What Makes The Shepherd’s Guide Different From A Yellow Page Product?

 

 

Why The Shepherd’s Guide Should Not Be Categorized As A Yellow Page Product

Did you know that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandates telephone companies deliver a directory to every phone number listed in their phone books?  It’s true. Telephone companies are required by law to deliver those big bulky books each year.  So maybe we can extend these phone companies a little grace when we find them on the ground next to our mailbox at the bottom of our driveways, or on our front door steps.  These big books are unusually distributed by a 3rd party contractor and more times than not, they end up in the trash never making it into the home.

Did you know these telephone companies have an “Opt-Out” program where you give them permission to discontinue deliveries?  If you visit the site below, after entering your zip code, you’ll see a list of yellow page directories that you can select to stop deliveries to you. This is the only way by law the phone companies can stop delivering.

www.yellowpagesoptout.com

So what makes The Shepherd’s Guide different?

1st  Our Statement of Faith: Signing our statement of faith separates your business from the competition.  It gives customers confidence knowing you pledge to hold the highest Biblical code of ethics in business transactions, and customers will be treated with the utmost respect and integrity.

2nd  Our Distribution is Unique:  The Shepherd’s Guide has a one of a kind distribution process which has been developed over 34 years.  Each distribution location is predetermined by an established relationship and/or is requested.  We distribute predominantly through churches, ministries, schools and businesses.  Each place of distribution has agreed to distribute them and more importantly each distribution point anticipates receiving new editions of our directories each year. It is estimated that 70% of users who pick up The Shepherd’s Guide the first time, look through the entire directory.

3rd  Our 34 Year Product History continues to build community and find its way into new family homes and new Christian owned businesses.  Many times we hear users say they still have the first one they received 10 or more years ago.  Advertisers tell us they still get calls from advertisements placed in previous editions.

4th  Print is alive and well.  Perceptions are not always reality.  Many people think the Internet has replaced the printed directory. This is not true.  The internet has definitely changed the local search market, but print is far from being dead.  Here is another perception you may have heard; people over 40 yrs. old still like to hold a book (Print) in their hands when they read while those younger than 40 might instead prefer to read an eBook from an iPad or Kindle.  Breaking it down further, of the two age groups, <40 and >40, which age group is more inclined to own a home or need attorneys, plumbers, insurance, auto repairs, landscaping, etc.?  You see where I’m going with this, right?  Print is not dead; it has changed, but it is not dead.

5th  The Shepherd’s Guide website is alive and well.  Go to www.google.com and type in “Christian Business Directory”.  You will see The Shepherd’s Guide appears on the first page every time.  Now go to www.yahoo.com and type in Christian Business Directory, and then do the same on www.bing.com.  These are the top 3 search engines on the web and The Shepherd’s Guide shows up on the first page every time.  At this point, your listing is just 2 or 3 clicks away from being found.

We hope this article has been informative for you.  Remember to call us and let us know how we can help you.

The Shepherd’s Guide Team!
www.shepherdsguide.com

How To Apply a Promo Code

As a Shepherd’s Guide advertiser, you may receive promotional emails with offering deals for your Shepherd’s Guide listing. Here’s some step-by-step instructions on how to apply the code to the listing.

What Are The Difference Between Listing Levels?

Step 1: Sign In

sign in

Click on the SIGN IN link at the top of the page. You have the option to sign in with your Google or Facebook accounts, or sign in with your business email. If you have already created an account or claimed a listing, your username is typically your email address.

Step 2: Find Your Listing

Once logged in, select the MANAGE CONTENT link at the top of the page. This will take you to the “back office” of the website, where you can manage your listings, deals, and reviews. Under SPONSOR OPTIONS will be where you can manage or add a listing. If a listing already exists, go ahead and click on “Manage” and click on your listing title.

Step 3: Choose your level

choose level

You’ll get a chance to choose your listing level here. Forgot what you get at each level?

Step 4: Fill out your new listing

The paid listings come with additional features that we highly recommend you fill out. Even adding a picture to your listing could double your viewership.

Step 5Pay for your listing (Listing will be pending during this phase)

listing checkout

Step 6: Apply your promo code before checkout

promo code field

Step 7: Finalize the order and wait for approval

There you have it! Please be sure to give us 24-48 hours to approve your listing. We hope to make this process a bit easier in the future. Click HERE to sign into your account. If you run into any issues, please feel free to Contact Us!

