Monday, August 18, 2008

Local Directories and Review Sites

We've long advocated that business owners need to take control and manage what's being said about them on the web - trouble is, there's far too many websites that cater to consumer reviews to keep track of. One thing we've always done for merchants is to show you where your business is listed, whether it's listed correctly, and how many reviews you have.


We know it's imperative for a business owner to be listed on as many 'free' directories as possible - so hurry up already and get yourself on there. Or you can have MerchantCircle do it for you as well. (Click here for more details.) Engage in active dialogue with your reviewers, always stay calm, collected, and invite unsatisfied customers back to see the changes 'you've made' or 'issues you've addressed.'

While more than 75% of our 550,000 merchants use us as their main web presence, we also offer a section for consumer reviews and dialogue between you and your customers. Just this last week BusinessWeek featured us in a list of review sites that merchants should be aware of. (Click here to read more). Don't be scared off by their comment, the author's point was that many of our merchants have signed up in communities as small as 1,000 people. As a merchant, take note of these sites; It can't hurt. Also check out this previous post from Entrepreneur that features us as well, it's titled: "15 Sites for Promoting Your Local Business". (Click here to read it).

Community Relations

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

LOCAL Business Network

When talking about 'local' sometimes we don't truly go 'local' enough. Many times, it's confined to the city, or county, or region, but for anyone who's ever spent time in a town or city, we all know you can't just say: "....that great pizza shop is located in San Francisco," or "... just head into Boston, that's where you'll find the Steak Restaurant" and just leave it at that. Every area has different monikers. That why we've been tinkering with our 'city pages'.

Below is a city listing for Youngstown, OH:

If you click the 'Neighborhood' drop down tab next to the Search button - you'll be able to search by neighborhoods and specific areas. See below:

Youngstown Menu

Here's one for San Francisco:

San Francisco Drop Down

With greater 'local' features, MerchantCircle members will have more venues to reach out to their local community. Coupons, blogs and other merchant content are on all 'neighborhood' pages. Make sure you take advantage of all of MerchantCircle's free tools!

Kevin L.
Community Relations

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Easy Website Creation

More than 55% of an estimated 15 million local businesses in the US do not have a website (SMI).

You can argue about the value of advertising in the Yellow Pages compared to advertising online all you want (which we've done often here), but there really is very little argument on the importance of a business website. It's often times the gateway between knowing whether a business is legitimate or not and, quite simply, to just check out some of the goods being offered.

While more than 75% of our 550,000 merchants use their MerchantCircle listing as their only and main web presence, we decided to increase our advertising offerings even more to help merchants find more local customers. That's why today, we launched the web's first 'Instant Website' and domain name offering. With just the click of a button, you can pick a unique domain name and all of your MerchantCircle content is pulled to create your new website - instantly. There's no need for HTML experience, finding someone to host it, transferring the domain name - it's the easiest and pain-free method on the web.

Take for instance what Damian McAllister of The Falk Company in Fargo, ND says:

“I bought The Falk Company in 2004 and they had 60 customers nationwide for
their Camfo Crème with no web presence. Since putting my business on
MerchantCircle, I now have 300 customers, but I want to grow my business even
more. Having a domain name and website through MerchantCircle will help me out even more on search engines and it’s been an amazingly simple process.
Literally, I just clicked a button.”

Check out Damian's new website at below:


Anytime Damian adds a new picture, builds a new coupon, or writes a new blog on his MerchantCircle listing, it automatically updates on his website. It's the equivalent of updating your Myspace page or Facebook profile. No need for any tech knowledge. It's really simple, easy, and quite addicting!

Kevin L.
Community Relations