Many businesses have gone down the path of claiming their local business listing, but we have seen two distinct problems. The first is that while the local business listings have been claimed, they are only claimed at Google. That doesn’t necessarily benefit the overall marketing process on the web, which we will discuss further. The other is that the local business listing has been claimed only at Google and nothing further has been done. No coupons updated, no customer reviews disputed, no events, no videos, and no photos. Essentially the local business listing has been claimed, but they are not being used for marketing purposes or to avoid public relation problems.
Undoubtedly, businesses that have claimed their local business listing have found that their time resources are limited in order to manage the local listings at Google let alone managing the local listings at many other websites, searches engines, social communities, 411 websites, GPS websites and general business directories. This doesn’t include the frustration they may have encountered in the claiming process that could have led to an anxiety to do anything further with these listings.
Here are a few items to consider for local business listings with multiple local business listing websites, search engines, social communities, 411 websites, and GPS websites:
- Claiming your local business listing
- Updating your local business listing with your marketing materials (coupons, offers, events, discounts, promotions, events, photos, videos, map marker location, business information, and much more)
- Removing or Claiming duplicate listings
- Responding to existing customer reviews (particularly negative ones)
- Securing positive customer reviews from satisfied customers.
- Monitoring your local listing for new duplicates and customer reviews.
- Managing your local listing through local listing analytics and tweaking your local listing monthly with new marketing information.
You see, local business listings are the interactive yellow pages of the 21st century. Unlike the traditional yellow pages, these listings give you the ability to add any digital marketing information including coupons, videos, events and photos. Besides you have the ability to updating these local business listings 24x7x365. I think you will find that you can eliminate or greatly reduce your traditional yellow page costs.
Keep in mind that when we say the listings are “interactive” that means customers can post their reviews about their experience with your business, staff, products or services. These reviews need to be managed to avoid public relations problems and there are three options for your response. You can rebut the issue, you can apologize or you can provide your perspective. Doing nothing is not really an option if you plan on having new customers come to do to business with you.
There is also a debate in the Internet marketing industry if the customer reviews will affect your website’s ranking position with search engines. For example, if your search engine optimization was 100% perfect and you are ranked #1 for a variety of search terms, but your consumer reviews are 100% negative (e.g. 1 start our of 5) you may find that you are no longer ranked in the search engines. While this algorithm is not in place yet, it is possible that it could become activity since customer reviews do have a quantitative component to them.
Let’s discuss briefly why there is more to this than Google. You will find that there this is a closed loop circle that begins with customer using Google to search for a business, product or service. Once they have experienced doing business with you, they go to other websites to post their review about your business, product or service. The other websites then push these reviews into your Google local listing for future customers to see. You can see this requires that you manage your local listing at other websites.
There is of course another reason besides the consumer reviews. Local business listings show up not only in web searches, but also in mobile searches and mobile applications. Thus, mobile application developers decide which database they will use for their mobile application. If a business only concentrates on Google, but the mobile application developer uses another website, then you would be missing out on potential business.
As a business who has claimed your local business listing you are heading down the right path, but time resources, expertise and experience will prevent you from using this interactive marketing tool to truly benefit your business and reach the local consumers. Local business listing management services for marketing purposes can support your business for as low as $1.50 per day. Do not be fooled by the lower cost data only services as you will get what you pay for.