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The future of advertising is now going online. Forget local advertising campaigns. While TV, print, and radio media have had a good run for decades, digital marketing is the wave of the future. There are no shown signs that it’s letting up either. In fact, this trend is supported by statistics. Did you know predictions regarding online advertising reach up to billions in revenue growth?

Many consumers today are looking to the Internet to search for products or services. Can you believe 20 to 30 percent of sales transactions at retail stores began as online searches or, at the very least, were influenced thereby? And this figure is expected to increase. With search engines constantly competing to get close to major players such as Google and Yahoo! it is crucial to boosting your marketing budget and apply it to augment your online advertising campaign.

Are you a business owner or a marketer? Perhaps you can get into local listings as a way to spread awareness of your brand, promote your business, and market your products or services.

Improve Your Online Presence With Local Business Listings

A typical local listing contains the business name, address, number, and other contact information details. Many websites offer free listing, which includes Google+ Local, Yahoo! Local, Internet Yellow Pages, Bing Places, and Yelp.

The main purpose of local listings is to help businesses establish a visible presence online. By making the profile and other information about the business available, it increases the chances of being discovered by potential consumers. Local listings also allow business indexes to share information among themselves.

To become eligible for a local listing in any business index, you must comply the requirements:

You Must Have a Business Name

Must have its local telephone number (shared numbers, toll-free numbers, or call tracking numbers are not considered)
Must have a physical address (PO Box, virtual office, or shared addresses are not counted)

Must be able to meet with the customers face-to-face (virtual meetings or online chats are disregarded).

Essential Attributes in Local Business Listings

One of the crucial elements to achieve a good ranking in local search engines is to have a business name or title. What does this mean?

For example, if a business owner named his establishment as “Joe’s Apartment” in one place and “Joe’s Residences” in another place, this will pose a problem in Google and other search engines. They are going to identify these establishments as two different businesses, when in fact they are owned by one person. To ensure proper indexing, you should pick just one title to be used in for your business.

Experienced marketers also recommend using a business name that best describes your line of business. If you are selling shoes, add this word descriptor into your business name. The more specific the accompanying descriptor, the better.

If it should happen that the business name you have picked is already used by another, adding extraneous keywords is recommended, provided, the words you have chosen are consistent with your business. You could add a locator to arrive at a business name, for example, such as Joe’s Shoes Utah. The added descriptor “Utah” makes sense if your business is in Utah.

Coming up with a business name is a decision you should consider very carefully. Your rankings or review in Google and other search engines will rely on your chosen name.

Category

Another essential element to consider is the category of your business. Most local business listings provide companies with the option to designate a particular category to their establishment; that is, what is the nature of the business that the company is engaged in.

By allowing you to designate a specific category for your business, you can decide which particular niche or audience group you are targeting. Google, Yahoo! and other search engines use this information and show it in particular searches.

Ratings and Customer Reviews

Can you relate to that feeling where you are not sure about this particular business, so you make searches about it? You visit Google or any other search engine and look for reviews or ratings about the brand.

Customer reviews and ratings are a two-edged sword; they can persuade you, or they can dissuade you. As a consumer, these are great because you get to learn about the business and the products or services offered without having actually to buy from them. You learn from the experiences of others. If the review is good, it is most likely that you will choose that brand or service; otherwise, you will keep looking.

Bad reviews are very damaging to your business, and there is nothing you can do to stop people from writing bad reviews about your business. Thus, if one is posted, it is crucial that you acknowledge that negative review and reach out to that person to find out what made him or her leave such a bad rating. Ask how you can change his or her opinion about your business.

Even if there is nothing, you can do to change his perception of your business. You showed other online users that you are concerned about your customers and that you want to make it right for them should they have a bad experience with you.

Social Media Marketing in Conjunction with Local Listings

Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, and other social networking websites provide platforms that enable consumers to interact directly with the business. For the consumers, it affords them the convenience to air out their concerns and grievances as well as convey their compliments and praises. As for the business owners, these websites provide a sufficient avenue that allows them to spread awareness about their products or services, as well as venue in which initial contacts between customers and the businesses are highly visible, showing other prospects and customers how this company treats people with problems or complaints.

If you are thinking about local business listings and would like to know more, please contact FirstPage Impact.