According to BusinessDictionary.com a local business is: “A company which provides goods or services to a local population. Though most often used when referring to a locally-owned business, the term may also be used to describe a franchise or corporate branch operating within a local area.” The question then is how do you get the local population to find out about you and how to do business with you.
It used to be that people pulled out this huge book with yellow pages and scanned through to the type of business they were looking for and the called you. Then the Internet came along and decimated that business by letting people search from their computers and now their phones for local businesses that can help with their specific needs. The problem is that websites like Google rely on databases of information, some of which are those old books, to provide them with specifics about your business. Like any automated process this can and does create a lot of mistakes causing you to lose business.
Those databases of information are also known as local citations. They include websites like Yelp, Yahoo, CitySearch, and many more. They also include pure data companies like Localeze, Axiom, and Universal Business Listings who sell their data to those other websites including Google. You want to make sure that all of them have the correct information about your business so that when the local population looks for your services they not only find you but they also get the right information.
To find these citations you can do a Google search for your company name, address, and phone number to see what websites are displaying your business information. You can also use a free tool like GetListed.org which will help you focus on the websites that are more important than others.
Its a game of whack a mole if you have been in business a long time and have moved addresses and changed phone numbers. Sometimes it can help to hire someone with experience doing this among other online marketing activities which will help your business grow.