5 Ways to Optimize Your Shepherd’s Guide Listing

As of August 2013, there are over 70,000 listings on shepherdsguide.com. And even today, we are happy to offer you a listing on the site absolutely free. So what can you do to stand out among the thousands of businesses around you? Here’s how to do it the Shepherd’s Guide way:

  •  What sets you apart from the rest?
    • Be sure to take advantage of the keywords section of your listing, as this is one of the main driving forces of how people can find YOU. After you set your category, put down keywords and phrases that makes you unique from all the other businesses in similar categories. What does your business truly focus on?
    • Examples:
      • Florist: ‘dish gardens, silk arrangements, wedding bouquets, etc.’
      • Lawyer: ‘family law, church law, workers’ comp, etc.’
  • Does your business carry or service specific brands?
    • This is a big one for those in the service and repair industry. People buy and sell on brand names, so make sure to list the brand names you service/offer. This will help customers find the right person for the job.
    • Examples:
      • Appliance: ‘Kenmore, LG, Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Westinghouse, etc.’
      • Car Repair: ‘Ford, GMC, Chevy, etc.’
  • Does your brand come with a slogan?
    • Slogans can be a powerful tool in marketing. Ever since the rise of radio ads and TV commercials, corporate taglines/slogans, have been a driving force behind brand reinforcement. Be sure to add yours under the ‘Summary Description’section of your listing!
    • Examples:
      • Subway: ‘Eat Fresh.’
      • Nike: ‘Just do it.’
  • Avoid typical keywords!
    • Keep in mind that when you select your category, a lot of obvious keywords are already taken care of for you. (e.g., If you are listed under the category ‘Roofing,’ the keywords ‘roof, roofing, roofer, roofers,’ as well as popular misspellings are already included. Be sure to prioritize unique keywords over simple keywords to grab the users that have specific needs.
    • Examples:
      • Key Phrases: ‘Most reliable service, Locally owned, etc.’
      • Keywords: ‘business cards, marketing event, etc.’
  • Take advantage of special offers and upgrade your listing

Your customers will be able to find you much faster with an optimized listing.
Now, that wasn’t so hard. Your next phone call is right around the corner!

Be sure to claim your listing at The Shepherd’s Guide!

7 Ways to Improve Your Online Presence and Be Found!

When people look for your business on an online directory, there are several things you can to stand out and be found.

  1. Great Profile Photo - We all know that while you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but people do it all the time. It’s important that you choose a profile picture that best represents you and your business. A professional logo is typically the best option, but if you don’t have one, it’s also best to have photos of your work or service as well. Finding free, commercial licensed images and photos is another great way to utilize the internet to find clean, professional pictures to represent your company. If you have any questions on how to do this, don’t hesitate to ask The Shepherd’s Guide for assistance. We love to serve the small, local businesses.
  2. Fully Completed Profile - Once you find yourself a great profile picture, it’s important to also fully complete all the forms and fields of an online listing, including your Shepherd’s Guide profile. It’s worth it to take some time and write out all the details about your company as it attracts customers and not only helps advertise your company, but create loyalty as well. The better your profile looks, the more viewers will assume you are a professional.
  3. Referrals - Most folks tend to not leave reviews on their favorite businesses on the directory service they found you know, but only because they forget to. All it takes is a friendly reminder to ask for their commendation. Go ahead, be brave and ask for those reviews on your favorite websites. Even tackling poor reviews by responding to them will speak volumes for your company because it will show that you care and are willing to improve yourself to satisfy all customers.
  4. Add Media - Continuing this theme of public image, don’t let all those marketing dollars go to waste. Most services allow you to upload additional photos, videos, blog posts, social media, etc. If you’re a restaurant, posting pictures of your best dishes is a no-brainer. The more you add to your profile, the more engaging it will be. Plain and simple. People spend more time on websites and listings that have photos than not. The more information they can get before the phone call, the easier it will be to answer closing questions and earn that sale.
  5. Share Media - Similar to how you may use social media to push out stories and press releases about your business, be sure to share your personal listing pages on all your marketing. The Shepherd’s Guide assigns a unique URL to each listing so that our advertisers can easily cut and paste the URL into emails and other marketing avenues.
  6. Participate in a Variety of Social Sites - Make as many friends as you can in life and online. The internet has made it ten times easier to network and meet others in your industry, especially with services like LinkedIn. The more connections you have, the more venues you have to get the word out about your business and what’s happening.

