As a small business owner, you are constantly looking to get new customers to find out about and engage with your business. You won’t find all of your customers; in fact, many of them will find you through online search. So how can you make your business more visible to the people in need of it? One effective way to increase your discovery is through local listings. How effective? Well, at least 84% of consumers use their computer or tablet to search for local business online, and 88% use their smartphone.
How Business Listings Work
When a user searches for a product, service, or business, search engines will typically display local listings first or separately. This enables users to find a source for their needs that is closest to them. As such, these listings provide more than just your business name. They will include other details such as your address, business website, hours, phone number and even directions to make finding your business easier than ever.
Why Business Listings are Important
That being said, it is important to not only get your company listed online, but also to update your listing as much as possible and monitor the information to ensure it leads potential customers to your business. Not only can incomplete or inaccurate information lead them astray, it can also cause them to think less of your business or lost trust in it.
Why Listings Require Maintenance
After getting your business listed on major sites such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, there are several other places that your listing might automatically appear, such as map apps, online review sites, and niche directories (Merchant Circle, Insider Pages and Yelp, for example). Customers rely on these sites to get to where and what they need, and your business relies on these sites to prevent losing customers to its competitors, so it is crucial to make sure your business information is accurate.
How Business Listings Benefit a Business
Here is an example of how your business can lose out on a potential customer by not checking up on your local listings:
Sally’s car breaks down and needs a mechanic. She is unfamiliar with the area so she resorts to her phone to find a local body shop. In her search, two mechanics show up: Mechanic A and Mechanic B. While the two mechanics are directly across the street from one another, Mechanic A’s listing has a broken link to their website. Mechanic B’s website link, on the other hand, is accurate and their website even has a call to action button where she can tap to call. Which Mechanic does she choose? Clearly the one that makes it as easy as possible for her to learn about and contact.
It’s not enough just to list yourself online and hope that people will always find your business. Unfortunately, your online information may become inaccurate or incomplete over time across any number of listing sites, including major ones customers frequently use to find local businesses. A business listing with incorrect information or a poor description can seriously impact your company. To avoid losing business, you must claim your business listings and keep up with them over time. Not checking your listings could be costing you new customers every day!