Local-Search Upgrades Affect Traditional Local Businesses

Have you used Yahoo!’s new local-search function? If you haven’t, you owe it to yourself to check it out. They’ve upgraded it with fantastic features geared to make searching for local businesses and services a breeze. Some of these features include user recommendations and reviews of businesses, real-time updates on local event information, and the ability to search for businesses, events, and more within specific neighborhoods rather than forcing the user to wade through the search results for an entire city. In addition, the search engine company has also upgraded its mapping capabilities.

Users also have the option to receive updated search information via RSS – Rich Site Summary, otherwise known as Really Simple Syndication – feeds. This particular feature has, arguably, impacted the scope of the heavy-hitting search engines in Internet users’ lives the most. The race between Yahoo!, Google, MSN, and AOL for market share is never-ending, and each has added its own brand of improvements. The major search engines’ new local-search features are all fantastic for the end user, but what do they mean for local businesses?

In the history of local search, there has been a lot invested in the form of user-friendly improvements by search-engine companies, but these improvements haven’t yielded a noticeable return-on-investment (ROI) for the companies. You might recall search trailblazers Citysearch and MSN Sidewalk – these two engines were an early example of the race to improve search functionality – then again, you might not remember them at all. It wasn’t until Google’s explosion onto the search scene in recent years that the general public really became aware of the power of search on the web. Now “Googling” is a verb.

Much of the public awareness of Internet search comes from Google’s innovations in technology, but until recently, local search wasn’t really a consideration for most Internet users or the businesses featured in search results. However, the improvements that the major search engines are adding are changing that, and if you’re an owner of a traditional local business, you should be paying attention.

More functionality for users means more accountability for business owners. Now that patrons can voice their opinions about the establishments that they frequent, potential customers have an all-access pass to virtually unlimited information about a business before they ever step foot inside the door. The days of businesses relying on a fancy façade and some good ol’ TV ads are quickly fading. Now businesses have to be accountable for just about every step they take, no matter how large or small they are. If a patron of a restaurant or theatre or dentist or landscaper has a bad experience, they have the ability to tell a lot of people all about it quickly and easily.

The prospect of being scrutinized at every turn might seem like a frightening one at best, but there is a definite upside. Just as negative views can spread like wildfire, so can positive perspectives. If you’re putting a concerted effort into your customer service and integrity is integral to the way that you conduct business, you’re bound to get good feedback. And, now more than ever, good feedback with go further than it ever has before.

Perhaps more importantly, though, it’s up to traditional local businesses to make sure that they have online presences. I live in a mid-sized community, and I was surprised to find as many reviews about local eateries, mechanics, and events as I did. It’s not just businesses located in large cities that need to take heed. The proliferation of the Internet – and local search capabilities – is affecting communities far and wide. Since more and more people are utilizing the web to find the goods and services that they want, it only stands to reason that you should ensure your business is in front of them. These folks are your potential customers, after all.

There are a lot of ways that you can improve your online presence, but the first step of putting yourself in a position to grow your traditional local business is being aware that the Internet will affect your business one way or another, negatively or positively. It’s up to you to take control of which way you want things to go. Take some time to surf the web. Use the new features that the search engines are rolling out. Pay attention to what customers are saying about traditional local businesses. Accessing that information now will be invaluable to your success later.

© 2005 Low-Hanging Fruit

How to Cruise Through Your Business Using MLM Practices

There are many processes through which you can increase your MLM practices. There are many ways to bring the best out of your products and business processes when you know the multi level marketing tools will bring solution to your new business features. Online business have just taken defining leaps and bounds to bring in greater usage of the niche marketing system in ways that will totally change the way you see full blown marketing feature to be. There are defining ways through which you can attract your best clients who will just want the products that you are offering. So it is important to have a client base and bring on the best of your website through ezine circulation and bring in the right targeting market features that you are focusing on. There are some of the best of leadership techniques in your own niche circuit through MLM understanding.

There are great ways of bringing in the right clients under your periphery. With the internet opening up new waves and new ways of understanding these are incredible ways to introduce the kind of products that you are looking to present. For every product that you offer and believe in, there are the right kinds of clients, no matter where you are based. Wherever in the world you may be in, if you have a strong MLM oriented business set up and website to present your products, you will have the right kind of deals with your clients. If you know MLM you know how to target the market where you are based.

BlackBerry V iPhone for Your Business – You Decide!

Many would really like to know which smartphone is better value, easier to use and the most useful. To be honest, it all depends on what you are using the business smartphone for. Both are very useful and have some great applications they offer a variety of different features that can be beneficial for your business. Deciding whether BlackBerry or iPhone is better for your business comes down to comparing the business features offered by each company.

Think about what the main features you would like to use. If for instance, you are an estate agent then a good camera might be what you are looking for. If you are a general business corporation and need to access information on the road then emails and calendars maybe more important to access.

Email

If like many, your business needs to stay in contact with colleagues and clients at all times, email is going to be your most essential feature. Both BlackBerry and iPhone have built-in email functions with numerous beneficial features. BlackBerry and iPhone each integrate with Microsoft Outlook, support HTML viewing, which allows messages to show text formatting and images, provide folder management systems for separating emails and also allowing you to view attachments. I would say BlackBerry has the edge with this feature as you can search emails on your office based computers even if those emails have been deleted from your BlackBerry smartphone and you can set up out-of-office replies in Outlook from your phone, something the iPhone cannot do.

Verdict = BlackBerry

Calendar

A calendar system is offered by both BlackBerry and iPhone to keep track of your appointments, events or meetings. BlackBerry offers automatic synchronization with the Microsoft Outlook so that your office calendar is updated without needing to connect to your computer. The iPhone does not do this, however it does support multiple time zone support so depending on what you need from your business smartphone would determine which is more useful.

Verdict = non-conclusive

Integration

BlackBerry and iPhone both integrate with desktop computers. BlackBerry phones use their own BlackBerry Desktop software, which can sync information stored on the business smartphone, including calendar and contacts with one sync process, while also providing the automatic sync features with Microsoft Outlook. iPhone synchronizes to desktop programs like Microsoft Exchange, but the process requires the exporting and importing of files from the iPhone, making the process long winded and time consuming.

Verdict = BlackBerry

Camera

Both smartphones have excellent camera features, although the iPhone’s 8-megapixel camera and 1080p HD video recorder is somewhat better than the BlackBerry’s 5-megapixel camera and 720p HD video recorder, however for most business people the latter is more than sufficient for a business smartphone.

The iPhone also has a larger memory, but is this better than the BlackBerry’s expandable memory? BlackBerry’s 8GB internal memory will be more than enough for the average business user depending on what you would be using it for, but others may prefer the iPhone’s 16/32/66GB capabilities.

Verdict = iPhone

So to conclude, although the iPhone is a fantastic piece of equipment it is more suited for personal use or if you have a real need for a high spec camera or application use. If you are using you smartphone to receive emails, upload appointment information or to synchronize your calendar then the BlackBerry is the best on the market!