As a local business or small business dependent upon the local consumer for your revenue you can tap into a free marketing tool with search engines, social communities, 411 websites and GPS websites. This marketing tool is known as local business listings and it is estimated that less than 15% of all businesses are actually using this business marketing tool to their benefit. This is mostly because most local businesses have failed to claim (required to use the local listing as a local marketing tool), update and maintain their listing.

Are local business listings new? Absolutely not! They have been around for a number of years with the search engines and with 411 types of websites. They have become a tool for consumers in the past few years once they were able to post their positive or negative feedback about a business. Also, the convergence of search, social communities and the mobile industry have given way for consumers to seek out a business, product or service while they are around town.

You can see how this free business marketing tool can benefit you with a couple of simple tests. The first test is to go to Google (or your favorite search engine) and search for a product or service you offer. Then do this same search by adding your city, state.

In the first example if a map and companies show up you can see the benefit of this free tool that shows up on the first page of a search result. If no map and companies show up, then you have a good opportunity by tapping into your local business listing before your competitors do.

In the second example, a map and companies are most likely going to shown since the search was very specific to a geographic area. Again, you will see that the map with 3, 7 or 10 businesses listed shows. You will also notice that the business website does not have to be ranked in order to show up next to the map. This particular marketing tool does not require the same type of algorithm as we have been used to for so long around search engine optimization.

Local business listings certainly raise a very real question to the business. Why even bother having a website. After all you can put everything into the local business listings including your coupons, menu, videos, photos and much more. Of course it is necessary to have a website as there is other functionality you can provide to your local consumer on your own website, but local business listings get you onto the first page of a search without search engine optimization.

By now you are wondering how you can tap into local business listings. Please keep the following three items in mind before jumping into local business listings.

1. There are over 60 different local business listing websites in four major categories.
2. Realize that consumers can post their experience about your business within these local business listings at multiple local listing websites. These consumer reviews will impact not only your local business listing to show up in the results, but also affect your website’s ranking position particularly with negative responses.
3. Your local business listing is not work you do one time and walk away. This process, like any marketing tool, has to be managed and maintained and not only at one location. The consumer will post their information to any local listing website.

Tapping into local business listings as a business marketing tool starts by setting up accounts and claiming (required to use the local listing as a local marketing tool) your listing. Please do not be fooled by companies that provide a “get listed” service, because most businesses are already listed. Of course, the majority of local business listings are not claimed (required to use the local listing as a local marketing tool) by the business and they have incomplete or incorrect information. Your competitors therefore become the next best choice for the local consumer.

Because your time resources are limited, having a Local Business Listing Management Service at a local cost support you is recommended. For what amounts to less than $50/month you will find this business marketing tool to be more effective than the traditional yellow pages. Afterall, you are able to update your local business listing 24x7x365 something the traditional yellow pages cannot provide.

Additionally, managing your local business listing also requires the understanding of this medium to be most effective. It is, also, not about what to do, but also about what not to do as it has an impact on your local business listing and your website. As this industry and business marketing tool evolves new technologies have to be managed as well. Things like QR Codes, Consumer Reviews and Citations are only the beginning of the next step.

Local business listing management services are provided by SmartFinds Internet Marketing. You will find this to be of great benefit to your time resources and the low cost service may eliminate your yellow page ad costs. Let the experts of over 15 years Internet marketing experience help you use this local business marketing tool properly.