Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Local Listings

The internet keeps growing and growing. A recent survey concluded that over 70% of the United States population is using the internet. 70%! Well over two hundred million! Even if your not using the internet much, rest assured, your customers are.

People use the internet for all sorts of things: email, shopping, research, and now, music and TV. Such exposure creates opportunities, and this blog will attempt to give tips and advice on how a small fence business can take advantage of some of those opportunities.

First, we are going to make some "big" assumptions. We are assuming that you are not a web expert, and for the most part, have no interest in becoming one. We are assuming that you don’t want to spend a lot of time on this part of your business. so we’ll keep it simple and relatively quick. (There are a lot of books allegedly showing techniques on how to run a successful internet business; we’re not going to do that.)

There is a lot to cover and we are going to go slowly dealing with one topic at a time.


One of the fastest growing segments of internet searching is: consumers looking for local information... looking for a local builder, for example, or a fencer, or a taxi company.. (At one point the internet was mostly used for searching for catalog items and electronics, but now, people ordering pizza more often than not will go to their computer instead of the phone book!)

That's an important trend...searching behavior relating to local searches... users looking for information, products, and services provided by businesses in their local geographical area (the difference between ordering a catalogue item and a pizza.). A study done by comScore shows
"63 percent of U.S. Internet users (or approximately 109 million people) performed a local search online in July 2006, a 43 percent increase over July of 2005"

So the very first task for a fence contractor new to internet marketing is to get himself listed on the local search engines - where your customers look to find what they want. The two most important local search engines to be listed on are Google and Yahoo. They both make it easy to get your business listed, even if you don’t have a web page:

Start with "are you already listed?
Go to http://maps.google.com/maps go to the "Find Businesses" tab and type in the word "fencing" with your zip code.. Does your business show up?

If you’re not listed, Google has an easy way to add your business; you don’t even need a web site, plus you can add coupons for free. Click and follow instructions at . http://www.google.com/local/add?hl=en&gl=us


Do the same test; put in the word fencing and your zip code in the search box. Do you show up? If not, you can add your business for free by going to http://listings.local.yahoo.com/

On the lower right hand side is where the free option is. You may want to do a paid listing but start with the free one. If you’re the only one there, no reason to pay for the top spot. The other big search engines we’ll discuss next time are MSN and Ask.com But for now make sure you’re listed on Yahoo and Google.

Is this a blog going to help? Let us know what you think and what you want to know more about.