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How to Effectively Fill Out Business Directory Listings
June 15, 2022
Women looking through classifieds

How to Effectively Fill Out Business Directory Listings

We’re living in a digital age. Even a brick-and-mortar business should have an online presence, including online business directories. Local business citations and directory listings are essential in local search engine rankings, business reputation, and overall revenues.

Due to this, it’s vital to consider why directory listings matter and how to manage them effectively. In this guide, you’ll learn how to use directory listings and how they differ from past options.

Why Business Directory Listings Matter

Not long ago, business owners only had a few options when marketing their companies. Some common marketing strategies include:

  • Print ads in the Yellow Pages
  • Coupons
  • Brochures
  • Newspaper ads
  • Direct mail
  • Cold calling

While many are antiquated, most of these marketing options are still viable in the local space across most industries. However, online marketing has turned into an absolute necessity for all businesses. In fact, most patrons believe that a company no longer exists if they can’t find information about it online.

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How to Prepare a Directory Listing Launch Plan

We recommend developing a directory management spreadsheet with the following columns:

  • Directory Name
  • Directory URL
  • Status of Listing
  • Submission Date
  • Required Information (Business Name, Address, Phone Number, etc.)

This is a minimum and comprises the standard NAP citations (great for local SEO and online reputation management). In addition, it includes data that most directories request.

Next, you should look at each business directory listing individually. Each listing may have additional information that you’ll need to compile.

Provide as much information as possible, but it’s best to leave sections blank if you’re unsure about the answers. Maintaining this spreadsheet will allow you to see when a directory was last updated so that you can correct outdated information as needed.

The Different Types of Citations

There are four types of citations that act as business directory listings. The Yellow Pages is the “old faithful” for those transitioning from offline to online directory sources. However, other online directories provide similar listings for specific industries. 

Below is an outline of these types of citations. In addition, we’ll explain how they translate to the Internet. What was once a large book, radio commercial or mailbox leaflet has transformed substantially over the past 20 years.

The Juggernaut: Yellow Pages

Yellow Pages is still the big kahuna for online and offline business directory listings. Although some people still receive a printed copy of the Yellow Pages, the Yellow Pages website gains significant local traffic.

However, utilizing the Yellow Pages directory effectively depends on how you want to drive foot traffic into your local business. While some enterprises receive stable returns on their investments from print directories, it’s costly. Compare this to obtaining inclusion in many local business directory listings, including the Yellow Pages, which are free.

In this article, Synup explains how to list your business in the Yellow Pages directory. The gist of the process is:

  1. Click Get Your Free Listing on the Yellow Pages home page.
  2. Enter the details of your small business
  3. Claim your listing (enter first name, last name, and email)
  4. Fill in more detailed small business information.
  5. Verify your business listing by responding to the automated call.

Other Online Directories

Today, consumers can connect with businesses on platforms like Facebook, Google My Business, and Yelp. Thousands of online directories encompass various industries, subsets, and geographic areas.

The number of people that search online for local businesses is massive. For this reason, basic data in local directory listings is one of the most significant website traffic sources. This online traffic turns into foot traffic, which translates into bottom-line revenue.

Online Business Directories 

Many local business directory listings will support digital formats, including:

  • Videos
  • Images
  • Call-to-action buttons
  • Virtual business tours
  • Links to social media platforms and external websites

With all of these opportunities, consumers can learn more about your business from the convenience of their devices.

In addition, they can utilize calls to action to further connect with your business. Once they click on a call-to-action, they can learn more about your offerings or speak with a representative. This offers a sales opportunity that traditional marketing mediums can’t provide.

High-quality local business directory listings provide thorough information to your current and potential consumers. For many, these listings represent your small business’s first point of contact.

Print Opportunities

There’s an extensive amount of print opportunities that are quickly translating into the digital space. Still, it’s important to remember that information in print advertisements should convert potential patrons into new customers. This information includes:

  • Descriptions
  • Taglines
  • Attributes
  • Travel directions
  • Menus
  • Coupons
  • Reviews
  • Contact information

The goal of using directory sites should be similar to print. Inform potential customers about the business location, products or services, current offers, and contact information. Picture a big glossy direct mailer in an accessible, simple, and (usually) free digital format.

How to Select The Right Listings

As a business owner, you’d be foolish to forgo free business directory listings’ real estate and advertising potential. However, it’s vital to ensure you capitalize on staff hours. To do this, note which platforms are most active and maintain stable tracking. That way, you can sustain these listings and keep them updated.

Which Platforms Are Most Effective?

It’s critical to determine which platforms best fit your business. Some business owners spend significant time and money listing themselves on every index, directory, and app. However, this isn’t a good practice. Use the Pareto Principle, or 80/20 principle, to sign up for the 20% of directories that provide 80% of web traffic.

Most business owners turn to Google My Business, Yelp, the Yellow Pages, and Facebook. From there, cherry-pick platforms of relevance to your area or industry. Using these tactics, you’ll avoid spending extensive time on directory listings that won’t increase your business’s website traffic.

Conclusion: Review The Data

Do you go for a manual approach when completing your business directory listings? Maybe you’re outsourcing or choosing a somewhat automated method? Regardless of your process, it’s crucial to note that local business listings can benefit your business in many ways.

The horror stories are right, and you may have experienced them yourself. You contact a local business and instead get the wrong number. In the physical Yellow Pages days, this meant an entire year of unwanted calls and no calls for the company. This can be easily avoided in the digital age but still happens often.

If your data is inconsistent, it can confuse consumers and affect your site’s search rankings. As a result, to keep data consistent. Monitor your business listings, and ensure that the data on these sites are up-to-date and accurate. By doing this, you can make your business listings a tool that helps you earn sales for your growing company!

Editor’s Note: This post was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in June 2022.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].