Just as there are unsung heroes on every sports team, the world of marketing has its own unsung heroes, and you need to be sure you are fully leveraging them. With social media taking center stage these days, it’s easy for less glamorous marketing tools to become lost in the shadows. One crucial yet often overlooked element of your marketing strategy is online business listings.
Benefits of Getting Listed
If you don’t have contact information in your audience’s go-to resources, how will they know you exist? If your contact information is wrong, how will you build trust?
Online business directories offer major benefits to business, but they’re no longer a “nice to have”. With the hundreds online listing directories today, they’re a must. Here’s why:
Discovery: Listings enable qualified candidates for your business to discover your business without having to know your business name. When you get listed, you can include a category for your business that makes it more visible.
Visibility: Major directories like Yelp and Angie’s List have been around for ages and have a very strong online presence. While you’re working on your own website’s SEO, take advantage of the strong SEO of these major directories by getting listed. Many times, a search for your business or service can yield your listing on these sites in the first page of results.
Engagement: The easier it is for a potential customer to engage with your business—whether it’s to make a phone call, submit a “contact us” form, or even go to your location—the more likely they are to do so. Getting listed in business directories is a way of making your business reachable through more online channels.
Image: Having a clean and accurate listing puts you at an automatic advantage with potential customers. Studies show that people don’t just disengage with a business that has inaccurate or incomplete information. They lose trust in that business. Getting listed gives you the opportunity to make a great first impression before potential customers even make it onto your website.
Where to Get Listed
There are a number of online business directories where you should list your business, the most important of which include Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook. Check out the below posts for more sites your business should be showing up on:
- The Best Review Sites for Small Business Growth
- 6 Social and Review Sites Your Business Should Be On
- Where (and How) List Your Business Online
How to Get Listed
Listing your business on a directory or review site typically entails setting up a profile with the following information:
- Phone Number
- Hours of Operation
Check out this post on how to optimize your listing to boost your rankings and increase your chances of getting found by customers.
Risks of Getting Listed
Automatic Listings: Getting listed on major directories like Google and Yelp will certainly put your business on the map, but it also opens your business up to get automatically listed in countless smaller directory sites that pull from these larger databases. The more this information gets pulled and transferred, the more inaccurate it may become, so it’s important to try and stay on top of these listings and to fix inaccuracies as much as possible.
Reputation: Online customer reviews are very powerful and can generate a lot of word-of-mouth marketing for your business. However, opening your business up to public reviews requires you to constantly monitor them. You need to stay on top of your reviews so you can resolve conflicts and even to respond to positive reviews to show your active and engaged presence online.
Reputation Management Tools
It can be overwhelming to think about how much more there is to your online presence than you may have initially thought. However, take a deep breath! There are a number of free and paid tools for DIY reputation monitoring, where you can set up alerts and implement processes to keep you in the know. If you’re finding that you are unable to keep up with everything on your own, you may want to look into online listing services.
Online Listing Services
The number of business directories out there today is large and only growing. It can be hard to find the time to search on each and every one of them regularly to make sure your information is accurate and your reputation is positive. A listing service gives you the peace of mind that your information is accurate and complete across the web, without the headache of having to keep up with it all yourself.
Listing optimization services monitor, edit, and verify all of your listings such as on Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yellowpages, CitySearch, MerchantCircle, Yelp, FourSquare, etc.This ensures that your business is represented fully, accurately, and completely across search engines, social networks, online directories and mobile searches.
Benefits of an online listing service:
- Consistency – be assured that your listings match across multiple sources, making it simple for your customers to find you no matter where they are searching.
- Search engine optimization– the more information Google collects on your business, and the more that information is consistent, the more it will trust you—a major ranking factor.
- Ease – rather than editing over 100 sources individually, 1 change is made and all sources update automatically
- Time – save yourself the time and energy of having to register on zillions of sites, stay on top of your listings, and monitor your reviews.
- Customers- less missed opportunities due to inaccurate listings means more opportunities to acquire new customers.
With the volume of information about businesses available to consumers today, and the number of channels through which they can access that information, it’s more important than ever to not just get listed, but to monitor those listings. Build your reputation through online listings, and stay on top of it with the many tools available today.
*This post was published August 2017 and updated November 2018