Business listings, such as those found on review sites and directories, have evolved into a primary source for consumers searching for businesses that can meet their needs. However, the more users are relying on listings, the greater their disappointment when they don’t get the information they need. Inaccurate or incomplete business listings are not uncommon—chances are, you’ve come across a few of your own when searching for a specific service. Chances also are that you were frustrated in some way and likely disengaged with that business, in favor of one that makes it easier to find and contact. Take a look at your business listings and if they are inaccurate, use this post to clean up your online presence and stop losing out on potential customers.
According to Google, 77% of consumers who search for a local business on their smartphone end up contacting that business (calling or visiting) within a day. We increasingly rely on our smartphones to get real-time information. Moreover, Infogroup found that 72% of consumers expect a business’s listing to be updated at least weekly. Marketing your business requires a deep understanding of your audience’s desires and showing that you can solve their problems. The last thing you want to be doing is creating another one for them.
If it’s not enough to understand how important accurate listings are to your customers, it may help to also understand the consequences of having an inaccurate listing. According to the Infogroup study mentioned above, 52% of consumers have ended up at a closed business, and 44% have felt that outdated business listings have ruined their experience. Even worse, 26% of consumers blame the business itself for the inaccurate listing.
If you want to build trust with your audience, develop a strong reputation, and attract more customers, it’s crucial to monitor and update your listings.
Online business listings tend to originate with larger directories, from which smaller directories and niche sites pull information. Here are some larger directories on which to check your business listing:
• Google My Business
• Yahoo! Local
To check for inaccuracies, assess the following:
While the name of a business may seem like a fairly straightforward label, there are many businesses that go by multiple names, due to name changes, multiple addresses, documenting purposes, and more. Pick one name to use for all of your online business listings, to avoid confusing customers and potentially losing sales.
Even for a business that does not have a meaningful physical presence, it is important to have an accurate address in your directory listings. Without a physical address, Google may deemphasize your listing when a search is conducted, decreasing your local visibility.
Having a phone number is important to ensure that you are making it as easy as possible for a potential customer to get in touch with you. We also recommend using a tracked phone number for your directory listings to enable you to monitor how much business you receive from your directory listings.
Most directories allow you to list your website. Some potential customers will want to contact you directly by phone, but others will prefer to look at your website to learn more about your business before contacting you. Listing your website accurately allows your potential customers to get in touch with you in the way that they prefer.
While not all directories allow photo uploads, in some cases it is an option. Wherever possible, uploading a high-quality photo helps associate a face with your business, which can increase the chances that someone will want to contact you. The photo can be of the business itself, a person, or the product. Pick something that you think will resonate with your customers and help make you stand out.
Each directory has its own process for allowing you to manage your listing and, depending on a number of factors, it can be frustrating at times to get your business listed properly. It also may take some time. For example in the case of Google, they actually send you a physical postcard with a verification code to ensure that you really have a business at the location specified. Be patient and stick to the process.
Online directories are the digital version of yesterday’s phone books. If you aren’t listed correctly, you are limiting the ability of potential customers to find you. Put your best foot forward by ensuring that your business is listed accurately and completely.