Using a Local Business Directory Website
With more and more people turning to the internet to look for services and products there is a growing requirement and use of local business directory web sites. The idea behind these is that your customers can search by area and that you as business owners can advertise locally. These directories are a great way to find and or market a business's locally. At a high level the key success factors are:
- For the operators of a local business directory:
- to get people to register their businesses on the directory; and
- to get customers to use the directory when looking for service providers or sellers.
- Advertisers gain benefits from:
- gain exposure for their company; and
- links back to their website, which will improve their search engine rankings.
Advantages of Using a Local Business Directory Website
- These directories allow users to easily locate businesses in their area or State so they are growing in popularity as they will tend to list the individual businesses and set out their specific services or goods on offer. This minimizes the time by locals in finding local suppliers and service providers. However, from a business owner's perspective, the directories are more than creating a way for local people to locate you and hopefully utilise your services. This strategy plays an important part in bringing people to the business website. This type of activity will improve the search engine rankings of that business site as these build inbound links which are taken into account by the search engines. In a nut shell, this results in free traffic and increased SEO rankings.
- Local business directory web sites allow the business owners to update easily and usually frequently, which means that the advertisers are more likely to stay up to date. For example, making changes to location or contact details, or product changes, is easily achieved. Therefore, this medium makes it easy for business users to keep their details up to date, whilst providing current information to potential customers.
- Grow the brand. This method of advertising allows you to grow your brand across many directories but keeps your message and branding the same so that your business is immediately recognised. The use of logo, good text and photos is likely to result in increased traffic, so make your advert appealing.
- These directories also provide a fast and often free or cost effective way to promote your business to internet users within a local or State location. Accordingly, businesses will get the benefit of free traffic, links and in some cases local customers for their goods and services.
- Using a local business directory with links back to the business's own website gives a "local" perspective to your advertising. You promote your business at a local level. Most sites offer some form of free advertising membership / subscription, but you advert time and features are likely to be limited. However, sites like www.hirepulse.com.au allow for free uploading of additional information such as team members, use of business logo, on-line chat functionality, links to Facebook, etc.
- Ideally, the business will target the right market sector within their local vicinity. This can boost your efforts with any local promotions you may run. For example, offering discount coupons to local buyers. Working with other local suppliers to create group / community discounts. This can often by arranged by setting up ‘affiliates' or ‘partners' with other local businesses where each of you refers the other to their existing customer base.
- Local Business Directories can improve a public relations ratings, ie you can increase your local referrals by promoting the fact that you support local clients and other local businesses.
Key Factors to Consider in Registering With a Free Business Directory
- As with all marketing material, your message must be clear and your description must make it easy for your potential customers to find you and to know what you sell or have to offer that differentiates you from your competitors. Make sure that your advert results to a call of action in your visitors. So plan your advert, use your standard branding and keep your messages consistent, if these form part of a larger advertising campaign.
- Remember to include your basic business details – your business name, contact details, web page address, phone number, email account and so on.
- Look at what your competition are doing and make notes about what worked and what did not. Review your own advertising materials to make sure you are not making similar mistakes to those you observed.
- Do your keyword research as they are the key to the business description and directory categories. As a guide, key words should be at the start of the sentence.
- Get feedback on your adverts and monitor those that are working or not working and adjust as required.
- Take time to get the wording of your advert right. You are likely to be constrained by a limited word count if you are using a free local business directory listing, so think about what the important messages are and what can be deleted. Simple tips like making the more important sentences prominent and avoiding text that has minimal return. Make the more important text stand out by including it at the start.
- Identify your unique offering and ensure that this is clear to your readers / potential customers / market.
- Include local customer testimonials where possible. Many local business directors invite ratings and comments. If this is the case, get your happy customers to rank and make positive comments about your service. These are not as effective as testimonials but are good for business. This may also affect your ranking on the site so take care to look at this if offered by the local business directory.
- Include photographs and / or company logos in your advert. This will then help to identify you locally.
- Try searching for your business on the internet and see what comes up once you have completed your registration, as this may change your mind on how to advertise and which key words to use. This is a basic test that many people forget to do, yet it is insightful.