As a small business, doing all your online marketing by yourself can be very challenging. You must build and market your website to build your audience, send out email newsletters to engage customers, and utilize social media to increase awareness.
Having just a company website isn’t enough to get found through the search engines. The “if you build it, they will come” mantra doesn’t apply for most small business websites.
Your potential local customers are constantly conducting quick searches on online directories. These directories not only have substantial brands/marketing budgets to drive traffic, but they also rank well in the search engines for your most important search terms. So even if you can’t get your website ranked high for a specific search term, you can appear on the local directory site that ranks for that term.
Listing your business on these 5 local online directories can really help you generate more customers:
Since over 80% of searches are conducted through Google, you need to make this directory number one on your list. Your Google Places page allows you to control what information Google has and presents to searchers about your business. You can fill in your Places page with information like a description, images, hours of operation, and contact information.
Bing Places for Business is another local directory that gives you all the tools you need to easily and quickly manage your reputation and find local customers online. Enrich your business listing with compelling online content like photos, specialties and services on the second largest search engine.
A free Yahoo Basic Listing helps customers get your business’s contact information, including address, phone number, and URL. Simple to create and easy to manage, the Yahoo Basic Listing can be a first step if you’re just starting out online. They also offer paid plans that give you additional benefits like enhanced listings, special offers, and analytics.
Best for word-of-mouth, Yelp Business Accounts offer a suite of free tools for local businesses. Communicate with your customers – privately and publicly. Track how many people view your business page. Add photos, a detailed business description, up-to-date information, history, and specialties. Recommend other local businesses and build your audience with co-marketing.
Manta’s free business directory is one of the fastest growing small business resources in the United States. Not only is it a local directory for you to claim and promote your business, but Manta also centers around connecting its community of small businesses with one another, perfect for expanding reach. They also offer a paid plan with additional features and benefits.
Other great local directory listing opportunities
Don’t forget to pick the low-hanging social media fruit of LinkedIn, Facebook, and Foursquare. There are more businesses utilizing these outlets than ever before so make sure you’re competing on them locally!
Getting listed on these local directories is a great way to maximize your online marketing results and expose your business to more potential local customers, but you should not stop there.
Make sure you’re also building co-marketing partnerships to build relevant inbound links to your website and optimizing your pages with your most valuable keywords using a tool like BoostSuite.
Have you ever listed your website on any of these local directories? What was your experience with them? Do you recommend any others that weren’t included in this article? Let’s hear them in the comments! Thanks!