The key role of Local listings, Business Listings, and Crowd-sourced Sites.
If you run a business it’s pretty much a given that you need a website to help customers find you.
A website is a great investment for any business and can be a real powerhouse for leads and sales when it’s been created with marketing in mind.
However, how people access and use the internet is changing and businesses need to be aware where customers are looking for their products and services and it’s not always on your website.
How People Find Businesses
In the past if you wanted to find a service or business you might:
- Ask someone in the area
- Look in a directory like Yellow Pages
- Use a phone service like directory enquiries
Then along came the internet and we all began using search engines to find stuff.
While we are still using search engines (mostly Google) as customers we now have other ways to find businesses including:
- social media
- map searches
- local business listings
- crowd-source review sites
If the business has been smart we may never need to visit the company’s website but are able to assess and make contact with the business directly.
Into this mix is also the growing trend to use voice search options like Cortana, Siri, Google’s microphone and Amazon’s Echo. We like these because they are easy to use, but they are changing the way we search and exposing us to many of these different ways to find businesses.
Research has shown that mobile voice search is three times more likely to be local-based than text search (How Voice Search Will Change Digital Marketing - Moz Blog). Although the study focused on US consumers the reality is the UK is never that far behind.
Making Sure You Get Found
While businesses still need a website as a central hub they also need to be visible on the other channels being used by existing and potential customers.
So you need to have accurate up-to-date listings and pages on:
- Relevant social media channels e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest
- Local and Business Listings e.g. Google My Business, Bing Places for Business and Apple Maps for Business
- Crowd-source sites e.g. Yelp and TripAdvisor
As a first step, you need to research and create a list of all the places your business needs to appear. You then need to work through the list adding and updating your business information.
Once this is done you need a plan, to keep these sites up-to-date and this will vary depending on the site. Social media sites can need monthly, weekly and even daily updates depending on your audience. Even fixed listings will need period reviews to make sure the details stay correct.
Review sites need careful monitoring so both positive and negative feedback can be responded to quickly.
So while many listings are free the time involved in keeping them in good shape can be significant.
Why Getting Help Could Save You Money
While on the surface this often looks like a job you can easily manage in-house as highlighted above there is a lot of work involved in getting your business visible in all the key locations used by your customers.
Time is money and so even with a free listing, it’s costing you valuable time.
All too often companies start with good intentions but find they are unable to keep up and so listings become out of date and social media accounts neglected. This then creates a negative rather than a positive online impression that can actually lose you business.
If you find yourself in this position or are just starting out it’s well worth hiring an SEO and Social media agency to help you stay on top of your online marketing.
Pick an agency in tune with how you want to present your business, who will adapt and tailor your online promotion to both the needs of your business and your customers.
You don’t want silly posts on your social accounts about irrelevant nonsense or a one size fits all strategy that simply doesn’t work.
ExtraDigital Can Help call us on 01227 68 68 98 or tell us more about your business plans below.