That's why online local business directories are so important!
As a local business, finding and attracting new customers can be really hard. There are so many tools you can use in your "marketing tool belt", it's often challenging to know where to start and what tools will work best for you.
One of the best places to start is making sure your local listings are plentiful and accurate. If they're not, there is very little chance any of that 85% of consumers will be able to find your business. Every directory you are listed in gives you one more chance to be found!
The list below covers a number of online business directories. Some are more appropriate to businesses in specific verticals, so review the list and highlight the different directories that are most appropriate for your local business.
I've tried to make it as easy as possible to claim your listings. If you click on the name of each listing it will take you to the appropriate page to get started.
This one is listed first for a reason. Google My Business is one of the first places people go to find a local business. Creating a listing is totally FREE and is a must for any business.
Although Bing is not as popular as Google, it's still a great place to be listed. Since it's free to list, there is no reason not to have your business listing here as well.
It doesn't cost you anything to get listed on Yahoo!. Keep in mind Yahoo! currently works with Yext to handle their listings. Once you complete your listing you will be taken to an order page, but you will find a link near the bottom to claim your free listing instead of paying for any additional services.
Yelp is a great place to be listed if your business is focused on the business to consumer market. Restaurants, retail establishments, and home services businesses are very popular on Yelp. This is definitely a place you want to be listed if your local business falls into one of these categories. Do a quick search on Yelp for businesses in your vertical. If you find competitors listed then you probably want to jump in the mix.
How can you go wrong creating a page and listing for your business on one of the most popular social networks on the planet? I think having some kind of presence here is pretty important for most local businesses. Creating your business page is completely FREE, but there are a number of paid advertising opportunities with Facebook if you want to venture down that road.
The Better Business Bureau is designed to help protect consumers from fraudulent and shady businesses. It's a great site to be listed and you can create your listing for free. It takes a few steps to get set up but will be worth the time.
Angie's List is a business directory and review site that has been around for 20+ years. This is not a great site for every local business. Double check the site to see if they cater to businesses in your vertical. If it's a good fit for you, creating a listing is free and I would highly recommend it. There are other paid advertising options on the site as well.
Another local business directory site that is free to join. They offer a number of other paid tools for small businesses if you are interested.
Check the health of your online directory listings now! It's completely FREE.
My guess is most of you have heard of Linkedin, but just in case, it's a great business to business social networking site. If your local business is focused on the business to business market I would definitely recommend setting up a company page on Linkedin.
YellowPages is another online business directory listing service. You can claim your listing for free, so there is no reason not be listed on the service.
Trip Advisor is a travel website where users can leave reviews for places they've gone or read reviews for places they want to visit. It's not free to list with TripAdvisor, but it can be a pretty powerful place to be listed if your business is a hotel/motel, vacation rental, restaurant, or local destination/attraction.
This is another free site to list on and one you should definitely take advantage of.
Citysearch is an online local guide helping 11M+ consumers a month. There are a variety of business verticals listed on the site, but most of them focus on local businesses in the B2C space.
MapQuest is a mapping website where users can get directions to places they want to go and find hotels, food, gas, attractions and much more. It's free to claim your listing, but there are a number of paid options to enhance your listing. If your business falls into one of the categories listed on MapQuest then it is definitely a place you should be listed.
They cater primarily to businesses in business to consumer verticals. Creating a listing is free and something you should do if the site is appropriate for your business.
Houzz is a website that caters to the home design, decor and remodeling market. You can create a free listing with them, but similar to some of the other directories there are paid options to enhance your listing. I would consider this site a must for anyone serving the home renovation market.
Foursquare helps consumers find the best places to eat, shop, drink, or visit. It's free to create your listing and if your business is in one of the verticals targeted by Foursquare you should definitely claim your listing.
This is another free listing site, but you will need to call them in order to set up your free listing. You will most likely get pitched on a number of other services they offer, but this is a reputable site and is a worthwhile place to be listed.
Discover Our Town offers city guides to provide local travel information for thousands of towns across the US. Lodging, Dining, Shopping, Attractions, Real Estate, Weather & News listings are commonly found in their guides.
EZlocal is a local search marketing company focused on helping small businesses connect with people who are actively searching online for products and services in their area.
Kudzu is a place where users can get honest, uncensored feedback about millions of businesses from other users and thousands of money-saving deals in every major U.S. city.
Manta is a small business directory. They offer a number of services you can pay for, but creating your business listing is totally free and how I'd recommend you start.
USCity.net helps its 450K+ active monthly users find information about local businesses in their area.
MyHuckleberry.com is another online destination for information about local businesses. They take the guesswork out of finding the best local businesses in any city.
Check the health of your online directory listings now! It's completely FREE.
Their tagline says "Consider it done". Thumbtack allows users to find the pros they need to complete any project on their list. It's free for businesses to be listed on the site, but if you want to bid for jobs you will pay for each bid you submit.
It can be a pretty effective site depending on the type of business you are in. If you think it might be a good fit, it is definitely worth checking out. I recently had the windows cleaned at my house and the contractor told me most of his business is done through Thumbtack.
Yellow Pages Goes Green provides an environmentally friendly search engine and directory vigorously supporting the green movement, promotes awareness and helps consumers easily opt-out of printed yellow pages delivery while providing a simple, effective, online alternative to print.
HomeAdvisor is a website that allows consumers to find trusted home improvement pros. You can create your listing for free, but there are paid options to help you advertise your business and generate new leads. If you service the home improvement market this is definitely a site to check out.
ShowMeLocal.com gives local business owners the tools to promote their business online, plus a place where local consumers can learn about businesses in their area while finding great deals.
With over 14M businesses listed, the ChamberofCommerce.com is a platform that helps facilitate the connectivity between local business and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.
Hotfrog is a place for the small business owner to tell the world what makes their products and services different. Hotfrog helps over 69M businesses reach more than 1.6M active users per month.
Insider Pages is a local search service, created to help people find the best local businesses, specifically service providers like dentists, hair stylists, pediatricians, or even hypnotherapists.
ABLocal is a curated local business directory, helping users discover and find new local businesses.
eLocal aims to help consumers connect with local merchants across all major consumer-oriented business categories.
Special Tip: Most of the directories I listed have a pretty broad appeal to a number of small businesses. There are a number of vertical specific directory listing sites I did not include on this list. You may also benefit by digging a little deeper for online directories specific to your vertical.
Did you find this helpful? Feel free to comment below and share.
P.S. Now that you've got your online local business directories squared away, it's time to add on your reputation management including online reviews.
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Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Marketing. At Rialto Marketing, we help local service-based businesses eliminate the confusion of marketing. As a marketing partner, we help clients put in place and manage a simple marketing plan so they can grow. Marketing your business shouldn't be a challenge. We can help.