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[INFOGRAPHIC] The Importance of Local Listings for Small Business

To build on a previous post of mine Why Local Listings are Crucial for Small Businesses, I thought I’d compile a few pertinent statistics from surveys like the Brightlocal Local Consumer Review Survey into a nifty little infographic. The numbers that grabbed my attention were:

• 7 out of 10 online consumers trust reviews that they read on sites like Yelp, Google, and Yahoo Local

• 69% of online consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation

Feel free to use this infographic on your blogs and pages, I’m going to try to do more of these as I think up statistical groups that apply to small business marketing. If you have any ideas about infographics you’d like to see, leave it for me in a comment. Thanks for looking.

Importance of Local Listings Infographic - Small Business

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How to Get Positive Reviews Online For Your Small Business

Local listing sites like Google Places, Yelp, and Yahoo Local have become the new way people find what they’re looking for in their area. The power of reviews on these sites has become increasingly important for driving new customers and smart business owners are figuring out numerous ways to encourage more positive reviews on these very influential sites. To learn more about the importance of local listings, check out my post Why Local Listings are Crucial for Your Small Business.

If you want to start getting more positive reviews for your small business online, start with this list of easy-to-do tasks:

1. Provide Stellar Service – Yes, it’s a no-brainer of sorts, but the first and best way to get positive reviews on any of these sites is to make sure you are providing the best and most memorable customer experience possible to each and every one of your customers. You can do all the other things on this list and it won’t get you any reviews if you don’t give your customers something good to talk about.

2. Ask for Reviews – Ok, so some of these sites actually discourage you from asking your customers for reviews outright. That being said, since all of them don’t have this policy, I feel the best practice is to simply ask for a “review online.” Always ask at the end of your business transaction and don’t ask for a positive review, just a review online. This way you’re encouraging folks to leave you a review on any of these sites they happen to use without influencing them to review your business one way or another.

3. Post Signage in Your Business – Imagine a tech-savvy customer of a small business who just finished having a wonderful buyer experience at your business (hopefully due to that stellar service we talked about earlier.) While they’re paying at the register, the customer sees a snazzy and colorful sign on the counter that says “Please review us on Yelp!” Do you think they would be more likely to give you a review? I think so too, so get some signage posted ASAP.

4. Put Links on Your Website – Another obvious but often-missed tactic that can drive online reviews is to post links or banners on your company website saying “Please Review Us Here”. It also serves as a good point of direction for your customers If somebody wants to leave a review but doesn’t know where to go you can simply direct them to the banner on your website which clicks through to the site of your choosing.

Do you know any other ways to get positive online reviews? Leave us a comment with your ideas and we probably will use them in a post (giving you full credit of course.)

Please read my other articles related to Local Listing Management:

Why Local Listings are Crucial for Your Small Business

4 Things You Should Do For Your Business Right Now

4 Things You Should Do For Your Business Right Now

The world of the small business owner is vast and complex at times. Some businesses require more marketing expertise than others, some require more tech knowledge than others. But there are some very basic things that I believe every small business owner should do and I am always surprised when I find out that owners either don’t know about one (or all) of these things, think they’re a waste of time, or just feel they don’t have the time in their busy small biz schedule to take on these tasks.

Well, this is the new era of small business marketing. In this era, the right online marketing campaign can have your phone ringing more than you ever would’ve imagined. While some of you may think I’m stating the obvious on this list, you’d be surprised how many business owners haven’t taken advantage of these very easy (and FREE) marketing efforts. So if you find yourself sitting around thinking “What can I do for my business today?” refer to this list of 4 small but crucial things that you can and should do today, and do them!

1. Claim Your Business Online – If you haven’t learned about the value of local listings on sites like Google Places, Yahoo Local, and Yelp, it’s time you educated yourself! (I recommend my post on Why Local Listings are Crucial for Your Small Business.)

In today’s marketplace, consumers are looking to the internet more and more when deciding which services and products they are going to buy. It is for this reason that you must claim your business on these various sites. After you claim your business, make sure that all your business information is correct and provide as much information as possible. A well developed listing complete with your website, photos, hours of operations, and a description goes a long way in instilling confidence in your potential customers. It also improves your company’s SEO, SERP, and overall credibility.

I recommend visiting getlisted.org and use their site to list (or claim) your company on a number of these local listing sites or have your tech-person do it.

2. Make a Facebook Page – If you haven’t made a Facebook page (not a profile) for your small business you should definitely go make one and develop a strategy for making regular “status updates” for it. Research ways to utilize Facebook to connect with your customers, spread your company message, and improve your online position. There is an abundance of material on the internet on how businesses can benefit from a Facebook page.

3. Add your business to Foursquare –If you don’t know, Foursquare is essentially an online social game where people gain points, badges, and other rewards for “checking in” at various locations and there’s a few ways that small businesses can use Foursquare by rewarding folks who check in at their business. For instance, the title of “mayor” is given to users who check in at a location the most. Your business can offer special discounts directly on Foursquare for the “mayor” of your location, motivating people to compete for “mayor” by checking in at your business more.

4. Make Social Network “Signage” for your business – Now that you’ve put your business on these various social sites, tell your customers about it! One of the first things you can do is print up promotional signage to display around your business. Signs with graphics that say “Like us on Facebook” “Check In here on Foursquare!” with the site’s logo on it (Foursquare actually has a section on their site with graphics you can print out for this exact purpose.) This not only invites your customers to connect with you on social networks they’re already using, it also shows consumers that you are connected to the same networks that they are, and this helps build familiarity and customer loyalty.


Why Local Listings are Crucial for Your Small Business

In today’s marketplace, when a person wants to find a new place to get their hair done, or a pizza place, or an auto-repair shop, or any type of small business’ product or service they will more-than-likely look to the internet to find it.

Old-School Word-of-Mouth – In the “old days,” if you wanted to find the best local cheeseburger, you might ask a cab driver, or local store-owner, and this was and still is a form of “word-of-mouth” marketing.

New-School Word-of-Mouth – Today, the internet has replaced (and magnified) this marketing form with the use of several local listing websites and their respective review systems. Now, when one needs to find a new dry cleaner in a certain area, one will google it, or maybe visit yelp.com and check the reviews people have left about businesses offering a particular product or service.

So, how can a small business owner be sure their company’s marketing is taking full advantage of this new age of word-of-mouth marketing? The answer is to simply make sure you have placed or claimed your business on the following local listing websites:

All of these sites are FREE to list your company on

1. Google Places

2. Yahoo! Local

3. City Search

4. Yelp

5. Bing

6. Local.com

7. Ask.com

8. Insider Pages

The first step is to make sure your company is listed on these sites, the next step should be to drive positive reviews from your customers to these sites. Even though some of these sites don’t “encourage” you asking your customers for positive reviews, the opinion here is “Hey, we’re small business owners and we need all the help we can get to keep the lights on!”

So yes, ask, promote, and bribe your customers into leaving positive reviews for you on these and every other site they can find. Positive chatter about your company will improve your SEO but, more importantly, it will equal more business/clients/customers for your company. Be proactive, provide a quality product, encourage folks to talk about it online, and you will see a difference.

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