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How to Effectively Fill Out Business Directory Listings
December 12, 2019
Women looking through classifieds

How to Effectively Fill Out Business Directory Listings

We are living in a digital age. Even a pure brick and mortar business should have an online  presence in business directory listings. Local business citations and directory listings play an important role 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 effectively manage them. In this guide, you’ll learn how to use directory listings and how they differ from past versions of business directories.

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Why Business Directory Listings Matter

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

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

While many are antiquated, most of these 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 if they can’t find local businesses online, they probably no longer exist.

How to Prepare a Directory Listing Launch Plan

We recommend developing a spreadsheet with the following columns:

  • Directory
  • URL
  • Status of Listing
  • Submission Date
  • Listing URL
  • Business Name
  • Business Address
  • Business Phone Number
  • Hours of Operation
  • Website URL

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 ask for.

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 if you’re unsure about a particular section, it’s best to leave it blank. Maintaining this spreadsheet will allow you to easily see when a directory was last updated.

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. The opportunities once present in multimedia buys and print advertising can also be capitalized on in the online space adequately. 

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

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

However, utilizing the Yellow Pages directory effectively comes down to how you want to drive foot traffic into your local business. While there are some businesses that receive stable returns on their investments from print directories, it’s costly. Compare this to obtaining inclusion in a large number of local business directory listings, including the Yellow Pages, is effectively 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 any business on platforms like Facebook, Google My Business, and Yelp. Thousands of online directories encompass an enormous variety of industries, subsets, and geographic areas.

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

Multimedia Opportunities

Many local business directory listings will support multimedia formats. This includes videos, images, call-to-action buttons, virtual business tours, links to social media profiles, and external websites, and more. With all of these opportunities, consumers can learn more about your business from the comfort of their computers or cell phones.

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 can’t be provided by traditional marketing mediums.

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

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 the most essential information found in print advertisements should convert potential patrons into new customers. These tidbits include descriptions, taglines, attributes, travel directions, menus, coupons, reviews, and of course, 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, contact information, and more. Picture a big glossy direct mailer but 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 the real estate and advertising potential provided by free business directory listings. 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 are the best fit for your business. Some business owners spend significant time and money listing themselves on every single 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. By using these tactics, you’ll avoid spending extensive time on directory listings that won’t increase traffic to your business’s website.

Review The Data

Are you going for a completely 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 a wrong number. In the physical Yellow Pages days, this meant an entire year of unwanted calls, and no calls for the business. In the digital age, this can be easily avoided, but still happens often.

If your data is inconsistent, it can be confusing to consumers and affect your site’s search rankings. As a result, to keep data consistent. Monitor your business listings, and make sure that the data included on these sites is 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!

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].