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Business Directories: Showing Up in Your Local Community
Local forums and directories can be a great resource for boosting your marketing efforts. But, where to start? In this article, we’ll show you a few great options for online forums, as well as local apps and directories. Don’t worry, we’ll also take you through the “getting listed” process. Let’s dive in!
While some online forums give you the option of creating a business account, it’s a good idea to go into online forums from a personal account and let locals build relationships with you as an individual, not a faceless entity.
Before you start advertising directly, you’ll want to build up some good will with the community. Be consistent, posting 2-3 times a week. Ask questions, take polls, and provide valuable information specific to locals like answering homeowners’ questions or giving advice.
For example, if there’s going to be a huge winter storm, a plumber could post in these forums to let locals know, and tell them how to prepare so they don’t have to deal with issues like burst pipes. With a little bit of time and patience, people will start to get to know you, and you’ll be top of mind whenever they have an issue that requires your services. Then, once you’ve established good will, you can start to be a little more promotional, like letting locals know when you’re running deals or sharing special offers.
Reddit is a great resource for finding local online forums. You can access their list of local forums here, which will present a list of viable forums based, categorized by location. On the sidebar of those links, there’s often suggested communities that you should also look into.
For example, Dallas has an ‘ask DFW’ forum where you’ll find lots of people asking questions about moving into certain neighborhoods. This is a great place to find new homeowners that don’t already have a preferred service company.
Outside of online forums like Facebook and Reddit, NextDoor is easily the most popular social media network for local chatter online.
Nearly 1 in 3 U.S households are active on Nextdoor, and the vast majority of their users are homeowners. Even if your neighborhood isn’t active, NextDoor gives you the option to send out 150 invites to your closest neighbors by postal mail for free. You can make posts to the neighborhood feed, as well as take advantage of other features like the Help Map.
ONLINE BUSINESS DIRECTORIES
Business listing sites are heavily crawled, indexed, and used by Google to build their local database, and show up for a lot of google results when you search for a specific type of service and city name. So, they can be vital in helping boost your online presence. As an added benefit, any time you list your business in just one directory, you’ll often show up in several more because business listing sites tend to pull information from one another
If you’d rather list your business yourself you can do a search for the following keywords:
- (city) business listings
- (city) business directory
- (city) directory
- (keyword) business listings
- (keyword) business directory
- (keyword) directory
- (city) (keyword) association
- (city) (keyword) society
- (city) (keyword) council
- (city) (keyword) alliance
You can also use the business listing directory that we’ve created here. It includes a list of over 600 city-wide directories, and over 80 more general directories. Keep in mind that in that directory, your options are listed by their domain authority – or how much Google trusts them – so you can see their worldwide popularity, the type of listing, and whether or not you’ll have to put up some cash to be listed.
Download our free list of 700+ Local Business Directories
How To List Your Business
In general, business listings work similarly to business directories. With business listings, you can:
- Claim or create business page – then verify it
- Fill out your business listing including links to your website, services you offer, etc.
- Ensure information about your business is listed correctly – especially the name, address, and phone number
- Create a detailed company description
- Include address, hours of operation, discounts
- Add pictures and video content
- Gather customer reviews
As an extra tip, you should consider optimizing around the search filters provided, and make sure that you’ve included relevant keywords people would use to find you. If you’re using different phone numbers to track where calls are coming from, make sure you’re listing the correct phone numbers online.
Fieldpulse Engage can help with that by providing multiple phone lines, all of which you can access from your mobile device.
As you’ve already learned if you’ve taken the time to read through our other Playbooks, it’s essential to keep your business’ name, address, and phone number consistent across all local directories. Use these resources to check your listings and make sure they’re consistent across the board.
Add your business to Bing and Google for free, and help online customers discover your business at bingplaces.com and google.com/business. You can read our complete Google My Business Playbook here, which includes information on how to increase your business’ ranking and set up your account. With Bing, you can simply import your profile directly from Google here, so you won’t have to do double the work.
Oftentimes, people will use their phones or other smart devices to search for local businesses. For example, if someone asks Siri to give them a number to the nearest plumbing company, Siri would pull this information from Apple Maps.
A few local map listings to consider are:
Yelp is a great listing to consider, as it allows you to upload hundreds of pictures to make your page stand out. Be sure to capitalize on their review platform by asking every customer who heard about you through Yelp for a review.
Want to avoid your reviews being tossed into the “not recommended” filter on Yelp? Avoid sending clients a direct link to the page and don’t send an email blast (large injections of reviews raise alerts)
Though you may not think it, reviews and photos matter a lot. If a prospect sees your listing has 400 5 stars reviews, they’re far more likely to click on your listing rather than your competitors.’
You can also add a booking link into Yelp, so that prospective clients can go directly to the booking portal on your website. Above all else, make your Yelp profile personable.
Lead Purchasing Services
Lead purchasing services like Houzz, Angi, etc. usually let you list your business for free, then ask you to upgrade to boost your listing. These sites also sometimes have Q&A forums between homeowners and contractors. For more information on lead purchasing services, check out our guide here.
Another avenue you can utilize is deal sites like GroupOn. You should also keep an eye out for free, online newsletters that advertise local deals.
No matter which route you decide to take, be sure that your business’ contact info and listings are consistent across every platform you utilize. We hope that after reading this article, you’ll walk away with a few more marketing ideas than when you started. For more information on how to optimize your marketing efforts, head back over to our Marketing Playbook.
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