Examples of Local Online Presence Tools

Examples of Local Online Presence Tools

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Any business that offers goods or services directly to a local market is often considered a local business. Often denoted by the term, brick and mortar, a local business is often a privately owned firm or a franchise with several locations operated in a given geographical area. Franchises are increasingly popular as many companies are able to capitalize on the franchise model to market their products and services throughout the world, even to those areas where they have no physical presence. While this does not assure a company success in these locations, it does allow them to reduce operational costs and increase sales revenue.

The best way to locate locally owned firms is through the local business directory. These directories compile listing information about all local businesses that meet certain requirements. To begin with, these directories must be free of charge, offering no strings attached opportunities to submit listing information. Many also require that companies provide at least one website (even if it is a domain name) so that visitors may visit to learn more about a business before making a purchase. Local business listings are categorized by category, and the category that a listing falls under depends largely on whether the company is locally owned or franchises itself.

While local business directories are great for gathering and organizing local businesses, they are not the only online resources available for matching sellers and buyers in various categories. In addition to providing free local business listings, many online business directories provide information about regional directories as well. For instance, the National Association of Realtors offers a searchable directory that allows users to drill down by region and state. Other online business directories include those managed by the Small Business Administration and the National Association of Manufacturers.

One of the advantages of creating an online presence through a local business listing service is that it helps build a company’s brand name and local presence. Consumers are comfortable with using local search engines to find local businesses because they provide a similar experience when searching for products and services based within a city, town or metropolitan area. While this makes a local search for a company’s location somewhat less effective, when consumers utilize a local search engine to find local businesses they tend to trust the results and recommend them to friends and family.

Yelp is another example of an online local business listing service that can help consumers locate local businesses within a particular city. Like the local business directories, Yelp offers user-friendly search options and allows users to leave reviews on local businesses in order to encourage other local business owners to review their business. Like the local business directories, Yelp works with a point system in which points are awarded based on user feedback. Yelp offers free account registration, which includes a username and password. Other features include a map, phone number list, and a detailed review system.

Creating an online presence through a local business directory, social networking websites, and yelp are all ways to create a significant amount of local exposure for a small business owner. These methods work because most consumers want to feel as though they have some control over the information that they are reading. When a small business owner creates a presence on one or more of these sites, they should also think about taking the time to build a strong customer base. This means getting local customers excited about becoming part of the small business owner’s community.

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