Get More Business Exposure with Local Directory Listings

“Build it and they will come” is the famous quote from the movie, Field of Dreams. Too often business owners spend thousands of dollars designing beautiful websites that sit on the Internet waiting to be found, and few people actually find them on their own.

According to http://internetlivestats.com “We are fast approaching 1 billion websites, a milestone which at this rate will be reached by the end of June 2014.” Is any wonder then that your website could be totally lost unless you take action to add it to local directory listings?

Most entrepreneurs and small business owners will agree that they build their website with the goal of leveraging the Internet to introduce their business and attract new clients and customers. This may be doing business online or it may be offline, including getting foot traffic into your place of business.

Local Directory Listings

One of the key components in getting foot traffic in the door of your small business is using local directory listings. Unfortunately this is something that many local business owners have been neglecting.

Getting your company set up on local directory listings can be time-consuming as each site has a detailed form that must be completed thoroughly. This, in itself, may make the task seem too laborious. However, the process of getting your company name on local listing sites is worth getting more online exposure which can be greatly beneficial to every local business owner.

Filling out the forms for these sites in important, and you will want to make sure that you put as much information as possible about your company on each profile you create. This includes your hours, phone number, address and links to your social media and websites.

If you have a different URL for your mobile site, make sure this is listed as many users will access local listings from their mobile devices.

Some of the most common local listing sites are highly integrated with social media sites, so this may be something that you want to take on along with your social media campaign.

Most web searchers find that local listings they come across during a search are actually more authentic than the traditional organic search engine results. This is because here, they can access maps, customer reviews, videos, images and address verification to insure authenticity. With this in mind, taking the time to create a profile for yourself on these listing sites can actually go a long way in bringing customers through your doors.

Google currently has two of the most popular local listing directories: Google+ Businesses / Google+ Local. Other popular local listing sites include CitySearch, Bing Local and Yahoo Local Listings.

Make sure you also create a Yelp profile in your area. This not only helps you attract web attention, but it provides a place for local customers to review your business. So it’s an effective way to convert potential customers into paying customers.

A profile on one of these sites can only help you create a stronger online presence by helping your potential customers find your business during their search.

There are several different ways that local businesses can get more attention online. With the right internet marketing plan, and the use of social media, local listings, mobile websites, local SEO and online reputation management, the possibilities are endless. To learn more, you’re invited to contact me at http://YvonneAJones.com to schedule your FREE Business Breakthrough Strategy Session.

This post was originally written by me and published on: http://out2martincounty.com/business

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How to Use Local Directory Listings to Improve Local SEO

Local SEO_Google PlacesLocal SEO (search engine optimization) is something that small businesses get confused about. A part of this confusion is due to the messages they receive regarding how they should be marketing their business. How can you use local directory listings to improve local SEO?

As I work with small businesses to increase their visibility online and sort through the complexities of Internet Marketing,  I share with them the importance of being engaged in online marketing. You may also read articles like this one, Small Business Must Grasp Online Marketing, which highlights why and how you should market your business online using blogging, article marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, etc.

At the same time, many small business owners wonder if this means they should no longer engage in local (offline) marketing strategies. The truth is that you need to do both types of marketing — online and offline marketing strategies

The first thing to note is that small businesses cover not only brick and mortar businesses, but also entrepreneurs who have diverse types of businesses. Since your customers and prospects are online, you must have a strong online presence. Whether you’re a coach, a speaker, an author, a Direct Sales representative, etc.; as long as you are in business in the 21st century, you must have an active online presence.

Local directory listings should not be ignored. In fact, one of the key components in getting foot traffic in the door of your small business is using these local directory listings. What are local directory listings?

Two of the largest local listing directories, and also most popular, that your business should be on are run by Google. Google is in charge of Google+ Businesses / Google+ Local. Other popular local listing sites include CitySearch, Bing Local, Merchant Circle, Manta and Yahoo Local Listings. You also want to make sure that you create a Yelp profile in your area. You may be wondering why this is so important since you may already have, say, a Facebook Profile and Facebook Page.

Being found in local directories’ listing serve three basic purposes, all of which are essential to your local business.

  1. Local SEO: Your listing can be generic, like “Pediatric Dentist”. However, when someone in your area is looking for a Pediatric Dentist, it’s hardly likely they’ll find you as Google results will bring up millions of Pediatric Dentists. If, on the other hand, you are listed as “Port St. Lucie Pediatric Dentist,” when someone in Port St. Lucie and environs type that in, the numbers will be much smaller and allow your practice to be found more easily.
  1. Google Rankings/Results: Most of the local directories have already established high rankings in the search engine results. For example, at the time of writing MerchantCircle.com is ranked #2,831 in the world and #810 in the United States. Yelp is ranked #140 in the world and #80 in the United States. By having a listing on these directories, you’re ‘borrowing’ their rankings plus increasing the number of places you can be found online.
  2. Reputation Management: Online reputation management has become an important issue for all businesses, but especially for the small business owner who may not have a lot of resources to monitor and manage their online reputation. In addition, by having an active online presence with a well-developed personal brand, this will help to buffer any negative comments that could affect your online reputation.

