The Power of Local Directories
One of the easiest, lasting ways you can increase your chances of being found by potential customers is to have your business listed in local online directories.
Let’s say you and your friend want to go to try Thai food for the first time. You’ve heard that Thai is similar to Indian food but even more flavorful. You don’t want to drive more than 20-30 minutes out of the way, and you want to make sure that the restaurant you choose serves authentic Thai food. And, you’d like to have an idea of what to expect before you go.
You will probably search for “Thai restaurant” on Google, Bing or Yahoo, depending on your preference. The search results will show you restaurants that are nearby. Once you narrow your choices down to a couple of local options, you can search for more information about each of the individual restaurants.
Some of your results will include a photo of the restaurant, a map of it’s location, the street address, phone number, hours of operation, and possibly a link to the website and menu.
But most of us would consider the most valuable part of the directory listing to be the reviews. If the restaurant has been established for a while or is in a trendy neighborhood, you should expect to find many personal reviews of the cuisine, customer service, authenticity and atmosphere.
Now you have all of the information you need. It was very easily accessible and you were able to find it all in a matter of minutes. Whether you realize it or not, you were persuaded to try one choice over another by the amount and quality of information you found. The restaurant that had the most positive reviews and the greatest number of listings stood out prominently from the others. Isn’t that how you want your potential customers to see your business?
Using local directories as a method to be found
Achieving this goal is fairly simple. Each local directory will ask you to create an account, usually at no cost. You will enter specified information that becomes part of your public local listing. The more pertinent information you can include the better. Make sure that the way you describe the business sounds enticing to your customers. Once you have each listing set up, visitors have the opportunity to rate your business and add reviews. You can encourage participation through social media channels, in local advertising, or at your business location.
What if you work from home? Don’t worry. Most of the local directories allow you to hide the street address from the public. The mapping features will still show your business but only at a nearby intersection. Having a home-based business does not have to exclude you from benefitting from this valuable publicity tool.
What are you waiting for?
Find a long list of local directories at Hubspot’s blog: The Ultimate List: 50 Local Business Directories. Register your business with as many directories as you can. It’s a quick and easy way to maximize your chances of being seen. What are you waiting for?