Whether it’s a professional office, a pizza joint or an adult home-care center, your job is to get it prominently listed online. But what you’re really after are phone calls, walk-ins, appointments and sales. That’s what this little local Internet marketing guide is all about. Put these five steps into action and you’ll have your local marketing efforts off to a very good start. Get ready for the phone to ring, the lobby to fill up and for your reputation and sales to greatly improve.
1. Run a Local Report
Yext is a local marketing leader and the website will allow you to run a report that shows you everywhere your business is listed online. Enter your business name, address and phone number (known in local marketing circles as your NAP) and the report will be run. From Yahoo! to Facebook to Bing to Yellow Pages, you’ll be able to see exactly where and how your business appears on the Internet, and where any errors may exist.
2. Fix the Big Three
Before you begin visiting the various directories to fix your business listings, visit the following three websites first: Acxiom, Localeze and Express USA. These are considered the top three directories online. Most of the Internet directories — from Super Pages to White Pages to Merchant Circle — get their information from one or more of the big three. That is why it is crucial to fix your listings on these sites before you go down the extensive list of directories on your Yext report.
3. Verify Listings, Rinse and Repeat
When adding or repairing your listings to the big three, and then on all of the other directories, consistency is the name of the game. Your NAP, URL, business categories and other information (otherwise known as citations) should be the same across the board. This is known as citation consistency.
For example, if you list your address as 2255 Stick Street, you should NOT list it as 2244 Stick St. somewhere else. That can cause the search engines to wonder if those two listings are indeed from the same business, and that confusion could affect where you rank online.
By staying consistent, you can actually boost your search rankings with every directory you correct, allowing you to achieve the local dominance you’re after.
4. Google, Bing and Yahoo!
Speaking of the search engines, while you are fixing and verifying your citations across the various online directories, you will want to add your business to the top three search engines online.
Google, Bing and Yahoo! offer you a free business page that will give you even more visibility online. A Google+ Business page, for instance, is one of the quickest ways to get on Google’s first page for relevant keyword terms, and you’ll automatically get a listing on Google Maps for those using a GPS-enabled device to find a business just like yours.
5. Develop a Website and Populate it With Valuable and Useful Information
When your citations are fixed and you have added your business information to all the directories and top three search engines online, you are then ready to ramp up your efforts.
By now people searching for your types of services online should start calling or walking in. Those people will also probably have questions. Now it’s time to get your website developed and populated with crucial and helpful information so that you can eliminate as many questions as you can. When that happens, anyone who calls or walks-in due to your local marketing efforts will be that much closer to making a purchase decision. It’s how you conduct yourself when that prospect finally contacts you that will determine if that prospect is closed or the opportunity is missed.
With this local marketing guide, your business will go far. So what are you waiting for? Put it into action right now and get ready to meet some brand new customers.