Operating a business in this economy means that you want to make it easy for your prospects or ideal customers to find you. Taking advantage of local directory listings will help with search engine optimization for your name and the name of your business and provide more channels for people to find you and do business with you.

Do you have specific questions on how to market your business online? Go ahead and fill out the questionnaire and I’ll contact you to schedule your complimentary Business Breakthrough Strategy Session.

 

 

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6 Reasons To Include Social Media in Small Business

Today as I was scanning through my Google Alerts, one article in particular caught my interest as it was entitled, “…Let Social Media work for your business.”  As I read further I quickly realized the author captured several reasons to include social media in small business that I would have covered had I written the article.  Instead of reinventing the wheel, I decided to share the article instead.

In the article she covered six points:

1.  Start with a strategy for social media marketing based on your business goals
2.  Be sure everything ties back to your website
3.  Be generous with giving away good content
4.  Start a blog
5.  Respond to all comments
6.  Apply the 80/20 rule to social media posts.

Here is the link to finding out why and how you should let social media work for you in your own small business in 2014.  Which of these will you incorporate in your business, if you’ve not done so already?

Include social media in your small business

Click here

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Facebook defines High Quality Content and Your Newsfeed

marketing with facebookSimplereach.com announced earlier this year that ‘Facebook Continues to Be The Biggest Driver of Social Traffic,’Not only does Facebook still drive more traffic than any other social network, but it’s the only one to increase in traffic sent quarter-over-quarter. In Q3, Facebook was responsible for driving 62.3% of all social traffic across the SimpleReach network. For the first time, that’s double what Twitter contributes (which was 27.3% in the same timeframe, Q3).”  In addition, the article also mentioned that the majority of traffic came from a small amount of (high quality) content.

In October Facebook posted that ‘people come to Facebook to not only see and talk about what’s happening with their friends but also read news and discover what is going on in the world around them. Because of this, we work closely with media organizations — ranging from TV broadcasters to music startups to publishers — to learn how they can maximize the value they get from Facebook.’

Based on statistics gleaned from various sources, Facebook said that it noted that people enjoyed seeing articles on Facebook and so, “we’re now paying closer attention to what makes for high quality content, and how often articles are clicked on from News Feed on mobile.”

What is High Quality Content?

Facebook defines high quality content this way:

“While the goal of News Feed is to show high quality posts to people, we wanted to better understand what high quality means. To do this we decided to develop a new algorithm to factor into News Feed. To develop it, we first surveyed thousands of people to understand what factors make posts from Pages high quality. Some of the questions we asked included:

  • Is this timely and relevant content?
  • Is this content from a source you would trust?
  • Would you share it with friends or recommend it to others?
  • Is the content genuinely interesting to you or is it trying to game News Feed distribution? (e.g., asking for people to like the content)
  • Would you call this a low quality post or meme?
  • Would you complain about seeing this content in your News Feed?

We used the results of this survey to build a new machine learning system to detect content defined as high quality. The system uses over a thousand different factors, such as how frequently content from a certain Page is reported as low quality (e.g., hiding a Page post), how complete the Page profile is, and whether the fan base for a particular Page overlaps with the fan base of other known high quality Pages. Coming up with an algorithm to detect this is complex, and we will continue to refine it as we get more feedback. By showing these high quality posts higher up in News Feed, we saw a significant increase in interactions (likes, comments, shares) with this content. People in the test group also hid fewer stories overall.These results suggest that this change shows more people higher quality content, and more interesting stories from the Pages they are connected to.”

Now more than ever we as Online Marketers must ensure that we clearly understand the role of high quality content. This is true for ourselves, and if we provide services for others it’s even more critical in order to achieve the results that we’ve promised them, or that they expect.   It’s as Facebook noted, “The bottom line is that your Page strategy should still stay the same: produce high quality content and optimize for engagement and reach.”

Have you noticed a decline in the reach for your Facebook status updates/posts?  What are your thoughts on
the changes?

 

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Small Business Saturday 2013: Why Support this Event?

small biz saturdaySaturday, November 30, 2013 is Small Business Saturday, sandwiched between
Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You may be asking, “What’s so important about Small Business Saturday 2013?  Why support this event?”

This will be the fourth annual Small Business Saturday that businesses around the United States will be participating in. It serves as “the the traditional kick off to the holiday season for independent retailers and restaurateurs. The day was created in response to small business owners’ most pressing need, more customers, and has since grown into an annual celebration of the independent businesses that help boost our local economies,” said NFIB president and CEO Dan Danner.

