a right and wrong way to do it. If you do it the right way, your business will experience increased traffic and other benefits such as a robust social proof and even enhanced interactions with your customers.
But set up your local business listing the wrong way and it could cause your local business to all but disappear on the search engine rankings.
Here’s the best way to set up your free local business listing:
Find the right local business directory
Your first step in creating a free local business listing is to decide which local business directory you want to use. It’s important to choose a credible local directory. Why? Because when the search engines crawl the site and find your listing, they will give you credit for a local citation. But unless the citation is with a credible local business directory, it won’t go very far in helping you move up in the search engine results. For instance, FindUsLocal.com is a credible directory that is absolutely free.
The more local citations you have, the better are your local search engine result rankings.
Decide on your details
The next step in the process is to take a good look at your business and decide how you want to present it to the world. For instance, let’s start with your business name. Imagine that your business name is Jamie’s Tables, Inc. You have two choices when it comes to creating your free local business listing. You can list your business as Jamie’s Tables, Inc., or as Jamie’s Tables.
It doesn’t matter which one you select, but it is crucial that if you create more than one local business listing, you list your business name the exact same way on each one of them.
The same is true for your business address. For example, if your business is located at 123 Main Street, you also have a few choices to how you show your address. You can list it as 123 Main Street, 123 Main St, or just 123 Main. And as long as you list it the same way on every local business listing that you create, it will help your rankings.
Finally, your phone number is just as important. Some people choose to list their business phone number with the area code, while others leave it off. As long as you list it the same way on every local business directory you’re in, you’ll get those important citations and up your ranking in the search engine rankings.
Finally, after you have created your free local business listings, it’s time to put them to good use. To do that, you will need to begin pointing people toward them so they can interact with them. There are two main ways to do this so that you will get the social proof you need to reap more business from the local business directory.
Here are the things you should do once your local business listings are live:
You need reviews
Have you noticed that almost no one visits a new business anymore unless they’ve first read some good online reviews about that business? It’s true. Today’s customers rely on online reviews to decide whether or not to visit a local business.
But what happens if you don’t have online reviews? You will likely miss out on a lot of new business.
To remedy this, ask your customers to leave online reviews for your local business. You can ask them as they are checking out in your store, or you can print flyers with the request and leave them on the counters in your store.
Communication is key
Another thing you can do to draw attention to your free local business listing is to communicate in live time with the people of your community. FindUsLocal.com is the only local business directory to offer live comments—and it’s a major win for local business owners.
The way it works is this: business owners can leave live comments about their business, and every visitor from that areas will see the live stream of those comments on their home page. For example, if you leave a comment announcing a flash sale, all the visitors to the home page of that city or town will read about the sale.
But the comments work both ways. Customers can also leave live comments that are seen on the home page. They can leave comments about a nice salesperson who helped them, or tell others about a great sale they found at a local business.
Is Your Local Business Listing Set up?
If you haven’t already set up your free local business listing, don’t you think it’s time? It’s only takes a minute and it could be the beginning of a rash of new customers visiting your store. Go to FindUsLocal.com now and claim your business. Who knows? You may get your first new customer by the end of the day!