Using Online Directories to promote your business locally

Using Online Directories to promote your business locally

Around this time last year we wrote a blog post outlining several low to no budget ways to promote your small business.

Included in that list of tips was a short description of how to find online directories that will list your business for free, or at least for a very low monthly fee. I thought it was time to revisit this tip in more detail seeing as so many businesses are struggling to promote themselves in the current economic climate, yet also have trouble trying to visualise how they can harness online promotion to work for them on a truly local level.

Case in point? We run a business that offers Gold Coast video production and online marketing services. While a big chunk of our marketing clients are interstate, most of our video production work comes from within a tight geographic region that stretches from Brisbane to Byron Bay. It can cost clients a fair bit extra to pay for our travel expenses if they need our services outside this area, especially if they are based overseas, so naturally the majority of clients simply seek a service closer to home rather than pay a travel surcharge. This is understandable; unless they require specific skills, like surf videography, which our resident cameraman is a master at, they could probably find another videographer closer by (and therefore cheaper). So ranking #1 on Google for keywords like Video Production Australia would be harder and way less use to us than rating highly for a term like Video Production Gold Coast. Catch my drift?

Many businesses find themselves bound by geography on an even tighter scale. A doctor or hairdresser may find most of their clients from within the immediate suburb they are located in, while a convenience store, coffee shop or butcher may only draw clients from several blocks radius away. Can businesses working on such a limited geographic appeal still use online methods of promotion successfully? Certainly.

Several larger Australian online directories, like Truelocal, D Look and Yellow Pages, break down listings into specific regions and suburbs, and will give you a basic listing for free. Several, like Truelocal, also allow you to add promotional videos to really enhance your listing if you are paying for their upgraded services.

While many of the paid services these larger directories offer may result in more enquiries and clicks through to your website, we have personally found some of the best performing directories do not cost a cent., which is the free local business directory section of the local area guide, actually pops up a lot higher than any of the paid Directories if you search for terms like Gold Coast video production services, so naturally receives a lot of traffic that are searching for local businesses like ours. In the past we have paid as much as $80 per month for Priority Listings on the larger sites that promised the world, yet none of them delivered any more enquiries or website click-throughs than our free listing on! So do not overlook these smaller local directories, as they can be a great free means of promotion. So how do you locate local directories like these?

1. Type into Google the suburb or region name you are targeting, then add keywords like Free Directory, Local Directory or Business Directory, eg Gold Coast Free Business Directory

2. Sort through results to find both larger directories that service your region along with local directories that purely focus on your area. All can be useful, so list your business anywhere appropriate and free.

3. Add your business details, website details, and all the areas you service alongside the products you offer in the text as this can help people find your listing when they are searching online.

Adding your business details to a bunch of sites may seem time consuming, but once it is done these directories often send plenty of customer enquiries your way for nix, so are well worth the effort.

Have you personally had great results from a local online business directory? If so let us know!

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