If you're a small business owner who's looking for a better way to get more new customers, leads, & prospects, then one of the best ways is to setup a "local listings" account on Google, Yahoo, & Bing.

The local listings directories have been around for only the last couple of years, and can provide you with quick, easy, and free direct response advertising for your business.

Best of all, after you setup your accounts, you'll be able to include a direct link to your website or landing page, your direct email address, your physical address, your phone & fax numbers, and much, much more.
Before you get started, its always a good idea to setup a new & separate email address to use for these new accounts. to ensure your primary email account doesn’t get inundated with spam, etc.

In addition, when you're setting up your new email account(s), try to make your new email address include some of your business' main keywords.

For example, if you owned a gym in Houston, Texas, you might try to make your email address something like "houston-health-clubs@gmail.com", etc. Although the benefits of this customization are minimal, they can be, nonetheless, beneficial to your local listings rankings.

As a side note, I highly recommend setting up a Google gmail account as your primary "secondary" email address, as it has an excellent spam filter, provides you with ample storage space, and is very quick & easy to search.

Now to get started, you'll definitely want to do some basic keyword research to find out exactly what your target customers are searching for online.

All you need to do is go to Google and search for “Google external”, and you will find a great resource. It’s called the Google external keyword tool, and this is a free tool put out by Google basically to help it’s advertisers to find keywords that are related to them, to show them the volumes for which people are searching, and to show them how much it would cost to advertise for those top keyword terms to get in the top three ratings for a listing.

When you go through this you should find 2 or 3 different keywords you think someone who was searching for your products or services would look for. For example, for a local gym it might be “health club", or “Fitness Club", or “gym” or even “gym membership”.

All you need to do is just type in your words or phrase and click “Search.” Your results will come back and you’ll want to make sure and click “global monthly searches” to be descending.
After performing the search, you can see that the most popular terms are at the top, less popular ones are down on the page. Don’t lose sight of these lower traffic terms.

Even though some terms are low search volumes globally, they are generally very targeted people that are looking for your products or services and they are definitely worth going after. However, initially, for your local listings, we want to concentrate on getting you the "biggest bang-for-your-buck".

Finally, you'll want to weed through the terms that are not specifically related to your business, or terms that may be related to a competitor’s business name. You basically want to do this two or three different times with different source keywords that are general and those will give you some good ideas for different keywords that you should go after.

Keep in mind that for these local listings we’re not going to be going after all these different keywords. You should pick your largest ones and build everything in your campaign around those large keyword phrases because they are going to give you the best return on your time investment.