The 5 Ws Of Local Directory Listing For Franchises And Multi-location Businesses
Your customers use local directory listings every day. And most likely, you do, too. If you’ve never heard of the term — no worries. This article is a quick overview of the who, what, where, when, why and how of local directory listings.
Who Uses Local Directory Listings? (Hint, hint: your potential customers)
Almost any online search for a local product or service will pull up a local directory listing result. To see how this works, let’s talk about a woman named Susan. Susan had just moved into a new home and wanted to redo her flooring. But since she was new to the area, she didn’t know what flooring stores she should choose. So she went online to Google and typed in “Flooring in Carmel, IN.” This was her result.
At the top she saw ads for local area providers, but what really drew her attention was the map which showed her where flooring stores in her local area were. This was very helpful because she could see which stores were closest to her, customer reviews for the stores, and the hours which they were open. She also could click through to a store’s website and learn even more about their flooring products and services. So she browsed through a few flooring websites and then went to bed.
The next day, after work, Susan was on her mobile phone and again typed in “Flooring in Carmel, IN.” She saw the store that was closest to her work, and remembered that she liked what they had on their website. So she clicked on “Get Directions” and showed up in their showroom minutes later.
The local flooring business gained Susan as a lead simply because they had a local directory listing with Google which they optimized to draw more customers into their store.
What Is A Local Directory Listing?
A local directory listing is a listing of your company’s basic NAP information – name, address, phone number – with a directory like Google, Bing, Yelp, or even smaller directory services. It’s similar to the old phone book listings, but it’s online where most people go to search for products. It can also include additional information such as hours of operation, website links, customer reviews, photos and more if you add those features. When customers search for local products and services these directory listings will pop up. Some people also go directly to the directory (like Yelp) and search through the listings there.
Local directory listings aren’t just for local mom-and-pop stores. National brands and franchises compete with local stores for customers’ attention and business. So you want to make it easy for customers who are searching online for your local services to contact you through local listings.
Where Should My Stores Be Listed?
You’ll want to start off by listing your stores on the major directories like Google and Bing. Then, depending on your industry, you’ll want to find the smaller directories that cater to your products. If you’re a restaurant, you’ll want to be included on Yelp, and touristy directories like TripAdvisor. In order to rise to the top of the listings, you’ll want to optimize your listings for the directories.
When Should I Start Creating And Optimizing My Local Directory Listings?
If you don’t currently have directory listings with the major publishers, then it’s time to get started. Sometimes the verification process can take a couple of weeks, and so the earlier you start, the better. And if you have lots of stores that need directory listing, that takes time as well. If you’re already listed on the major directories, look through your listings to see what you can do to optimize them and show up higher on the search list.
It’s possible for your business to show up in a local directory listing even if you haven’t officially registered it. However, you’ll see a lot more benefits after you’ve claimed your listing such as the ability to display your hours, link to your website, have customer reviews, and more.
Why Should My Stores Have Local Listings?
Local directory listings put your company’s information right in front of your customers when they’re searching locally for your products and services. For multi-location businesses, local listings are crucial for your store’s local marketing success.
Local listings can also improve your store’s website’s SEO value. One of our clients had a local store that didn’t verify their address with Google Places for months and months. We finally got them to verify their location and their SEO traffic doubled in one month. That’s the power of local listing, especially with Google.
Bonus: How Do I List My Store On Local Directories?
Listing your stores on local directories can be hard and take time. One of the biggest challenges is making sure that you are consistent with how you format your name, address, phone number, etc., across all of your locations. The first place we recommend listing is with Google My Business. If you are listing more than ten stores at once and you meet their guidelines, you may be able to do a bulk upload of the store’s information. If you don’t meet their guidelines, you’ll need to input the store’s information one by one. So we recommend creating a spreadsheet of all the information you’ll need from each store and then contacting the stores to get all of the information.
Google My Business (also known as Google Places) will send out a postcard with a verification code to each store’s physical location. So make sure that your stores are on the lookout for the postcard and that they contact you with the information so that they can be verified and claim their local listing.
Once you’ve listed your stores on Google, hit the next major listings. Each of these directories will have a different way of verifying your location such as email, phone call or mail.
After you’re on the major directories, start looking into smaller directories. You can use directory services like Moz, Yext, or work with an agency like Flint Analytics to manage these directory listings. Some of these services let you list your business from one interface to over 50 different directories and keep your listings consistent.
Local directory listings are an important part of local online marketing success and can increase your online visibility with customers. If you want to know more about local directory listing for your multi-location business, contact us today.
Photo credit: 123rf.com/denchik
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