New online business directory
Whether you're a visitor to Norfolk or a resident, a new online service promises to be the region's most comprehensive and trusted business directory to help you find the service you need.
A brand new online service promises to provide the region's most comprehensive and trusted business directory to help you find the service you need.
The new, easy-to-use, website LocalSearch24 offers an extensive range of informaation to both consumers and traders. The site focuses on helping users find the right resources, on their doorstep, whenever they need it.
Andrew Denny, digital directions manager of the Archant-run LocalSearch24, said: 'The website will provide an online platform for local people to search for local businesses as more and more people turn to online to look for this nature of sourcing information.'
For example if someone wants to find an Estate Agent in their area all they have to do is type in 'Estate Agent' and the area they want, such as Holt, and it will then generate a list of the businesses in the town and also other suggestions relevant to the search. Users can also type in Norfolk to get a list of all the available traders in the county as a whole.
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That is just the start of it. It is then things become interesting.
Not only does the website act as a great platform for local business to advertise themselves on, but it also doubles up as a business website where traders can have video content, photographs, slide shows, downloadable brochures and even vouchers uploaded for its customers.
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As well as general details of the particular business, such as contact information, it allows users to explore the business without stepping outside their front door. Other tools, such as street view and directions to the business also means users can see what the area or shop looks like even before they visit.
Mr Denny said: 'If you have got people travelling around or coming into the county and they want to find a business in Norfolk then they can get that information on the move.'
To make this even more relevant the LocalSearch24 team have made the site accessible via mobile phones. This allows the user to receive the relevant information they want, such as contact information, but there is also the option to receive a SMS text to their phone so the information is on-hand to them when they are ready to use it.
There is also a trusted services list where users of the businesses can add their own recommendations and reviews, which allows other users to make informed choices about the company they use and also to help businesses monitor feedback.
Extended to this is the Archant Trusted Services scheme where once the business is checked in-house, LocalSearch24 can then give a seal of approval, acting as an 'accreditation scheme', which will be shown up on the businesses webpage.
Some businesses may not have their own website and what LocalSearch24 does is act as a main website for them, if that's what the business wants. There can also be links from the LocalSearch24 webpage to the businesses other, main webpage.
Mr Denny said: 'It is open to any sort of business, any size. Advertising this way means information can be tracked so that the businesses can advertise at the right time as well as to the right people.
'There's been a massive surge in new business start up and they have to put together a business plan. Part of that is talking about promotion marketing and this is an ideal platform for that, especially small business.'
There is currently an impressive 38,000 businesses listed on the site already and that number is increasing everyday.
Mr Denny said: 'It's not just about getting businesses on board but also saying to consumers, shop local here.'
To visit the site go to www.localsearch24.co.uk or the mobile site m.localsearch24.co.uk
Jayne Beevor from Hillfield Nursery and Farm Shop said: 'Because we haven't got our own website, obviously it's something there for people to find us. Without it we're not on the internet at all. It means a lot wider advertising for us, wider than the newspapers.'
Martin Gilmore, marketing manager of Mattressman in Norwich, said: 'We use it to generate local traffic. It seems to be a very good way to join raising awareness of our local stores and our online presence together. This way it joins the two together very effectively because local people search for us and find our website and also our local stores. That's important to us.'
Trish McManus, land lady of the Hare Arms Public House in Stow Bardolph, said: 'I'm very impressed with the traffic we've had directed through the site to our business. I think this is one of the first places people should go to.'
Types of businesses already signed up
Builders – (over) 150 listings
Restaurants – (over) 500 listings
Plumbers – (over) 250 listings
Pubs – (over) 700 listings
Recruitment – (over) 150 listings
Estate agents - (over) 120 listings