Free Online Business Directory

Free Online Business Directory


A free online business directory is a great way to get your business noticed, in the long run. As a foundational move a business directory shows up for people who search for categories, but also other search engines can spider it and help your listings get attention.

Top Local is a free online business directory with a twist. It is a free directory, but it’s also a way to develop a local referral group using our downloadable customized local business directories that each member can download and have a local print shop make copies.

Below is a chart we put together when we charged $20/month, which was extremely reasonable. Now that we have a free plan, the extra costs will come with extra benefits we will announce as they become available. But check out the power of using the local guides to market your business in the local area!

This local business guide is helpful for the whole local group because your business shows on the cover and the other (non-competing) businesses in your zipcode show inside. Each member’s business is featured on the cover of the guide they download, so customers will see that your business is featured on the front. There will not be any competitors inside because we limit listings to one business per category per zip code.

Countries outside the USA may have other address needs but the zip code can be used for any identifying number that segments your local area.

So, Top Local is more than a free online business directory. And it’s free. So please help us spread the word and build your local business group. Let us know if you’d like some local marketing mentorship or consulting. We can do that too. Check out our value proposition here Free Business Listing

February 8, 2023 |

Is Facebook Advertising Worth All The Hassle?

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Facebook Advertising has gained popularity, no thanks to the Facebook policy makers. The overbearing and complicated ads system is littered with rules and political correctness, along with tons of seemingly meaningless regulations. Some of these really have merit. Some don’t. But, the bottom line is Facebook is still worth using for advertising because it works. I’m not positive it works well enough to pay what they inevitably charge, but it’s not all that bad.

Facebook has a very ambiguous method of determining what to charge, fraught with a network of tunnels to navigate. For instance, trying to get an ad approved is sometimes easy and sometimes tough. It depends on….well….nobody knows. Recently, I tried to post several ads for over a week, only to learn that they didn’t like the picture. It may or may not have portrayed politically evil competition where one side won over the other. What? One wins and the other doesn’t. Blasphemy!

It’s true that social platforms are all liberal in nature, and it’s also true that they are bias against good old fashioned hard work, sales pitches, and winning over anyone else. Unless, it’s them winning billions over any other social platform. It’s blatantly hypocritical, but it is what it is and we must deal with it.

Ok, that was my soap box. Now, on to constructive information.

With Facebook, you need to decide on the type of ad. Do you want your Facebook advertising to yield leads, drive traffic to your website or page, encourage views of  your video, or what? Think carefully and determine exactly what your purpose truly is. I think it’s easy, once you really think about what you want to achieve. Are you in sales? Then you want leads. Are you a blogger or YouTuber, then you want to drive traffic. Are you trying to use a video to sell your product and provide a call to action? Then, perhaps a video view campaign is what you want.

Now, I hope you’re taking notes.

You’ll need a way to capture and drip on your leads, if that’s what you chose to do. You can use Mail Chimp, or any number of other services to do that.

Zapier is worth a look. It ties a myriad of services together, allowing you to communicate your Facebook leads to your CRM, etc. It automates literally thousands of things and ties them together beautifully. Definitely check them out when you get time. It’s truly genius.

So, your ad needs an image. The image is everything! It should grab attention and portray your campaign without a word, if possible. Studies show that ads with pictures that do not have any words on them do better. So Facebook advertising doesn’t want images with tons of words on it. They consider that to be clutter and will shut it off if they catch it.

Make sure to read their very strict policy on things you can’t say. Think, George Orwell’s 1984, if you know what that reference means. It’s all a PC world now, and I don’t mean Personal Computer. Political Correctness has gone hog wild! Oh, I’m sorry. That was derogatory towards hogs. Oh wait, I can’t call them hogs. I have to call them artiodactyl mammals of the Suidae family. Of course I’m kidding, but it has gotten a bit out of control. Anyway, be careful you aren’t offending anyone if you can help it. Facebook advertising policies will be followed to the letter, if not erring on the strict side of any judgement calls. So, be aware of what you’re doing.

A friend of mine, who is definitely a nationally recognized guru of all things web marketing, says to just develop 10 ads with a variety of imaging. Set them each to $5 a day and let things run for a while.

Keep in mind that you’re paying per impression. But, soon enough, you’ll see analytics that will tell you which ads are working and which ones to cut. Don’t touch anything once you place the ad. If you do, it will go back into review and possibly get rejected for no reason whatsoever.

