60 Free Local Business Online Directories

A great profitable step to take on your way to total local market domination is to take advantage of all of the FREE and EASY ways to help customers find you.

Forget the old days of advertising in the Yellow Pages with a ‘big ad is better’ mentality. If you’re still a believer in that strategy, you’re just going to lose your hard earned money – maybe even your business – a little bit faster.

As a local business – small or large – attracting new customers will always be a challenge so you need to work hard to keep your name profitably visible.

For the majority of people today, opening up a local Yellow Pages book to find a business is an outdated, antiquated – if not non-existent – method for of search!

Today, we simply Google to find your business – and you better be there at the top of the page!

Today, there’s a great, free and easy way for local businesses to get found on the Web and that is, by completing their profiles in online directories  and claiming their turf. And, it seems these directories continue to pop up online.

It’s pretty simple to add a listing, but if you’re only listing with Google – as powerful as it is – you’re missing out on lots of opportunities to get found by people who are interested NOW in what you’re selling.

Did you know that 82% of local internet searches follow-up offline with an in-store visit, phone call or purchase? Well, it’s true.  In fact, check out this Local Web Infographic for more insights.

Every online directory you submit your Business to gives you one more chance to step up to the plate and hit a home run with your customers.

Over the past few year or so, we’ve come across over 60 free online directories to date (see below), and wish you much success in using the list to help you get found.  If you come across any others, please let us know so we can add to our list.

60 A to Z and Free Local Business Online Directories

AOL Patch SitesAmerican TownsAxciomBest Deals onBest of the Web
BingBizJournals.comBiznikBrownbookChoiceVendor.com (TBD – bought by LinkedIn)
CitySearchCitySlickCitySquaresCityVoterDex
Discover our TownFoursquareGenieknowsGoogle PlacesHopStop
HotfrogInfignosInfoUSAJudysbookJustclicklocal
 Kudzu LinkedInLocal.comLocalCompanySearchLocalEze
Localndex.comLocal Pages Local Site SubmitMagic YellowMapquest
 Manta MatchPoint Merchant CircleMetrobotMojoPages
 MyhuckleberryNavteq GPSOutside.inRelyLocalShowMeLocal
Supermedia
(Yellow Pages)
TeleAtlasThinkLocalTopixTwibs
UsCity.netUSYellowPagesWhitepagesYahoo!Yellowassistance
 YellowbookYellowbotYellowPages.comYelpZiplocal
ZipwebTravelocity*UrbanSpoon**Note:HospitalityAngies List – Service Providers

Here are three final key points.

First, to see where you rank now, go to this GetListed.Org link.

Second, you might get tired filling in all of these online directory forms, so check out Firefox’s Auto-Fill add-on link to help save you some time.

Third, if you still don’t have the time to complete online directories for your business/es and keep them up-to-date,  check out companies like BrandMill or others such as Yext.Com who will charge you a small fee to keep you updated in online directories.

Good luck in getting found more often!

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American Cancer Society Marketing Award

L-R - Stephen Wayhart, ACS RVP Glenn Callihan, Carly Neal

At a recent volunteer appreciation dinner given by the American Cancer Society’s Greater Pittsburgh Unit, BrandMill was recognized with a special Marketing Program Award.

As part of BrandMill’s commitment to the communities in which it conducts its business, the Pittsburgh based marketing consultancy, provided a pro-bono service to lead and create the American Cancer Society Western Region’s (now East Central Region) Facebook Fan Page.

This is the Region’s first foray into Social Media Marketing and it will help it to more cost effectively promote its programs, services and special events throughout Western Pennsylvania. BrandMill will continue to offer other Social Media Marketing consulting services for the Region.

For several years, BrandMill Managing Partner Stephen Wayhart was a Board member and most recently has been the chairperson for the Unit’s Marketing Committee.

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3 Secrets to Achieving Social Media Success

If you want to be a successful, profitable brand via Social Media Marketing, first remember one thing above all – it’s not about the tools, so don’t be one!

The secrets to success in life and business are so basically simple (certainly putting them to practice requires focus, hard work ) that we get so caught up in tools, investments and processes that we lose sight of the easiest ways to get from Point A to Point B.

