As local business marketing as become a hot topic in the Internet marketing industry, business owners are finding themselves confused about the various types of services that can help them tap into this local marketing tool. Of course additional confusions arise from the variations of service fees too. Let’s take a look at defining these services, the fees and local listings as a marketing tool. This will also shed some light on why there are monthly management fees by the marketing services.
Local Listing Data Services
We have discussed this service in a previous article about companies that provide “get listed” services. What this service provides is to push your business information as data into local listing websites. The entire process is automated through programs known as API’s. There are limitations as to what information can be submitted. They certainly do not allow you to protect your brand by claiming your listing through this process. The claiming process is most important as it allows you to manage your local business listing not only with marketing information, but also consumer reviews. Our argument with this service is that most businesses are already listed and why do you need to get “get listed”? Fees for this service are less than $100 per year
Local Listing Marketing Services
This type of service is the service that will allow you to use your local business listing as a local marketing tool to reach the local consumers through web searches and mobile searches most effectively. Because this service is a combination of automation and manual labor the fees are higher and range with one time setups to ongoing monthly management fees. Here are some of the services that are included with local business listing marketing services.
One question you should ask yourself. Do you have the time resources to manage this marketing tool at multiple local listing websites? This will certainly help answer if you need help with this process.
1. It is important to claim your listing at multiple local listing websites. If the marketing service is only with Google, then you are missing out at a variety of other sources ling Bing, Ask, City Search, Local.com, Yelp, Yahoo, Merchant Circle and many others. Consumers and mobile application developers will decide which website they will use for local business listing reviews and data. Google is not the powerhouse in this case.
2. Claim your listing to protect your brand from being hijacked. Claiming is a crucial and important first step with local business listings. If you do not claim the listing at multiple local listing websites you are open to hijackings and having your information re-directed to another business or criminals pursuing the local consumers. This is the part that tends to cause much of the frustrations you read about from business owners on the web.
3. Update your listing with your business marketing information to include not only text copy for web searches and mobile searches, but categories, photos, coupons, videos, images, etc. Because this information changes throughout the year (particularly your coupons, offers, discounts and events) the monthly management service will help insure everything is update to date at multiple locations.
4. Clean-up mis-matched data. Because local listing websites get their data from multiple sources, businesses are finding that there are multiple listings for a single address of their business. Deleting or merging these listings is an important process to insure the duplicates are not hijacked or consumers posting reviews in a listing that is not monitored.
5. Monitor your consumer reviews. Your customers have already been posting their reviews about you at multiple local listing websites. Monitoring and subsequently managing these reviews at multiple local listing websites for local public relations is an important process and one that will be new to most local businesses. This is also included with most local listing marketing services within their monthly management fee.
6. Citations are in important step in this process to have your listing ranked higher on web searches amongst the listings next to the map. This is not always included in the lower priced marketing services and an addition to be considered as this industry and marketing tool evolves and matures in the upcoming years.
Future technologies will make local business listings more effective as a local business marketing tool. QR Codes, mobile applications, mobile coupons and other technologies will have to be managed for the local business to insure they are being used to be most effective.
Hopefully the above information has helped you at least categorize the different local business listing services between data services and marketing services. The benefits of the marketing services far outweigh the data services and are the most effective to reaching the local consumer.