Local Business Listing Wars!

Local business listing websites are trying to attract local consumers to use their websites to find local businesses, to rate businesses and to post their reviews. Businesses dependent upon the local market for their revenue need to be aware how local business marketing is achieved with local business listings and how all these websites will affect your business. The following is a blog post by franchisEssentials’ strategic partner, SmartFinds Internet Marketing, describing the upcoming local business listing wars.

Local Business Listing Wars
As posted on SmartFinds Internet Marketing Blog on October 24, 2010

Have you noticed the number of commercials being run by high-profile tier one companies and websites that are in the local listing industry?

For example you may have seen TV commercials for Angie’s List, SuperMedia, Yellow Book, and of course AT&T. If you add Internet advertising that includes but not limited to Google, Yahoo, Bing, Merchant Circle, Yelp and Citysearch many others, you have to start wondering how all these websites can attract a finite number of businesses and visitors to use their website. The other more significant question is how a business will manage their local business listing at all the local listing websites?

History of Local Business Listings

As a business, if you have not kept up with the evolution of local business listings you will need a quick primer to know where things started and where things are today.

The origins go back to the early 1990s when search engines had directories listing businesses by categories in addition to their basic search results. These basic business listings gave way to business directories giving the business the opportunity to add more information to their business. Of course, while this evolution was taking place so did having the yellow pages on the web. Business directories then gave way to the idea of rating a business with companies like Angie’s List, Merchant Circle and Yelp in social communities. In 2007 business listings began showing up in search engines and consumer reviews were already showing up in these local business listings.

So, in summary, a local business listing is a combination of yellow pages information, business description, business marketing information, consumer ratings and consumer reviews.

Local Business Listings as Interactive Yellow Pages

Calling these listings a business directory does not do them justice considering all the content that is available. Not only is this about getting your business marketing information into these listings, but they also become mini-websites for your business and more importantly allow consumers to quantitatively rate and subjectively provide commentary about their experience with the business, products and services.

Local business listing websites that are social communities allow customers and consumers to collaborate. We are distinguishing between customers being B2B and consumers being B2C. We will discuss B2B customer comments in a future article.

Live social communities that provide location based services like Four Square, Twitter and Facebook create instantaneous feedback to friends, family and followers alike. This collaboration not only allows for ratings and comments, but the information is posted permanently. This will require a business to ask satisfied customers to post commentary and manage those postings that are negative…..at multiple local listing websites.

Manage Your Local Business Listings Everywhere!

Unlike the traditional yellow pages where business information was located in a single source, the Internet lets business information be found everywhere. With so many sources, it becomes imperative for a business to stay on top of its information, description, marketing materials and consumer reviews at various local listing websites.

If you wonder why, the answer is simple. Your business information shows up in search engine results, mobile search results and is available to mobile application developers for mobile apps. Since you don’t know what source your local customers or mobile application developers are using, you need a way to manage many sources simultaneously.

Select a Company to Help

Whether we are talking about website local optimization, local business listings, mobile marketing or geo-social marketing, a business needs proper support to succeed in this new era of local business marketing. You need a partner with experience and expertise in multiple digital marketing fields and can adapt to the progression of new technologies that will become available over the next few years.

Some key elements for a company to provide local business listing marketing services include:

* Claim your local listing at multiple local listing websites
* Providing both data and marketing services
* Update your basic business data information monthly
* Update and manage your business marketing information that include photos, videos, coupons, offers, discounts, and events monthly
* Consumer review monitoring and management monthly
* Analytics review of local business listings analytics and the appropriate changes to your local business listings monthly
* Expertise in Mapping Technologies and GPS

Certainly your time resources are limited and Local Marketing Services are provided by SmartFinds Internet Marketing. You will find this to be of great benefit to your time resources and the low cost service may eliminate your yellow page ad costs. Let the experts of over 16 years Internet marketing experience help you use this local business marketing tool properly and prevent brand security issues from occurring.

Need more information please visit HERE.

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Content Marketing: It’s All About Distribution

The following article has been submitted by Guest Author, Melih (“may-lee”) Oztalay. Melih is CEO of SmartFinds Internet Marketing, an internet marketing company known for developing very creative marketing strategies. Before starting SmartFinds, Melih ran one of the Detroit Metropolitan area’s premiere Internet Service Providers (ISP), SpeedLink, from the early 1990’s where he served for nearly a decade as President and CEO. In the new century he has pursued taking the creative and marketing services from his experience in the 1990’s to businesses via SmartFinds Internet Marketing. franchisEssentials is honored to have Melih as one of its Guest Authors.

Content Marketing: It’s All About Distribution
as submitted by Melih Oztalay

You may have heard that “Content Is King” on the Internet. The statement is 100% accurate. The one with the most content and backlinks to their website wins. (The “and backlinks” statement is significant.)

Of course, developing and writing content is only the first step. Where and how to distribute your content is even more important! Consider this: If you post 1,000 content items on the Internet, but they are posted in a way that lacks viral capabilities, the reach will not expand and will be constrained within the 1,000 original websites. As a result, these content items do not provide much value. If, on the other hand, those same 1,000 posted content items virally find their way onto 100,000 websites, your business achieves a much bigger impact from the outreach effort.internet-marketing

Let’s dig into this process of content marketing. First, let’s define content marketing:

“The convergence of editorial and advertising using multiple formats that allows for viral distribution to raise awareness about your business and website.”

Content Marketing is not directly about your website, but rather what is happening overall within your business and industry sector. This is a communications art and outreach effort that does not involve direct selling, but is rewarded with sales and loyalty. Content Marketing is a supportive method of selling via quality, relevant and valuable information which:

Educates your customers
Shows your authority in your field
Allows prospects to find you through multiple sources
There are a variety of types of content, including:

Articles (informative and educational, not featuring your business)
News releases
Social Media
The above tends to have the most viral impact, however, additional types of content are as follows:

Powerpoint Slides & Presentations
Webcasts or Webinars
…So you get the idea that there are many other items which might be included as types of content

Unfortunately, the process of physically distributing content on the Internet is far from an automated task. Instead, the process is laborious. Many of our clients simply do not have the time and resources for this important outreach effort; therefore, they outsource the management of their content marketing efforts to SmartFinds Internet Marketing. For companies who directly engage in content distribution, it is typically something to pursue at regular intervals over weeks and months. Locating websites that accept your content, specific to your business and industry is not as important as casting a wide net on the Internet. Some distribution point categories to consider include:

Article Networks
News Networks
Wiki Communities
Photo Communities
Video Communities
…and many more

You will notice that many of the above are plural. Content marketing allows you to support your identity on the Internet and as such, acts as a public relations tool through a variety of distribution areas.

Stay tuned to this SmartFinds Digest; and we will tackle strategy, content development, benefits, measurement and search engine ranking effects of content marketing!

For now here is an exercise you can perform yourself. Do you know how much information exists on the Internet about your business? Have you performed a search at the major search engines on your company name? What about a search on your domain name? Now compare that to your competitors. Tell us what you found!