For example:

  • If you want to lose weight, eat less and exercise more. Burn up more calories than you consume.
  • To find love in your life, first be a loving person. Give and you shall receive. Knock and it shall be opened etc.
  • If you want to be treated nice, follow the Golden Rule and on and on

Brands today get so caught up in the the “new new” tools of Social Media (Blogs, Twitter Facebook etc.,) that they lose sight of the true secrets of success. The reason I call them secrets is because most brands are unaware of them, avoid them or think they’ve already uncovered and accomplished them, but they’re not even close.

And, these secrets are not tasks you complete once and move on, rather they’re they’re three pillars of success that need to be strengthened every day through a brand’s daily actions.

Here are my three secrets to Social Media Success.

1. Build a Rock Solid Brand of Character and Integrity – Are you a stand up brand when no one is watching? Do you keep and deliver on your promises? Do you follow your ethical standards in tough times? Not easy to do, but certainly doable.

Check out Gallup Ethical Standards ranking of people in the various fields listed below. Take for example, “business people” – only 12% say they have very high/high standards. Don’t you think we can all work a bit harder on building our reputations than another Facebook Fan Page?

If/when you do, your customers and acquaintances in the Social Media world will be banging their Social Media Marketing drums, praising your name!

Gallup Ethical Standards 11.09

2. Deliver REMARKable Products and Services – Do you simply produce a product or service to get by or do you really “bring it and WOW people!” Are your standards and expectations higher than the norm? Do you sometimes hit them or blow them away all the time? Do you work hard to surprise and delight your team members and customers? Do you deliver a truly unique, meaningful and memorable experience?

When the REMARKable Susan Boyle performed awhile back on Britain’s Got Talent, her authentic, transparent and awesome talent delivered a a truly unique, unexpected (can you say, “WOW”) meaningful and memorable experience?

And, in a few hours/days, 100+ Million Youtube Views were achieved and she became a richer person and a household name.

The REMARKable Brand of Susan Boyle

3. Be a Servant Leader – Lead from Behind

Finally, brand leaders would do well to remember that the most successful ones long-term lead best by serving the needs of their people. In a servant leadership based brand, the leader’s role is one of a resource (people, capital etc.,) steward and encourages leaders to serve others while staying focused on achieving results in line with the organization’s values and integrity.

People (customers, vendors and employees) want to be aligned with brands they respect, value and admire and servant leadership driven brands deliver on every one.

10 Key Servant Leader Traits

If brands today would simply work hard to lead and improve their business in these three key ways, the social media world would take care of the rest and freely spread their good news and great stories using their Social Media Marketing tools!

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Social Media Marketing Presentation

Yesterday, I was honored to give a Social Media Marketing presentation at the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association’s Western Chapter’s Harvest Your Profits Fall Summit (click here to download presentation). The presentation certainly had a restaurant, hospitality focus, but it’s applicable to most any retail industry.

Having worked in hospitality and restaurant marketing for over 20 years, it’s close to my heart because it’s one of the toughest, yet most gratifying industries. If you’re looking for leading edge marketing, look no further than the folks in the hospitality industry because the great ones know that they need to “bring it” every day – the successful ones know that they’re only as good as their last meal!

You got to love people with that kind of attitude and passion – it’s contagious – and a BIG reason I love working in the industry.

And, you got to love the people who volunteer their time and expertise to associations like the PRA and staffers such as Heidi Howard. They selflessly work hard to help move the hospitality industry forward  to make it better for themselves and their customers and at the same time defend it against government controls – many of which are unconscionable efforts to blatantly rob them (e.g., crazy drink taxes) of their hard earned money.

My thanks to PRA Western Chapter president Steve Musciano of ARAMARK and his board for inviting me, Susan Sansale, owner/operator of the beautiful venue The Chadwick (and incoming PRA Western Chapter president) for hosting the event and super organizer and board member extraordinaire Murrie Emamzadeh for orchestrating a super event!

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A Renaissance in Marketing is Needed

A Renaissance in Marketing is needed today..a rebirth!

