Local Bricks and Mortar Business Listings – some tips on attracting customers online

Hubspot usually provides decent resources and listed 50 business directories on their blog a couple of years ago. Some on the list are not useful anymore, but some are still essential. A friend of mine recently opened a store that sells vintage clothing. She doesn’t have the resources to get a website up just yet, so she set up a Facebook page – it also makes sense to list the business in a few online directories.

Recommended directories to include a business in are:

  • Google Places – Once the info is submitted, you have to verify your listing with a PIN supplied by Google. There are usually two choices: get the PIN mailed to you (2-3 weeks) or by phone. Sometimes if the phone is answered by multiple people, the automated call may be dismissed by whoever answers it, its easier (although slower) to go with the snail mail. Once the PIN shows, your listing will start appearing in search. The more content you put on (photos, video, store hours, parking availability etc, the better the listing will work for you to attract customers) HINT: encourage your customers to write a review on your behalf.
  • Yelp! – Yelp is a good site for a listing – make sure your fans write great reviews on here – doesn’t hurt to strive to get on The Best of Yelp. If there is already a listing for your business, you can claim it with Yelp, by requesting a PIN (similar to Google Places)
  • BlogTO – This is a good site to be mentioned in with a solid reader base. Getting on one of their Top 10 lists is something to work towards. The site is put out by Freshdaily – they operate sites for Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto.

Getting your storefront listed on these sites and getting positive reviews and recommendations from customers is a great way for people to find you over a competitor and makes it easier for customers to get vital info fast.

In terms of optimization, you can’t go wrong with the sites listed above, but what about social media?  Although having a presence on social media doesn’t really help with SEO, since most links posted on SM sites are no-follow links, many people treat social media listings as the holy grail on whether to check out a store or not. Having positive recommendations on these types of listings are vital.

  • LinkedIn – Setting up a company page is recommended – LinkedIn just revamped company pages by allowing businesses to put a graphic on the intro and products page, allows recommendations, more info – LinkedIn is trying to step up the game and not just for recruiters anymore.
  • Foursquare – I am personally not a big fan of Foursquare, but it is still a pretty active network and worth having a presence there.
  • Facebook – the Facebook page is vital, if all of this seems overwhelming, just do light maintenance. Set up the page, invite friends, encourage recommendations, post TONS of pictures, video, post 2-3 times a week – ask your likers questions to get interaction going, always post including a photo, it is more apt to be noticed.
  • Pinterest – Yes, please. Create boards relating to what you do and pin away. Upload as much content as you can muster.
  • Instagram – Create an account for your biz and upload pictures relating to your store, service, etc – try posting at least once a week and make sure your information on your profile is completely filled out.
 This may seem like a ton of work, but it will pay off over time. Once the social media listings are set up, I would recommend at a bare minimum – spending 15min a week updating the SM sites. Post at least once a week – a little more would be better, but life is busy.