Local Business Directories - The Ultimate Guide
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New and established businesses should understand the importance of online advertising. More and more people are switching their televisions off and using the Worldwide Web to satisfy their entertainment needs, hence why there are now so many companies advertising on the web. Amazingly though, many people who own small to medium sized businesses don’t believe in online advertising, which is both strange and understandable. You have to remember that people over a certain age once lived in a society that didn’t have the internet. If a young person today started their own business they would open multiple social media accounts and use them to their advantage, advertising their products and services in a proactive manner. They would also look for other opportunities to advertise their business. Older pre internet business owners seem to have an issue with this, which is bizarre in reality. Surely it makes sense to advertise your business and services as much as possible?

There are numerous online directories and they offer individuals the opportunity to promote their businesses. Obviously some of them are higher authority than others, but even the directories lower down the chain provide you with a link and more exposure. So long as you take the time to build a high quality listing it will still work in your favour. On the other hand, some directories give you the opportunity to really promote your business and it would be almost foolish to ignore them. For instance, if your competitors advertise with them, you’ll be handing them extra custom because they’re more proactive when it comes to marketing. So long as you follow a few simple rules, you’ll be able to increase your online presence, promote your business in a professional manner and potentially increase your profits.

Choose your budget and marketing strategy

Just because you’re a small business, it doesn’t mean that you should have a small marketing strategy. You can set yourself a reasonably sensible budget and still make an impact. If you’re budget is set and you won’t go over it, then you should think about putting almost all of it into online marketing. It makes sense to have business cards, but it doesn’t really make sense anymore to send flyers through letterboxes or take out newspaper/magazine advertising as no one really takes notice of it. You should find as many business directories as possible and submit a listing to them. Some of the high end directories will try and get you to sign up for different things that will ‘help’ your business. This is often nothing but money down the drain. Be cautious of directories that promise to increase your turnover but then ask you to sign up on a monthly deal. It will almost always be money wasted. Nearly all directories will allow you to submit for free, but that will often only allow you a basic listing. Some directories will ask for a relatively small yearly fee, but this will allow you to build a high quality listing that can be edited as many times as you like. You must remember that some ‘free’ directories will allow you to submit, but they will try and charge you a fee when you attempt to change your details.

List with as many directories as possible and get decent coverage across the Worldwide Web. This is a really good starting point for marketing your business.

Who is your target audience?

When marketing your business, you should take a closer look at what you’re selling and who your target audience is. For instance, if you sell something that is very niche, then you should look at more niche advertising opportunities. You have to remember, though, that if you are selling something that isn’t ‘the norm’ then advertising with as many business directories as possible will probably give you an edge. Your business listing pages will rank much easier in the major search engines and will therefore be found more quickly – this will give you a clear advantage over competitors when potential customers are searching for your products and using important keywords.

Expected return on marketing investment

If you’re a new business and you have a marketing strategy, then you have to be realistic and understand that you may not get any initial return. It’s rather annoying when you see big companies advertising in the most unprofitable ways. They can afford to do this as it costs them nothing when compared to the profits they make. They simply do it to stay ahead of their competitors and keep the brand firmly imprinted in your mind. This is an impossible strategy if you’re a new or small business. You have to get value for your marketing and you have to start from the bottom. You only need to remember one simple word: quality. No matter what method you use to advertise your business just make sure you put all your efforts into it. If you list with all the business directories and you submit sloppy listings that don’t promote your business effectively, they firstly won’t rank properly in the search engines and secondly, people will look at it and think sloppy business and nor what I want.

To get back to expected return, as already stated don’t expect a return immediately. You have to think more long term. As a new business or an existing small to medium sized business, if you’re using online advertising for the first time, you’ll have to give your marketing plan time to bed in and show a return. Just don’t allow certain business directories to suck you in with the hard sell because you’re desperate to increase business. They want to make profit just as you do and they pray on this. They will promise you the earth and before you know it, you’ll be signed up to some marketing plan that will never show a return. It makes more sense to start at the bottom and work your way up. If your business becomes a success and you have money to burn, then you can afford to pay for online advertising that will give almost no return but keep your brand in front of everyone and in front of your competitors.

Do your research because there are some great directories out there that offer real marketing solutions for small money. The smaller more obscure directories will provide you with a link and you will rank for certain keywords searches. The medium sized directories could provide you with a hidden gem because if you submit a really high quality listing it could rank very well and provide your website with more traffic and potentially more business. Submit with the big directories and you will have respect from the search engines and rankings, though you must be prepared for constant hard sell tactics.

It may be worth speaking to people who have already listed with certain business directories to see what they offer in terms of service and results. It’s always good to hear it right from the horse’s mouth.

Use the Search engines

All businesses no matter their size should use the major search engines to optimise their online presence. You can register your business with the search engines and it means that when people search for you all the important information will be displayed nicely and seen easily. This will give your website more power in the search engine itself and in the search results.

This also helps if you have listings with business directories. If you have submitted your business to Google and you appear on the right hand side of the search results and the information matches up with the information you have inputted into the business directories, then those pages will be found much easier by potential customers. The major search engines will also give your website more authority because it has high quality links coming in from respected websites to your own site.

Street Talk

Thanks for sharing your insights about business directories.

  about 6 years ago
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