When your customers see the time and attention you are putting into your business, and they’re kept up-to-date on what’s new with your company, it helps keep you in their minds. How often we tell our friends and families the first company that comes to their head, it’s important to stay relevant. The Shepherd’s Guide lets you do this across different channels and the best news, we provide it for free!

Be sure to claim your listing at The Shepherd’s Guide!

4 Ways Technology has Changed Marketing for Christian Businesses

One of the most critical dimensions of a business is branding and marketing. It is imperative that you get your name out to the public and distance your christian company from the competition. When business owners have to wear multiple hats, marketing typically takes a back seat. In order to stand out and become a leader in your industry, you need to create a strong marketing plan, have experts review it, and then execute successfully. Once launched, you must review results and make changes to stay at the forefront of your market.

Traditional marketing practices of the last 30 years have been a constant, allowing you to set your annual plan, post your goals, and implement your marketing strategy without too much research into new advertising mediums.

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In today’s world, marketing has been influenced first by technology, and then by social interaction and feedback (by way of technology). In order to plan your marketing strategy, your christian company needs to research the new advertising outlets. Some of these marketing changes include:

  1. Pay As You Go Advertising - In the past, advertising was purchased and placed prior to results. Even if you are a wizard at tracking your marketing, you have to make an educated decision on where to allocate your marketing dollars. This was, and still is a viable option, but digital marketing has changed the rules. Now you can purchase Pay Per Click advertising that allows you to pay only when a customer clicks on your link and visits your website. Coupled with a larger marketing strategy including the traditional avenues, this can be an effective way to quickly increase your website traffic.
  2. Social Marketing - Having a presence for your business on all social networks has become a viral marketing trend. It is a necessity but cannot be entered into blindly. A good Social Media Marketing plan along with a strong, branded presence can bring success. While traditional marketing is you speaking to your customers, social marketing for a christian business is centered on your customers speaking to you, and your interactions with them. It will increase customer satisfaction and lead to increased brand loyalty.
  3. Options…Options…Options - With internet and mobile marketing, as well as other technological advances, you are now inundated with marketing options for your christian business or christian organization. Yellow Pages, Radio, Billboards, etc have been replaced by Mobile Advertising, Email Marketing, Website Business Directories, Local Marketing, Deal of the Day, Social Marketing, Pay Per Click, and so on. The toughest part is that each of these mediums include a boatload of companies touting their successes. Including some of the newer marketing options into your current plan is essential, but must be done with extensive research. When you are weighing your options, make sure to base decisions not only on volume of traffic to your advertisement, but on whether the traffic is relevant to your business, and whether the visitors are in a buying position.
  4. FREE Content Marketing - About 10 years ago, traditional marketing was starting to slowly morph from a “BUSINESS” to a “CUSTOMER” mentality. The key to this focus is offering relevant, free content to your customer base, and the public. When educating customers on various topics (keep them relevant to your industry or business brand), you will be giving them reason to keep your business name at the top of their list. When they are ready to buy, you have created a rapport and your christian brand is at the top of your new customer’s list.

Technology has drastically changed how a christian company can market their business and stay relevant. When you create and implement your marketing plan for 2012, be sure to include some web marketing strategies to tie into your traditional marketing. Also, keep in mind that as you go “social” and provide content, consistency is the key. Do not create a presence and then let it sit abandoned.

How has technology affected your marketing plan?  Has it increased ROI?

Originally posted by Dan Detwiler on Fri, Dec 09, 2011

Be sure to claim your listing at The Shepherd’s Guide!

How to Market your Christian Business

Have you seen the poll by The Barna Group? The Barna Group is a research company that focuses on the intersection of faith and culture.  I find this research to be extroadinary. It talks about the American consumer marketplace being a patchwork of markets.  It goes on to say that many brands have achieved success by identifying and reaching pockets of consumers among many variables, including ethnic factors.  This is not to say that they ignore other factors, but it says companies have been successful marketing specifically to ethnic factors, i.e. Christian consumers.

In summary, this poll taken in Feb 0f 2011, found that 42% of Americans are more likely to buy a product or service from a company that manages its business according to Christian principles, while 3 % were less likely and 51% said it made no difference.  In the same poll they found that 37% Americans are more likely buy a product or service from a company that promotes the Christian faith, while 3% are less likely and 58% said it makes no difference.

