- Matt Moloney
Using a small business directory to build a stronger community
When creating a small business directory for the first time, it can be challenging to understand how it contributes to a stronger local economy. As city residents increasingly look online to find businesses that serve their needs, a small business directory can increase traffic to your local businesses and help Economic Development departments better support them.
A small business directory is a public-facing website that contains information about the businesses in your city. A good business directory allows each business to have their own profile to update with hours, online delivery links, Google Map directions, Facebook pages and other important information. Even if a business doesn’t have their own website, they can be found through this directory.
However, building a small business directory isn’t quite as easy as it sounds—it’s extremely important to build a directory that is simple for your residents and businesses to use. An easy way to do this is to use a tool that is built for Economic Development departments like Bludot Open.
Promoting local business with a small business directory
Small business owners are always looking for more visibility for their businesses—whether it’s running a new promotion, hosting an event or even celebrating an anniversary, they are looking for new ways to share this news with their shoppers. Business directories like Bludot Open allow businesses to promote these occasions directly in the directory—so residents can read the listings and shop (or save) locally.
For example, when the City of Port St. Lucie, Florida came to Bludot, their goal was to directly support the local community and give their 200,000+ residents better access to their small businesses. When you view their Small Business Directory, you notice the discounts, additional details and notes from their business owners that are highlighted—providing useful information directly to their residents. Businesses can also post open jobs on business directories, helping to engage the local workforce and stimulate local growth.
By listing themselves on the local business directory with Bludot Open, business owners also receive access to information about their listing, including how many views and the geographic location of the viewers. Small businesses can use this data to learn more about their customers and apply it to other marketing strategies they may be using.
Helping you empower local businesses and the community they serve
As an Economic Development department, your goals revolve around supporting the development of your local economy and small businesses. Engaging in a small business directory not only supports your businesses in the ways detailed above, but they allow you to support them in additional ways.
A key component to supporting small businesses well is having updated data. A smart business directory like Bludot Open makes this easy. Every time a small business updates their profile on Bludot Open, their information will automatically update to your database, if you’re using the Bludot CRM. For example—if a business changes their website or physical address, it will automatically sync that data and update their profile in the city’s CRM. Alameda, CA utilizes both Bludot Open and the CRM, as they were looking to improve communications with businesses. Now, it’s easy for them to collect business data—no more unanswered emails or phone calls asking for updated information.
With Bludot Open, Economic Development departments also receive an analytics dashboard with insights on how people are visiting and interacting with the businesses listed in your city’s directory. You can use these insights to help promote the local businesses and provide additional key resources.
Things to consider when creating a small business directory
Not all business owners are tech-savvy, so it’s important the directory is user-friendly. Consider how hard it is for a business owner to edit their profile—can you do it with just one click? Is it an easy site for your community to navigate? Easy to use filters and customizable areas make it more streamlined for residents to find what they need.
It’s even better if you don’t need to download an app—platforms like Bludot Open can be a standalone site or embedded directly on your city’s or county’s website. Take a look at Cibolo, TX—their Economic Development team is committed to supporting the growth and expansion of local businesses. They use the business directory to communicate directly with their business—showing them how easy it is to edit and get added onto the platform.
A small business directory is the easiest way to get your small businesses online. To learn more about embracing technology to grow your community, take a look at how we’ve helped over 10 cities in Texas modernize their Business Retention & Expansion efforts. And if you’re interested in working with Bludot for your business directory needs, schedule a call today.