Small Businesses and the U.S. Economy

According to the US Small Business Administration (September 2012),

* Small firms accounted for 64% of the net new jobs created between 1993 and 2011
* Small business pay 42.9% of total US private payroll.

It’s clear that small businesses play a significant role in the U.S. business economy.

Why Support Small Business on Small Business Saturday?

The Small Business Saturday fact sheet gives three important reasons to support Small Business Saturday:

  •  Demonstrates commitment to the communities in which we do business
  •  Creates goodwill within the communities where our employees work and live
  •  When we support small business, jobs are created and local communities preserve their unique culture

If you’re a consumer or potential customer who wants to continue to find great deals
after Black Friday, then you want to support your neighborhood stores and businesses and “Shop Local.”

It would appear that based on the businesses surveyed, discounts continue
to be the top incentive but more business owners are planning to reward customers by offering them a free gift with purchase.

The benefits of shopping local extend beyond the businesses themselves and even beyond Small Business Saturday because a large number of businesses say they’re looking to their local communities to hire additional help they’ll need to meet the increased demand during the holiday season.

In a Press Release by N.F.I.B. they noted that several large corporations were providing incentives to support Small Business Saturday.  One of these in American Express:

Consumer Incentives to Shop Small

Again this year, American Express will give Card Members a special offer for shopping on Small Business Saturday. Card Members who register an eligible American Express® Card will get a one-time $10 statement credit when they use their registered Card to spend $10 or more on November 30, 2013, in a single, in-store transaction at a qualifying small business location that appears on the Small Business Saturday Map. Enrollment is limited and opens on November 24th at ShopSmall.com. Offer terms apply and are available at ShopSmall.com/offerterms

Now that you know a little more about Small Business Saturday, will you be shopping local and support local businesses?

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Tips for Part-Time Entrepreneurs to Achieve Full-Time Success

Are you a part-time entrepreneur who wonders why some people seem to achieve full-time success so easily while you may be struggling to make regular, consistent income online.

In this video, Montina Portis shares 5 tips for part-time entrepreneurs to achieve full-time success. They are:

1. Believe -Believe in yourself and what you want to do
2. Begin – Get started..somewhere. Don’t wait for everything to be just right.
3. Seek knowledge. Read books, listen to audio products, and watch videos that are motivating and contribute to your self-development.

4. Automate and outsource. Do not attempt to do everything yourself. You may have to at first, but as soon as possible you should get help.
5. Focus on building your brand. People build relationships with people.Share your story and let people know who you are and how you serve them.

Which one of these five or how many of these five tips are you using, or do you plan to use? Please share in the comments.

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Grow Your Business with Facebook Marketing

Facebook MarketingAre you a small business owner who is still not convinced that it’s possible to grow your business with Faceboook marketing?

Why Facebook Marketing?

According to Facebook, on the average, each week there are approximately 645 million views of Facebook pages for local businesses.  Small businesses should be especially delighted to hear this because it means that lots of people are searching for your business in your part of the world.  You may be aware of the effects of social media, but combined with word of mouth, it’s essential to your growth and long-term success, and it is possible to grow your business with Facebook marketing.

Your Facebook Business Page

You must start to market your business with a Facebook business page.  Remember profiles are for people and pages are for business.  It’s important to keep in mind that first impressions are important in business, and you want to give a great impression when you start inviting visitors to your page.  It may be better to keep your page unpublished until you’ve added a Timelines cover that is attractive and reflects what your business is about.  Selecting the right category and sub-category will depend not only on what your business is about, but also the plans you have for your business – your marketing plan, your goals, and your objectives.

Facebook updates

Make sure to add some valuable content before publishing your page and inviting your friends to like it because people do not want to like a page that has no content.  Opinions vary as to how often you should update your Facebook page, and ultimately you will determine how frequently your audience wants to hear from you by their response to your updates.  However, you should strive to add relevant, attention-grabbing content at least three times per week.  Many marketers recommend posting two to three times per day.

Increase Your “Likes”

Your first “likes” will usually come from persons who are already your friends on your Profile, and you want to continue to grow your likes.  Your strategies can include simple contests and discounts that invite and encourage visitors to enter by liking your page.  Another way to increase your likes and grow your list at the same time is to offer free products and invite visitors to like your page and/or to give their name and email address in exchange for the offer.

Not to be overlooked is the positive effects of testimonials and reviews, which can be easily added to your Facebook page by your clients and customers.

Rules of Engagement and Facebook Marketing

Facebook places a lot of emphasis on engagement as this highlights the social aspect of Facebook as a social media platform.  In order to engage with your visitors, you must be responsive to their questions and comments.  At the same time, you want to ask questions so that you can get to know your visitors and find out how you can help them.  This post from Mari Smith offers some great insight into ways you can increase engagement on your page.

