Get Listed – Merchant Marketing for 2012

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There is a new Scrooge in town, and it goes by the name of Amazon.

The retail giant that stocks everything, Amazon, is becoming a little greedy in the eyes of small business owners because of a recently launched app.

The Price Check app drives customers into local businesses, and then with the snap of a camera, steals the customers away. When customers visit local businesses to shop, they can use Price Check to snap a picture, scan a barcode, use speech or text search to find an item, and then buy it (at a cheaper price) from Amazon within seconds.

With tools like this, how can local businesses fight back? By making sure that their business listings appear on every one of the platforms listed below.

Local business listing sites, equipped with customer feedback and daily deal features, can help drive traffic to ecommerce sites and brick and mortar stores, in hopes that customers leave that pesky Amazon shopping app at home.

A recent study from the Pew Research Center reveals that people rely on the Internet – especially search engines – when looking for information about local restaurants and other businesses. 

According to the study, 55 percent of adults seek news and information about local restaurants, bars and clubs. However, 51 percent of those adults turn to the Internet for this information – with 38 percent relying on search engines. The study also reveals that 60 percent of adults actively seek news and information about other local businesses, with 47 percent relying on the Internet for this information and 36 percent gathering the information through search engines.

To increase visibility for all of these local business searches, why not get listed? Here is the ultimate list of business listing websites:

Google Places

This free platform is a MUST for local businesses. Not only will it help put your business in the top search results, but it also puts your business on the map – Google maps that is. Merchants can also customize their listings, by adding photos, videos, offers, special promotions and respond to customer reviews. And with Google’s recent acquisition of Zagat and implementation of brand pages into Google+, one could only hope that someday soon all of these platforms will come together to form a great option for local and social search and reviews.

Foursquare

This platform straddles the line between a social site and a listing site, but nonetheless it is a great tool for Web success. Merchants can claim their venue as well as create specials, discounts and promotions for their customers. This platform is particularly helpful for business owners that are thinking of entering into the location-based marketing game.

Yelp

With more than 22 million reviews in 11 countries, it is clear that this website connects local consumers with local businesses. This listing site provides free tools for businesses including the option to create deals, message customers publicly or privately and view your business listing’s performance trends.

Yahoo! Local

Retailers can list their business for free, including phone number, address, Web site, store hours and information about products and services. For an enhanced listing, business owners can also add a description, logo, photos and offer online coupons to customers.

Bing Business Portal (Beta)

Increase visibility by verifying your business listing to ensure that customers can find and contact your business.  This free platform allows merchants to add photos, logos, contact information, payment types, menus and deals that can be published onto Facebook.

Local.com

List your business for free on Local.com, which will provide your business’s name, address, phone number and website. Premium listings are also available and start at $49.95. Features of premium listings include top search result placement, as well as enables businesses to include a company logo, offer specials to customers, add up to five photos and more

MerchantCircle

Through this local business social network, retailers can upload pictures, create blogs, make coupons and newsletters, as well as connect with other merchants for free. This platform also makes businesses more visible in search results, allows owners to manage and monitor their business’s online reputation, enables businesses to recieve local customer referrals and helps businesses advertise. Currently, more than 14 million businesses are included in MerchantCircle’s directory.

Manta

With more than 1,500 businesses joining every day, this platform helps businesses be found through its nearly 30 million visitors per month. This platform is free and focuses on driving traffic to your business and attracting new customers. Additionally, merchants can monitor who is viewing their profile and make business connections with other business owners.

Yellow Pages

Create a free business account on YellowPages.com and receive a listing and a free coupon. This platform allows businesses to reach customers and customize their listing. Additionally, businesses can upgrade listings to include more detailed business information, graphics and priority placement.

MapQuest (Beta)

With the free listing option from MapQuest, retailers can include website, hours of operation, photos and other information in business listings. The MapQuest premium option allows business listings to include special offers and provides the option to promote a business on multiple popular sites, including Yahoo!, Yelp and SuperPages.

SuperPages

Merchants can create a business profile and add online coupons for free with Superpages. However, the point-of-difference is that this platform also provides click packages to bring traffic to a business profile. These packages improve placement on search results, allow for an extra line of text within the business profile and include a bold business name display, as well as an icon or logo.

Citysearch

After adding your business listing or claiming your business page on Citysearch, business owners can manage profile details like hours, address and phone number, view page analytics through a dashboard, add an offer to attract customers, communicate with customers through an integrated Twitter feed and promote their Facebook business page.

Cityslick

Businesses can locally advertise online with this solution by registering for a local business profile so that the business listing can be picked up by search engines. Free listings include basic contact info, a map, link to a website and more. Other listing options start at $3.99 a year and reach up to $99.99, which include extra features such as ads, bargaining tools and reviews.

Localeze

Improve your business’s “findability” by signing up, reviewing and certifying your local business with Localeze’s Business Registration Manager. Once signed up, your business will be distributed over a large network of local search platforms including Yahoo, Bing, Twitter, Facebook, Tomtom and more.

LocalPages

Like many of the other options, this platform includes both a free listing and premium listing choice for business owners. The free option includes basic business information, an optimized Yahoo and Google local listing and enables businesses to be found on Google, Yahoo and Bing. The premium listing features top search result perks, profile customization, automatic updates and sharing options for social media.

:: Create a local presence wherever you want to do business. Get a local phone number. ::


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3 comments

DarrylM 11-06-2012 8:26 PM

Thanks for this updated list.  Was flogged by MapQuest's and Bings' opportunities.

Texdesignstudio 11-09-2012 12:32 PM

Site are directories are nice, but all of these use "nofollow".  Not good for SEO purposing.

BillB 01-23-2013 7:58 PM

A list like this greatly helps taking an expedient approach to get seen. It would've taken me some time to put this all together myself. Now can just do it! then move on to the next one of my lists. thanks!

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