How to use local directories to promote your business!

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Did you know that 20% of searches on Google contain a local place name and 70% of people looking for a business offline will look it up online first? If you want more customers to find your business, why not list yourself on local business directories?

Even if you don’t want the upkeep or expense of a website, local business pages give you a presence on the web. Getting listed on these, along with Google Places and Yahoo! Local, is a great way of letting search engines that you exist. Plus, they are quick and easy to set up.

Which directories?

There are plenty of online directories out there. Some are automatically generated lists that anyone can add their business too, and these can be good for getting more inbound links to your site.
But the ones we refer to in this article are moderated by humans and allow a lot more information about your company, they are also community-based websites that mean visitors can rate and review your business.
Popular directory sites that offer advertising for UK businesses include:

Claim your profile
Get your listing right

Many directories may already have your business listed with them, but you need to claim your profile and upload your company details so that you can be found. Channel2 Business Solutions will help you with that so that you can get the most out of your listings.
Contact details
Make it easy for prospective customers to contact you by adding all possible contact details (address, phone number, email, website, fax, etc.)
Opening times
Make sure your opening times are on all listings. If someone is looking you up online for the purpose of using your services ‘offline’, this is the information they will be looking for.
All of these sites allow reviews and ratings. Let your customers know which review sites your on and ask them to give you a review. Obviously, you can’t tell them what to write (and you aren’t allowed to give incentives in exchange for good reviews), but positive feedback can give your business credibility. All the above sites have customer review sections for your use.
Use pictures
Many of these websites allow you to add pictures. If you’ve got some photographs of your products or services in action, include them here to give potential customers an idea of what you can do. If your business can’t be summed up in images, include a picture of your premises so that visitors can find it easily.
Promote special offers and discounts
Some sites allow you to add special offers or discounts through going through them. You can also use them to announce events, sales and important dates.
Review other local businesses
As well as asking customers to submit reviews, you can review your fellow local businesses. You never know, they may return the favour.
Posted by Simon Clegg: Channel2 Business Solutions

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