When the Renaissance swept through Europe from the 14th to the 17th centuries, scholars followed the humanist method in study searching for realism and human emotion in art. And, today we marketers could learn a great deal from those old Renaissance scholars.

It seems like we’re on to something with Social Media – and I remain cautiously optimistic – but, where are all of the Masters today?

If you’re looking for a chance of great success, wow about stepping up and assuming the position?

My team and I are trying our best.

To succeed today (and be able to sleep peacefully at night), Marketers need to work harder in our field of art and embrace ethical and meaningful marketing communications and public relations. We need to create brand stories with integrity, character, authenticity, transparency, guts, and real value with flawless execution – net – we and our clients need to be walking our talk.

I’ve had the privilege of meeting some Renaissance Marketing & PR Masters such as Harold Burson, Aaron Cushman, Bob Dilenschneider and Al Golin and I have studied the works of Marketing and PR Master Strategist Al Ries and several more, and sadly it seems to me that there’s a lack of “people coming off the bench” and/or on deck ready to take their place.

It seems to me that there’s a lack of breakthrough effort, hard work, enthusiasm, guts, class and grace these days in marketing and in lots of professions too.  It’s sad.

For years, I’ve been a big fan of Edelman PR’s success and I love their whole ethical approach to business and look forward to their annual Trust Barometer.

There’s a good reason why Edelman PR rocks and why they’re the Mac Daddy of PR firms today and the biggest independent in the world. It’s the legacy of Dan Edelman.

Dad Dan Edelman rocks – still at 90!

And, he’s left a great legacy with his kids who lead the firm today. Check out this this link to an Ad Age Article about Edleman and his video interview with Rance Crain below – love the comment about enthusiasm and focus.

I can “smell” through the video that at 90, this guy would have my back, has a ton of integrity and class and would do everything it takes (in an ethical manner) to drive my business forward.  And, he’d be honest with me and nicely “call my baby ugly” and give me solid recommendations to improve my baby’s looks.

Can you smell it too?

Work on being a Marketing Renaissance Master…we need you!

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Marketing 3.0 – Kotler’s New Values Based Model

Since graduating from college, I voraciously read a new marketing book every 10 days and in my library you’ll find several books by the father of modern day marketing Philip Kotler.

What I love about the guy is that even though his book Marketing Management: Analysis, Planning, Implementation and Control, 13th ed., is the most widely used marketing book in graduate business schools worldwide he never rests on his success and still innovates and tinkers with his marketing theories and models of how marketing works.

I’m a big Philp Kotler fan.

Now, here comes Kotler again with his latest creation (co-written with Hermawan Kartajaya), Marketing 3.0: From Products to Customers to the Human Spirit.

The central theme of the book is based on the simple values-based (not value) matrix above which demonstrates how marketing today has shifted from Product-Centric (Rational Marketing – 1.0 era – e.g., Volvo = safety), to Customer-Centric (Emotional Marketing – 2.0 era) to today’s Human-Centric (Spiritual Marketing – 3.0 era ).

Marketing 1.0 and 2.0 were about how a brands products and services would serve its customers.  Marketing 3.0 is about how a Brand connect with the human spirit of its customers who desire that they assume their fair share of social responsibility for issues that concern everyone (e.g., environment, hunger, poverty, human rights, health and well being etc.).

Brands that behave and conduct themselves properly with regard to the environment, general community at large and create real meaningful demonstrable value that aligns with the social good will be welcome and respected.  The media will promote caring companies which will influence buying behaviors.

Kotler posits that most marketers are stuck in the past. His new model for marketing treats customers not just as consumers, but as complex, multi-dimensional human beings – customers with complex human spirits who are active, engaged, anxious, informed, creative and have the ability to easily connect with others.

Marketing 3.0 addresses the complexity of the human spirit and S.C. Johnson is just one of the many brands Kotler cites as those who are creating products, services, and company cultures that lead, inspire, and reflect the values of their customers.

This recently released book is on my shopping list. I sure wish brands like BP will read it and embrace its philosophy – make sure you do!

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