5 Easy Steps to Use the Power of Online Directories

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5 Easy Steps to Use the Power of Online  Directories Powered By Docstoc
					Online business directories are fast becoming the information hub of local customers
searching for local businesses. Local customers are resigning their old, brittle print
directories to the storage bin and turning to their computer and Smartphone to locate
the best local business in town that caters to their needs.
  A survey in the United Kingdom shows that approximately 20 million local
customers each month is turning to online business directories to search for local
products, services, or businesses. The behavior of local consumers is changing.
Clearly print directories are no longer working for local consumers; they 鈥檙 e
switching to an online business directory for faster, better, and detailed search result.
The limited information on a yellow page is fast becoming obsolete against the more
detailed local search engine marketing tools like local business directories. These
directories can list not just the description of your business but also your business
鈥?opening hours, price listings, location map, and even your photo or your office or
store photo.
  Online business directories, including the hundreds of free business directories,
permit for these extra details to be added to your business directory listing. It 鈥檚
the local businesses who make the most of this chance that are inviting new
customers.
  There are literally hundreds of paid-for and free online business directories out there.
But how do you know which ones are the best and what 鈥檚 the key to perfecting
your listing so you stand out from your rival businesses without having to dish some
amount of money?
  5 Quick Steps to perfecting your online business directory listing
  1. Pick the most popular and relevant directories for your business
  The best online directories are those that have the most number of online visitors or
those that are industry-specific. But a word of caution 鈥攏 ot all niche or free
directory listing fit the bill; some have few to nonexistent user base. A quick search on
Google will tell you which ones are worth your time and ones to ditch entirely. Search
on Google your 鈥渂 usiness type 鈥?plus 鈥測 our location 鈥? e.g., 鈥渁 ccountant
in Leeds 鈥? Those local business directories that appear on the first 3 search results
pages are the ones to focus. (Check the online business directory comparison chart to
see which directories have the most number of audiences: comparison of top UK
online business directories.)
  2. Add your business to all directories
  From the list you got on step one, add or claim your business to all of them. Many
local business directories buy their listing data from a provider, so don 鈥檛 be
surprised if you find your business already listed on some of them. For future success,
it 鈥檚 very important to list the correct name of your business, address, and phone
number 鈥攔 eview your business 鈥?existing list if the information is accurate.
  Note: check for a confirmation email from each directory in your inbox; follow the
steps on the confirmation email to complete your registration.
  3. List as much information on your local business directory listing as allowed
  The beauty of online business directory listings is that you can list not just the name,
address, and phone number of your business, you can enrich your listing with more
details like business description, clickable website URL, facilities, list of services,
logos, opening hours, pictures, etc. Use this opportunity fully to personalize your
listing to make it more relatable to your customers. Review the information you
entered to make sure it 鈥檚 100% correct and true to each local directories.
  4. Make or use a local Special Offer Voucher
  Nothing can be faster to convert browsers into actual buyers than offering vouchers
or coupons on your local business directory listing. Local consumers are paying
attention to the word 鈥渇 ree 鈥?or 鈥渟 pecial offer 鈥? your business listing will
stand out against your rivals if you have these words added. You don 鈥檛 have to
offer heaven and earth to your customers; any form of offer is good enough to get
customers to walk into the door than nothing at all.
  Tip: use different voucher codes on each directory so that you can monitor which
directories are giving you the most number of walk in visits.
  5. Interact with the communities on these directories
  Online directories are dynamic websites with vibrant, active community of users.
These users or local customers are actively rating and reviewing the listed local
businesses they use, and these ratings and reviews are visible to other directory users.
In fact, 70% of consumers trust online business reviews 鈥攂 usiness directories know
this so that they 鈥檙 e pushing up local businesses with positive reviews higher on
search results. This is yet another small business marketing strategy you can use. Do
either of these to rank your business listing:
  a) Ask your existing, loyal customers to go online and leave a positive review about
your business;
  b) Participate with communities on directories and encourage them to visit and test
your business or organize an 鈥榚 vent 鈥?at your office, shop, or store just for them.
  Never try to 鈥榖 ribe 鈥?people to review your business, though, as this can
backfire on you and can generate lots of negative comments which you don 鈥檛
want (obviously!).
  Online business directories offer a great opportunity for all types of local businesses
to win new customers. The process of updating and managing your business listings
across multiple online directories is very time consuming. In business, time is money
and you can save both using a multi-directory listing service such as DirectoryRunner
from BrightLocal.com. DirectoryRunner allows you to manage and update all your
online directory listings in 1-place.

				
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posted:2/18/2011
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