You may have noticed that a Google search result now shows the local map on the right side and the local listings (aka as Google Places at Google) are part of the organic search results. If you follow the evolution of local business listings on search engines since 2007 you will find that this local marketing tool is invaluable to any business.
The disappointing issue is that most businesses have not tapped into this local marketing tool. While the industry is 3 years ahead of businesses, the businesses that are dependent upon the local geography for their revenue are unclear that they can actively manage these listings instead of watching them passively.
All Businesses Can Take Advantage of Local Businesses
First of all, a local business is not a small business. While we will discuss this in more detail in the future, we have to keep in mind that national chains with local presence are also dependent upon the local economy for their revenue. So, it doesn’t make a difference if you’re as large as a Target store or as small as a local florist, local business listings will benefit any size business.
Secondly, the recent change at Google is a telling sign that this is related to both Business-To-Business (B2) as well as Business-To-Consumer (B2C). If you think that B2B won’t have its customer posting reviews then you are in for a surprise. Also, a B2B business that requires revenue from the local marketing should equally be tapping into local business listings like a B2C business.
Customers Decide To Business Based On Search Results
The recent search results change at Google not only displays the regular organic search results, but if there are local business listings that are relevant to the requested search they are showing up above fold and tend show more results than the organic website results.
The local business listings results are also interesting in that they show quite a bit of information to a local customer or consumer. Of course the basic information like business name, address, phone number, telephone number, website link and location on the map is pretty standard. However, the number of customer reviews and the average star rating is prominent to the person searching. Translated this means the local customer or consumer are very quickly see if they want to even click on your local business listing or call you.
Optimization Becomes Important
Businesses now have two marketing tools that need optimization: their website and their local business listing. Since the local business listing is effectively the interactive yellow pages of the 21st century, businesses need to stop passively watching and actively engaging with their local business listing.
The process requires that you first claim your local business listing, followed by your initial update, and then you have to consider monitoring and managing the local business listing just like your website.
You will find that the local business listing can actually be a website, but probably better to use it as a support tool to your primary website. In order for you to show up in the search results you have to be sure the local business listing has all the right information about your business, products and services.
That is then followed by adding photos, videos, coupons, offers, discounts, events and other information that will help the local customer decide to do business with you.
Managing your local business listing includes managing customer reviews and engaging with them not only to secure positive reviews from satisfied customers, but to insure positive public relations with any customers that are less than satisfied.
Finally, the optimization process includes watching the local business listing analytics (separate from your website) and making decisions about how to tweak your listing.
…and did we mention this goes well beyond Google? Variety of other websites are included such as Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, Local.com, Merchant Circle, Citysearch and many others that include search engines, social communities, 411 websites, GPS websites, and business directories.
Outsourcing Your Local Business Listing Management
There are generally two types of companies that provide local business listing management services. The first are those that provide “data” only services, which really doesn’t help you much since they don’t get involved in the claiming process. The second provides marketing services, but be careful here since some of them are not well staffed to do anything beyond Google.
This is no different than seeking professional help for your website’s search engine optimization. You will need to not only have professional help in the optimization of your local business listing, but someone has to monitor for duplicate listings, customer reviews, updating your marketing information, and analyzing the analytics.
Certainly your time resources are limited and Local Business Listing Optimization Services are provided by SmartFinds Internet Marketing. Additionally, this cost-effective service may eliminate your need for yellow pages advertising and its costs. Let the experts with over 16 years of Internet marketing experience help you use this local business marketing tool properly and prevent brand security issues from occurring.
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS ACROSS AMERICA ARE NOW ELIGIBLE TO WIN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL SCHOLARSHIP FOR MAKING TV COMMERCIALS TO COMBAT UNDERAGE DRINKING
TROY, Mich., Nov. 2, 2010 – The Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) announced today that The Wall Street Journal, the nation’s premier business and finance resource, has agreed to partner with the Courageous Persuaders program to combat the deadly issue of underage drinking. Additionally, the organization will sponsor The Wall Street Journal Courageous Leader Award, which will include a scholarship award of $2,000 to the winning entry. The Award is open to all entries nationally.
The Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition will be the primary vehicle for disseminating information about the program. The Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition provides high school students and teachers with engaging, real-life news and information on the world of business. Its reach into high schools nationwide will ensure that the Courageous Persuaders message of discouraging underage drinking is heard by one of the program’s primary audiences.
“At the annual awards show I saw how enthusiastic the students participating in Courageous Persuaders were, how it changes their attitudes about underage drinking, and the impact their work had on the middle school students,” said Ron Boe, director of multi-media sales at The Wall Street Journal. “We are proud to join other national scholarship sponsors like State Farm Insurance and The New York Festivals, and we look forward to helping extend the reach of such an effective program!”
The DADA is the primary sponsor and administrator of the Courageous Persuaders program which is facilitated through the DADA Education Foundation. “The importance of the addition of The Wall Street Journal as a primary supporter of the Courageous Persuaders program cannot be understated,” said DADA president Jim Seavitt, “with the support of this respected publication, we will be able to reach high school students who are serious about their futures, futures that exclude alcohol abuse at a young age.”
The competition, now in its tenth year in Michigan, encourages high school students to create 30-second television commercials warning middle school students about the dangers of drinking alcohol.
Last year’s contest drew 743 video entries, which included participation by thousands of students from U.S. schools in 45 states, including the District of Columbia, and also the Armed Forces Africa, American Samoa, Armed Forces Pacific, and the U.S. Air Force Base in Japan.
The Courageous Persuaders program was created in 2000 by Oakland County District Judge Michael A. Martone and John Barczyk, a local McCann-Erickson advertising executive. In 2007, the DADA became the primary sponsor and administrator of the Courageous Persuaders program through its DADA Education Foundation.
The grand prize-winning commercial is broadcast on television and in Secretary of State offices throughout Michigan. Winning videos are also posted on www.courageouspersuaders.com. For additional information, please contact the Detroit Auto Dealers Association at 248.643.0250.
About The Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition The Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition (www.WSJclassroom.com) is an award-winning educational program developed by the publishers of the world’s leading business newspaper, and devoted to preparing young people for the decisions that will shape their future and help them reach their goals. The program comprises a full-color monthly newspaper that incorporates The Wall Street Journal articles of particular interest to teenagers, as well as curriculum materials to help educators integrate news from the business world into their lessons. The advertiser-supported monthly newspaper reaches 1,000,000 students in nearly 9,000 high-school Business, Economics, Civics and English classes nationwide. The Classroom Edition program has been consistently recognized by the educational publishing community for excellence in editorial content and design and illustration, earning more than 30 Distinguished Achievement Awards from the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) since its inception in 1991. In 2010, it was named the AEP’s Periodical of the Year.
About the DADA Education Foundation The mission of the DADA Education Foundation is to promote excellence in education through quality programs and leadership. In addition to the Courageous Persuaders program, the Foundation also administers Education Day at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) and the NAIAS Poster Contest.
About Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) The DADA was founded in 1907 by 17 local car dealers, and has grown to more than 220 member car and truck dealers who donate their time and resources to a host of community activities. Currently, the DADA members collectively employ more than 16,000 people.
Many members participate in the NAIAS, LLC, which is responsible for the production of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The most significant charitable venture of the DADA is the annual NAIAS Charity Preview, which has raised more than $44 million for children’s charities in southeastern Michigan since 1976. To find out more, visit www.dada.org and www.naias.com.