Small business owners can benefit from Facebook marketing.  If you would like to learn more, let’s get together for a complimentary Breakthrough Session where when we can discuss questions you may have about growing your business with Facebook marketing. You may email me at y jones [at] mysuccesscircleonline [dot] com or leave your interest in the comments below.

Are you using Facebook marketing to grow your business?

 

 

 

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5 List-Building Strategies to Grow Your E-Mail List

email-marketing-strategiesImplementing list-building strategies is one of the activities that must be embraced in your online business in order to have a greater measure of success. Whether you’re new to online marketing or you’re a seasoned marketer, growing a list of subscribers who have raised their hands to say, ‘Yes, I want to hear from you’ is vital.  Internet Marketer, Seth Godin, refers to this as permission-based marketing.

The following are five list-building strategies you can use to build your list of subscribers:

1.  Opt-in box or subscription box: You can place one or more opt-in boxes on your blog or website.  The key is to make at least one of them appear above the fold on your website and be readily seen.  Make it eye-catching by using bold arrows and text that clearly states what the reader should do.  You may also add another opt-in box at the end of each page so that if someone gets distracted and forgets to sign up, you give them another reminder at the end of the post.

2.  Email Service Provider: Make sure that your opt-in box is connected to an email service that meets the CAN SPAM Act.  One important clause of the Act is that your email must give recipients an opt-out method.  Never send emails from your private email address.  The service I use and recommend is AWeber

3.  Create a landing page: Whether you create a separate landing page where the only option readers have is to subscribe or not to subscribe, or use the opt-in boxes mentioned above, you have to entice them with a valuable offer.  Gone are the days when people readily signed up just for Newsletters.  You offer has to provide value and answer a burning question or solve a pain they’re experiencing.  Make it an irresistible offer! It can be an e-book, an MP3, a video training series, or an e-Course.

4.  Good Content:Once they are on your list you want to keep them there so they don’t unsubscribe as soon as they’ve downloaded your offer.  This is where content marketing is critical.  Research and write content that your market is interested in. In this way, not only will you keep your subscribers happy, you will also boost the amount of people who will recommend you and the information you provide to their friends.

5.  Update your blog/website: Update your blog frequently and consistently and include a call to action in each post, or in several posts inviting people to sign-up for your offer.  Post your blog posts in various blog directories so that your posts get out to a larger audience, hence your call to action will get out to a larger audience and they’ll come over to optin for the gift.

You should be engaged in some form of marketing every day, so you should also be engaged in list-building strategies on an ongoing basis with the goal of adding subscribers every day or at least every week.

Which list-building strategies are you using on a regular basis?  Are you using a service like AWeber?

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Skills of a Good Communicator: Infographic

“A good listener tries to understand what the other person is saying.  In the end he may disagree sharply, but because he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with.” ~  Kenneth A. Wells

It would be a mistake to underestimate the need to develop  the skills of a good communicator. In Kenneth A Wells’ quotation above, the first skill mentioned is that of being a good listener.  Listening is an art that can be developed; it’s not a natural talent. But listening is only one of the important  skills of a good communicator mentioned in the following infographic, “The Five Essential Skills of a Master Communicator.”

Essentials of communicationSummary

The five skills of a good communicator as shown above are:
1) Prepare
2) Listen
3) Ask Questions
4) Confirm
5) Provide suggestions and solutions

Which skill do you feel you need to work on most?  I’m constantly working on listening as I usually want to get to 5) quickly and that’s not always what is needed at the outset.  Please share your challenge in the comments. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Success Principles and Quotations for Entrepreneurs

success principlesTo be a successful entrepreneur it takes a willingness to go out of your comfort zone and apply various skills and expertise, like integrity, leadership, courage and being an action-taker.

The following are just a few of the success principles and quotations for entrepreneurs that you may  enjoy, and may serve to remind you why you chose your entrepreneurial journey.

Personal Branding: Remember that you are a brand and your personal brand online can work for you or against you 24 hours a day.  Strive for a consistent, strong presence that you reinforce so that people see you and get to know you the way you want them to.

Lacking Courage?: Not to worry.  Courage is a skill you can learn.  It’s the ability to keep moving forward to achieve a positive outcome when questions or problems arise. The key is to assess where you are.  If you think you’re heading in the right direction and the outcome will be positive, ignore the fear and keep moving.

“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” John Wayne

Risk Now, Reward Later: You can’t be in business without some measure of risk.  The bigger the risk now, the greater the reward will be.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” Les Brown

Get Help: It is your business, and you are in charge, but know that many times other people can do some things better that you can.  Don’t be intimidated by their talents.  Use those talents to free you to do the things you can do better and like to do.

“I’ve been blessed to find people who are smarter than I am, and they help me to execute the vision I have.” Russell Simmons

There are many other success principles and quotations that have helped entrepreneurs through the ages.  What are some of your favorites?

 

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