Have you noticed the number of commercials being run by high-profile tier one companies and websites that are in the local listing industry?
For example you may have seen TV commercials for Angie’s List, SuperMedia, Yellow Book, and of course AT&T. If you add Internet advertising that includes but not limited to Google, Yahoo, Bing, Merchant Circle, Yelp and Citysearch many others, you have to start wondering how all these websites can attract a finite number of businesses and visitors to use their website. The other more significant question is how a business will manage their local business listing at all the local listing websites?
History of Local Business Listings
As a business, if you have not kept up with the evolution of local business listings you will need a quick primer to know where things started and where things are today.
The origins go back to the early 1990s when search engines had directories listing businesses by categories in addition to their basic search results. These basic business listings gave way to business directories giving the business the opportunity to add more information to their business. Of course, while this evolution was taking place so did having the yellow pages on the web. Business directories then gave way to the idea of rating a business with companies like Angie’s List, Merchant Circle and Yelp in social communities. In 2007 business listings began showing up in search engines and consumer reviews were already showing up in these local business listings.
So, in summary, a local business listing is a combination of yellow pages information, business description, business marketing information, consumer ratings and consumer reviews.
Local Business Listings as Interactive Yellow Pages
Calling these listings a business directory does not do them justice considering all the content that is available. Not only is this about getting your business marketing information into these listings, but they also become mini-websites for your business and more importantly allow consumers to quantitatively rate and subjectively provide commentary about their experience with the business, products and services.
Local business listing websites that are social communities allow customers and consumers to collaborate. We are distinguishing between customers being B2B and consumers being B2C. We will discuss B2B customer comments in a future article.
Live social communities that provide location based services like Four Square, Twitter and Facebook create instantaneous feedback to friends, family and followers alike. This collaboration not only allows for ratings and comments, but the information is posted permanently. This will require a business to ask satisfied customers to post commentary and manage those postings that are negative…..at multiple local listing websites.
Manage Your Local Business Listings Everywhere!
Unlike the traditional yellow pages where business information was located in a single source, the Internet lets business information be found everywhere. With so many sources, it becomes imperative for a business to stay on top of its information, description, marketing materials and consumer reviews at various local listing websites.
If you wonder why, the answer is simple. Your business information shows up in search engine results, mobile search results and is available to mobile application developers for mobile apps. Since you don’t know what source your local customers or mobile application developers are using, you need a way to manage many sources simultaneously.
Select a Company to Help
Whether we are talking about website local optimization, local business listings, mobile marketing or geo-social marketing, a business needs proper support to succeed in this new era of local business marketing. You need a partner with experience and expertise in multiple digital marketing fields and can adapt to the progression of new technologies that will become available over the next few years.
Some key elements for a company to provide local business listing marketing services include:
- Claim your local listing at multiple local listing websites
- Providing both data and marketing services
- Update your basic business data information monthly
- Update and manage your business marketing information that include photos, videos, coupons, offers, discounts, and events monthly
- Consumer review monitoring and management monthly
- Analytics review of local business listings analytics and the appropriate changes to your local business listings monthly
- Expertise in Mapping Technologies and GPS
Subscribe to SEJ
Get our weekly newsletter from SEJ's Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!