So what does this mean for the Christian Business owner? Given the above, it could be concluded that when marketing dollars utilize a means that would identify a business that manages it’s organization with Christian principles and/ or embraces and promotes the Christian faith, they would have a higher percentage of success when determining return on investment. Christian Businesses would do well in targeting advertising mediums that produce a vehicle to meet this need.

Originally posted by Richard Criste on Wed, Nov 28, 2012

Be sure to claim your listing at The Shepherd’s Guide!

Using Social Media Platforms and the Importance of Visual Content

With 532 million status updates on Facebook per day, (MBA.comA Day in the Internet) the way a user portrays their information via social media is extremely important.12-12-12

Given the explosion of social media over the past decade, individuals have countless options to display information, express their interests, and communicate with others. Social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest have capitalized on this growing market and have provided great tools for users, especially those who are visually driven. With this growing market comes the challenge for users to post information that is eye-catching and concise.

Let’s start with Instagram. The idea was born in 2010 when two Stanford University graduates with  a love of photography decided to make the task of  taking and editing photos easier on their mobile  devices. Now, two years later Facebook purchased the program for 1 billion dollars, which allowed the  company to become more user friendly with their  photo sharing capabilities.

Around the same time as Instagram, another photo sharing company was born. This company,  popularly known as Pinterest, is a virtual pin board  site that allows users to pin photos of what  interests them. Once the photo is pinned the user has an option of choosing what pin board they  would like to place it on. As with many social media platforms, users can follow others, re-pin photos, and like them. While Facebook hasn’t purchased this social application yet, users can sign in to Pinterest using their Facebook account. From there, users have the option of syncing their Facebook with Pinterest that posts updates on their Timeline every time a new photo is pinned.

With all of these social media applications available, people need the ability to digest information quickly and determine its importance. So much is posted daily in the social media world, that information can be overlooked if a post is not thoroughly executed. A study done by Social Media Today concluded Facebook posts with photos received the most Comments, Likes and Engagement. Photos can grab the attention of a user quickly and are able to convey more information than just using text without an image.

As you think about what you are going to post next on your social media platform, remember the impact of photos. Just one image and a few words can convey a bigger message than just a lot of text.

Originally posted by Patricia Goedeke on Wed, Dec 12, 2012

Be sure to claim your listing at The Shepherd’s Guide!

5 Reasons Why People Prefer Christian Owned Businesses

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In this day and age, making the smart decision on a product or service requires a lot of work, energy, and time. It can get pretty overwhelming to sift through the thousands of business listings in your local area, let alone find the trustworthy companies among them.

As a personal example, I recently caught up with a cousin who had become widowed 6 years ago. She mentioned to me how she’s had to make decisions for things she never really had to before, and the difficulties that come with making the right one.  It wasn’t hard to sympathize with her, there are just so many options for plumbers, contractors, handymen, roofers, etc. We’re talking about inviting people into our homes, how do we know who to trust?

When people are in need of a service, they look for a trustworthy business. Here are 5 reasons why people prefer to do business with a Christian owned company:

  1. Higher Standards — You can expect a higher standard of integrity and reliability in how they practice their business. Christians in business share the built-in biblical values that govern them personally and in the workplace. Their business ethics demand that they respect your home & belongings, complete the job and stand behind their work.  You will be able to trust them as though they are a close acquaintance or friend.

  2. Money Well Invested — When doing business with a Christian owned company, you can trust that they will be good stewards of your money and time. Most Christian business owners tithe a portion of their profits.  This money usually goes to their home church, but also can be given to local ministries and charities.  By hiring a Christian contractor, you are also helping promote the work of the Kingdom of God through their giving.

  3. Building Community — When people connect with like-minded, value-oriented companies, it brings a sense of community and fellowship even outside of the church.

  4. Save Time — If you seek a trustworthy company that hold themselves to biblical standards, you’ve already narrowed down the list of businesses to look through tenfold. You save the time that would have been spent looking through reviews, or asking all your friends for referrals.

  5. Peace of Mind — After reading reasons 1 through 4, hasn’t it already given you peace of mind? It makes the process easier and stress-free, and we do our best to keep it that way for you.

As we navigate through the Information Digital Age, many people don’t know where to turn for reliability when faced with a decision. The Shepherd’s Guide came from that need to find trustworthy businesses in faith. Did you know that we encourage every single one of our advertisers to make a Statement of Faith (link) and display themselves as Christian owned businesses?

Be sure to claim your listing at The Shepherd’s Guide!