local listings

The Big Six: mandatory sites for local bricks-and-mortar businesses

local shopkeeperIf you’re a local merchant with  a bricks-and-mortar presence, it’s time to kiss the yellow pages goodbye. There’s no longer any excuse for not having a web presence or for ignoring digital marketing.  Eighty-two percent of people use search engines to find information about local businesses – more than any other media. Even if you don’t have a website (you should, but that’s another story), there are six sites no local business can afford to ignore.

Not only is getting listed dead simple, it’s a great leveler. If you own a pizza place, you can compete head-to-head with national chains like Dominos. Hardware? Go up against Home Depot and Lowes. You get the idea.

Claiming your business and getting listed and  on all five of the Big Six should only take an hour or so (though most require you wait for a postcard or phone call o verify that you are who you say you are). Once you’ve enlisted, and taken advantage of some of the special features these sites offer (mostly for free), you’ll reap many advantages. You’ll have a presence in organic search results, not only on the web, but also on mobile platforms.

You can offer special deals and inducements to lure new business, you can encourage positive reviews and, to a degree, manage your online reputation. You can precisely map your location and help people to find it, and broadcast your hours of operation. And you’ll have access to analytics that can inform you of the keywords used to find your business, the time of day people search for you and other data that can help improve your online presence, offers and advertising and promotional campaigns.

With a near-zero investment of time and money, there’s absolutely no excuse to not get started with The Big Six.

Qype improves its iPhone app

Qype, which claims to be the UK’s largest local search and recommendation website, has just released an updated version of its mobile app, Radar, for iPhone users.

Like rival Yelp, Qype Radar provides local listings and reviews for mobile users, very useful when you’re out and looking for somewhere local to eat, or for other local services.

Yelp updates its iPhone app

US based local listings and reviews website Yelp launched in the UK at the beginning of the year, and had already launched an iPhone app to accompany the main website.

I was impressed with the iPhone app when I compared it with Qype Radar a few months ago, and it has just updated with some more useful features, as well as content tailored to UK users.