On or about May 5, 2020 Mayor Patrick A. Ward of the City of Lyndhurst, Ohio and Karen Schaefer of the Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce reached out to me to rekindle a discussion that the Mayor and I had begun about a year ago. The discussion involved the creation of a Local Business Directory.
Now I know what you might be thinking. Why? Google is already free and has a much larger audience than the City can ever hope to have. So why bother? Well, as it turns out, there are several really good reasons.
The first is the very same reason that may have made you ask why in the first place. Namely that Google has a much larger audience than the City can ever hope to have. And that’s part of the problem. Much gets lost in the abyss. Shopping locally, within your own city, is a very specific type of search, and since a large and growing audience of residents and businesses are already getting their daily updates via city news channels we thought that there might be an opportunity to connect local businesses with residents in a much more direct fashion.
And then came COVID-19, and the incredible and unanticipated impact that it has had on local businesses. It became obvious to each of us rather quickly that this opportunity had now taken on a new kind of importance.
And so, at the Mayor’s direction, we set to task. Many conference calls were made, and many, many emails were exchanged. In the end, through considerable donations of time and effort on everyone’s part we were able to bring the City’s new Local Business Directory to life at no cost. In fact, we ultimately decided that was precisely how the Directory needed to be created (pro bono) in order for it to have the effect that the Mayor intended. Connection. He wanted both local Lyndhurst businesses and residents to benefit equally from the project.
And so, in an attempt to strengthen this specific relationship, and set the new city directory even further apart from those vanilla Google searches, the Mayor asked that the new city Directory be made sortable by All Businesses, Woman-Owned Businesses, Minority-Owned Businesses, and Woman and Minority Owned Businesses. And with that, the City of Lyndhurst, Ohio Local Business Directory was launched on June 26, 2020.
This now means that anyone can bring up a list of all businesses that operate within the City of Lyndhurst, Ohio sorted by any of the above criteria. In an instant. And all directly from the city website. This all assumes, of course, that every business in the city has already joined the Directory, which is far from the case currently, but many have since launch, and it is our sincerest hope that many more will over time.
In order to provide additional incentive for businesses to list, while furthering the directory’s goal of increased connection between local businesses and Lyndhurst residents, the Mayor recently made the decision to feature a local Lyndhurst business within the city’s email newsletter each week. The city’s email newsletter currently reaches 3,500+ weekly subscribers as of this writing. While this offers valuable exposure to local Lyndhurst businesses that they would be unable to get anywhere else, it also provides Lyndhurst residents with exposure to businesses that they may never have otherwise discovered.
And the reason they may have never discovered them? Many local businesses are no longer store fronts. (Hello, Mind Vault.) In addition, not all businesses know how to list themselves on Google. And in their defense, it can be a somewhat daunting process. I know this because Google business listings are still a service that we provide to clients on a regular basis.
In the end it was only by considering the needs of two different groups and how their connection might benefit one another at a most inopportune time that we were able to make this project a reality.
I would like to thank both Mayor Ward and everyone at the City of Lyndhurst, Ohio as well as Karen Schaefer and everyone at the HRCC for making this project possible. It is both an honor and a privilege to partner with you on this project.
If you would like to search or learn more about the City of Lyndhurst, Ohio Local Business Directory, or are a Lyndhurst-based business and would like to list, please visit: https://lyndhurst-oh.com/business today.
City Press Release: June 26, 2020
PRESS RELEASE: Announcing the City of Lyndhurst, Ohio Local Business Directory: A Collaboration Between The City of Lyndhurst, Ohio, The Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce (HRCC) and Mind Vault Solutions, Ltd. Free Online Listing for All Businesses Operating within the City of Lyndhurst, Ohio
Update: August 15, 2020
LYNDHURST LIFE MAGAZINE: Lyndhurst Life Magazine announces the launch of the Local Business Directory. Announcement made possible by the City of Lyndhurst, Ohio.
Update: October 12, 2020
SEO BADGE: City of Lyndhurst, Ohio now provides “Local Lyndhurst Business” Badge to all local businesses approved for listing within the City of Lyndhurst, Ohio Local Business Directory. Increase the visibility of your business and improve your website’s SEO today by placing this badge in the footer of your business website with a link back to your listing in the City of Lyndhurst, Ohio Local Business Directory.
Update: October 19, 2020
SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS: City of Lyndhurst, Ohio now includes “The Week’s Featured Local Business” across all City Social Media Channels in addition to the City Email Newsletter.
➜ The City of Lyndhurst, Ohio Facebook Page currently provides daily updates to 2,619 followers as of this writing.
➜ The City of Lyndhurst, Ohio Twitter Page currently provides daily updates to 200 followers as of this writing.
➜ The City of Lyndhurst, Ohio LinkedIn Page currently provides daily updates to 7 followers as of this writing.
Update: November 16, 2020
PRINT VERSIONS ADDED: By user request the City of Lyndhurst, Ohio Local Business Directory now includes a List View, or Print Version for all 4 categories of the Directory.
Aaron Di Blasi, PMP
Project Management Professional
Web: https://mvsltd.com 🌐