Consumers continue to go online to research products or services in their local area. By having a complete, accurate and engaging online local listing in search engines and online directories, you can help attract customers to your website—and through your door—for little or no cost.
Follow these steps to help create a compelling online local listing.
Claim and verify your listing. Search engines and online directories use information from a variety of sources to compile business information. Unless your business is brand new, it probably already has a listing, though you may want to update the information that's included. Claiming your listing on a search engine or in a local search product like YP.com™ enables you to provide additional details that can help customers find you and learn about your offerings. In most search engine listings and online directories, simply searching for your business name brings up a link inviting you to update your information.
Add key information. Carefully consider the details that make it easy for customers to do business with you. Some key ones include hours of operation, accepted forms of payment, and public transportation access. Including these details can help to ensure that people get to your door.
Select the right category. To be sure your business appears when people search for the goods and services you offer, categorize your business properly. Most search engines and directories let you select multiple categories to reflect your offerings (e.g., "restaurant" and "catering" or "dog daycare" and "pet supplies"), which can help you capture a broader range of customers.
Sell your offerings. Let customers know what is special about your business by emphasizing your strengths. Years in business, area of focus and service policies are a few of the most powerful ones to consider. Also promote your victories and enhancements. If you update your menu, include it (or a link to it) in your listing. If you win an award or add more parking spaces, take the opportunity to announce it.
Use visuals. Offer a personal touch and help your business stand out with photos and videos of your business. Some local listing sites allow you to add up to 10 photos and 5 videos, which you can update as needed to showcase new products, highlight renovations, or educate viewers about new services.
Include offers and discounts. Entice prospects to buy by adding discounts or special offers, such as a free consultation. Mobile users may run across your offer simply by searching for deals near them, drawing them to your business while they are already out and about.
Encourage reviews. Since word of mouth is one of the best types of advertising, asking happy customers to review or rate your business can help generate positive buzz and bring in new customers. Solicit reviews by posting a sign in your place of business, contacting your social media followers, or asking them directly. Be sure to specify the search engine or directory where you would like them to post their reviews.
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