Once you determine which ads are working, let them run. You’ll see your costs get more and more efficient, as Facebook learns the best way to promote it. Keep it on automatic. Don’t think you know better than their algorithms.  You don’t.

Now you can slowly raise the budget per day. From $5 to $10, etc. but only go up a little per week. If you say you’ll spend $100 per day right off the bat, they’ll certainly take your money. But you won’t get as much from it as you would going slower. This should be a long-term strategy for you. Take your time and learn from it each week. Look at the numbers and it will begin to paint a picture for you. Try some new ads and see if they outperform old ones. And have fun with it.

One last bit of advice. Don’t place too many filters on your ads. If you only want to advertise to 18 to 24 year old people in Denver, you’ll pay out the nose and won’t get many. I mean it could be a few hundred bucks per lead. Instead, open up the net. To everyone, everywhere, if possible. Then, you’ll keep your cost per lead down. The bigger the net, the lower the cost. Remember, you pay a premium for specializing. Another friend of mine says to advertise EVERYWHERE to EVERYONE. He pays pennies compared to others who load up the filters, don’t get results, waste a ton of money, and end up quitting because it didn’t work.

So, is Facebook advertising worth the hassle? Yes, I believe it is. But, to the Facebook people I’d like to say that, “It doesn’t need to be as big of a hassle as you make it”. There, now I’m done. See my article about Twitter here.

April 14, 2018 |

How to Purge Deleted Emails from Outlook

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How to Purge Deleted Emails from Outlook

Ok. I know this is off the wall, but it’s important. If you’ve ever seen an inbox full of emails with lines through them, and they don’t go away, you’ll know how frustrating it can be. Yes it’s petty and insignificant, in the grand scheme of things. However, little annoyances add up. At least they do in my life. So here’s my story of me learning how to purge deleted emails from outlook.

After I set up my email account for, I added it to my Outlook, along with several others. In total, I have 8 accounts managed by Microsoft Outlook. (SIDE NOTE) Microsoft, if you’re listening….please, please, please add the “all inboxes” function. It’s silly you don’t have it in Outlook but it’s free with Windows 10 mail. So, come on and get with the program. Anyway, back to how to purge deleted emails from outlook. My story continued…

Then, I noticed a ton of emails from the site, asking me to moderate comments on my posts. So I deleted them like normal. However, the only thing that happened was that I got a line through them. They didn’t go away no matter what I tried.

I tried everything I normally would try. I tried right-clicking on the folder, the inbox, etc. and looking at settings but I couldn’t figure out what to do. I tried the main Outlook settings and preferences. I scanned every settings page or menu I could find. I even went into the account settings for my toplocal email account. Nothing, Nada, Zilch, Zero!

Then, I remembered the good old menu at the top of the page. You know, the one with File, Edit, etc. Which brings me to step 1 of how to purge deleted emails from outlook.

Step 1

Just click to highlight the inbox folder for the account you want to purge. Then go to Edit/Purge/Purge Options.


Step 2

Once you’re in the Purge Options, just check the box to purge. See the image below

That’s it.

Step 3

Then hit OK and once you click to another folder and back again, to your inbox, the command will force a purge of all deleted email.

So, remember, if your inbox treats delete as “mark for deletion” and just puts a line through the email subjects, then you need to set it to purge those and really really delete them.

Annoying I know. But that’s just another annoyance solved by thinking smart.

Cheers. 🙂

April 5, 2018 |

How to Use Twitter for Promoting Your Business

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When thinking of how to use Twitter for promoting your business, most people shy away from Twitter because they don’t understand it.

Twitter, quite simply, is a short message communication tool. It allows up to 140 characters only. The good part is that it will allow links to other web content. So, if you write an article, create a video, or take a great picture, you can promote it on Twitter.

You can develop a following by simply speaking your mind and following other people, who have similar interests.

Twitter is considered a micro-blog because the length of posts is so small.

The first step on how to use Twitter for promoting your business, is to sign up and create  your profile. This is an important step because it’s the only way anyone else will know who you are and what you’re all about. Use your personal name if you are a professional. Use a business name if you don’t fit into the professional category or just want to promote your business instead.

It’s important to complete your profile. Take your time and do it right. Upload your images, logo, etc. Really flesh it out. You don’t want to scrimp on this step.

