Friday, June 26, 2009

Optimized Local Business Listings

Local Business Listings as you know can be found in places such as Google Maps and They are free to create in most cases and help customers determine where to shop. Business owners that invest time and creativity into their listings achieve the most success.

To get started with Google Maps you need to create a profile. This creates your listing and allows you to return to make changes. You want to include as much information about your business as possible.

Besides the obvious stuff (company name, products/services, etc.) include your business hours, charities you support, and local organizations to which your company belongs (local chamber of commerce, little league team, BBB, and local networking groups). These give you local ‘street cred’.

Next, place your ‘pin’ at the correct location on the map. Google Maps doesn’t always put it in the right place. You can also customize your pin to be a picture of your choosing. The best photo to have would be one of your storefront. This helps customers know exactly what they’re looking for before leaving the house.

Ok, now you’re all done. Not! Local business listings are free, but they take work. Google Maps and Yelp work on mutual benefit. They promote your business, and you promote theirs. You can get stickers to place in your storefront window which reminds some observant people to review you or look at your reviews, but that’s the minimum.

You need to ask your customers to write one. Even better, give them something for it. A coupon off their next purchase or a gift that’s appropriate for your product/service.

One mattress company is doing the latter with great success. Keetsa is an eco-friendly mattress store. Their products have names like “Tea Leaf Classic” and include features like “green tea memory foam”. My Mom went there to get a new mattress for her guest room. After her purchase they gave her a bag of green tea with their logo on it and asked her to write a Yelp review. This is what she wrote

Lynne A.
Alameda, CA

We needed a new mattress and bed for our guest room. We did not want to spend a ton of money but we wanted out guests to be comfortable. We found just what we needed at the Keetsa store. Our shopping experience was great at the Keetsa store in Berkeley. Robert really helped us and worked with us the whole time. The mattress came in a box small enough to fit in our car (it expands after you take it out of the box) and the frame or stand was so easy to assemble you can do it without tools, Keetsa has really changed the mattress buying experience.

With Yelp, the business owner is notified when a new review is posted. He sent an email to my mother thanking her for the review. If you go to Yelp and look up this company, you will see many positive reviews about them from one-time and repeat customers.

The business owner at Keetsa is achieving online success with local business listings. By prompting his customers, whether they found him online or not, to review his business he is

· Gaining local credibility
· Improving customer service and
· Controlling word-of-mouth/ brand reputation.

All these things bring him more customers and more success. Your business could easily do the same. Check out Yelp and Google Maps for yourself. If you’re not sure which is the best review site for your type of business, contact the experts at WSI Magic Web.

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