Local listing services are a great way to provide business information via search engines. These directories publish contact information and driving directions to help consumers locate local businesses.
Consumers use local listing directories to find restaurants, retail stores, gas stations, manufacturers, and service providers. They are particularly useful for helping people unfamiliar with the area to locate businesses. Companies that take time to learn how to utilize these directories can attract new customers and increase sales.
Although an abundance of listing directories exist, it is wise to spend time researching the most popular venues and locate ones suited to the type of business being advertised. Publishing information to a variety of directories is a time-consuming process, but benefits are worth the effort.
Most directories require companies to publish their business address, phone number, website URL, email address, and hours of operation. Once published, driving directions and maps are provided. Some directories include links to nearby businesses and the option for customers to write reviews.
Companies often begin by publishing to major local listing services such as Yahoo Local Listings, Bing Local, and Google Places. Other established directories include: SuperPages, CitySquares, MojoPages, Yelp, and Local.com.
Another popular venue is directories focused on providing driving directions to GPS navigation system subscribers such as Telematics and OnStar, as well as 411 directory assistance providers.
Many companies also utilize directories offering mobile search apps for Smartphones. Blackberry subscribers use ‘Beyond 411’ to obtain local listings, while users of Android phones often turn to Google’s ‘Places Directory’.
Companies can fully embrace local listings by purchasing a universal business listing. UBLs distribute company information to each of the major directories for an annual fee. These include: Google, Yahoo, Bing, Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, mobile search for Blackberry and Android, TV web browsing, and in-car search.
Companies using UBLs should plan on verifying information published at each local listing directory to ensure accuracy. Employees of directory service providers transpose information to each directory and while rare, mistakes can happen. Companies need to act quickly when erroneous information is found because listings are quickly populated amongst search engines.
If companies relocate to a new facility they will need to undergo the publication process from the start. One solution to ease time requirements to publish, verify, or change information is to hire an online marketing company to oversee the project.
Marketing companies can help with a variety of advertising strategies. Most offer discount rates to businesses that bundle services together. Implementing multiple online marketing strategies can provide a better return on investment.
Working with advertising professionals can ensure directory listings are search engine optimized to provide maximum results. Marketing professionals can also help business owners review marketing strategies and develop plans to ensure campaigns reach target markets and provide desired results.
It is best to implement marketing plans that focus on consistently publishing to local listing directories, as well as include a follow-up plan. Companies that take time to understand how to utilize listing directories can dominate their niche and attract new customers for minimal cost.