Now for the good part. Actually using Twitter for promoting your business.

First, you want to slowly begin to follow anyone you find that you’ve done business with, worked with, sold to, bought from, competed against, etc. I mean anyone you have any connection with at all. Follow them.

Then, start “tweeting”. Just send out a note or thought. Try to do this as often as you can, but make your tweets relevant. If you see something great, you can “re-tweet” it. Once you get familiar with all of this, you’re going to want to be more careful about what you tweet. Share something useful or interesting. Share a great recipe, comment on your recent visit to a sporting event, a product you tried, etc. Talk about something your business is doing, something you’re planning, something you just got finished doing. Things like:

“I just finished inventory and determined I have way too many cherry wood step ladders. These are going on sale this weekend (link)”

“That was an amazing basketball game. KU didn’t win, but the game was exciting”

“OMG I just tried the new garlic & herb brie from Central Market. You’ve got to try it!”

“Register for my free e-book about the best way to cook a great steak with our new pellet grill. (link)”

“How to Use Twitter for Promoting Your Business. See my new article (link)”

Mix it up. Don’t just talk about your business, that’s boring and nobody wants to only hear about you.

But at least 50% of the time, drive traffic to your site somehow. You can even write non-business articles on your site and promote those. People are….people. They like human interest stories and tips that help enrich their lives. Everyone has talents other than the business they’re in. So, talk about yours and share your wisdom with the world.

Now, an advanced move is to begin using hashtags. These are things like #usingtwitterforbusiness or #twitterforbusiness

There’s a really thorough article all about this at

Take a look at what they have to teach and give it a shot.

I recommend making a task list as you read. That way you’ll hit all the main points.

Until next time, take care and God Bless.

April 3, 2018 |

Marketing 101: Build a Local Referral Network


Build a Local Referral Network

Why build a local referral network? Every salesperson and business owner dreams of a simple way to generate a steady flow of potential customers. Many turn to advertising, spending thousands of dollars, in hopes of making the phone ring or the customers coming in. There are many available options offered to business owners, some effective and some ineffective. Many expensive options are largely ineffective, which seams counter-intuitive. You’d think spending a bunch of money on advertising would bring in lots of business. However, often times it will simply drain your budget.

Much like building a local referral network, the most effective business generation strategies actually take some planning and work to implement. In fact, there may be a correlation between the effort required and the effectiveness because most people won’t do it. Have you ever heard the saying, “To have what others don’t have, you must do what others are unwilling to do” ? It makes sense. If most people take the easy way out, spending a bunch of money or using the mass email passive approach, then those methods will be saturated in the marketplace. If most people don’t go door to door, or spend time developing strategic partnerships, then those methods will be mostly unsaturated and will have lower competition. Get it?

The dawn of the internet and email brought attractive marketing methods with which business owners could broadcast their advertising to thousands of people. But, as more and more people adopt these passive methods, they become less and less effective. This breathes new life to the old-school methods of business promotion. Working smart requires experience and being faithful to time-tested marketing strategies.

As a young salesman, I learned that it’s better to spend time developing lead sources than single leads.

Eventually I met with a mentor and learned about a method of developing a whole group of lead sources, a local referral network. It involves networking with other business owners in a particular area, helping each other promote their businesses. Working as a team is always more effective than trying to “recreate the wheel” individually. was created as a small business marketing platform, with which every business owner can develop a group in their zip code. This group will not allow competing businesses within the zip code, so everyone can feel free to give their all to promote the group and not worry about promoting a competitor. TopLocal offers a printable zip code business guide that each member prints and distributes monthly. This guide features your business on the cover and the rest of the group inside, so you’ll want to pass them out to your customers.

Other business networking groups rely on each member actively recommending other businesses to their customers. But, who has that kind of time? Not me! TopLocal solves this problem by providing a way to promote your group and benefit your own business in the process. Plus, at only $20/month it’s cheap to lock down your exclusive category in your zip code.

Building a local referral network is very rewarding. Actively promoting the group to other non-competing businesses helps you get more and more advertising. With consistent effort you could have a hundred businesses in your group, providing you with an increasing number of guides distributed in your local area each month. Thousands of local consumers will see your business over and over again. In very little time, you will be effectively competing with those “big box” stores and their million dollar advertising budgets.

Now, let’s get building!

Start building a local referral network. Add your business to

November 4, 2017 |
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