Consumers are constantly online, searching for information, businesses, products, services, etc. So much so, in fact, that 85% of all buying decisions are made online, before a customer even sets foot into a store. Bottom line: if you want to gain new customers, your business should be accurately and consistently listed online.
Let’s start from the beginning. Customers go through four steps during any given purchase process: consumers experience stimulus, do research, make the purchase, and then reflect on that purchase. From the initial steps all the way to looking back on the purchase, online activity is involved. Therefore your online presence is very important to catching consumers’ attention and turning them into customers. One of the biggest components of your online presence are your company listings in various search apps and online directories.
Managing listings on apps and directories tends to have two extreme views: it’s a pesky task and not worth the time OR it’s too overwhelming and not worth the time. These views may contain slivers of truth, but if you choose to run a business with these views, you will only hurt your company.
App and directory listings are the perfect opportunity for consumers to get a taste of your business without having to set foot in the store — the consumer dream. Simply having a listing is one-fourth the battle, the remaining three-fourths of the battle is frequently ensuring the listings are accurate and consistent. It’s important because 73% of interested consumers lose trust in a brand when their listing is inaccurate. That’s a lot of customers lost over simple information that they should be able to easily access. If you do nothing else, stick to accuracy with NAP+W: Name, Address, and Phone number + Website. These are the pieces of information most sought after by consumers. To start, they want basic information, and from there they have the option to dig deeper, if they’re interested.
An accurate online listing can:
- Attract new customers
- Earn and keep consumers’ trust
- Promote your business
- Avoid misleading customers
- Boost SEO and listing scores on Google Maps, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google+, Instagram, and Bing
- Allow your business to be found on maps, GPS systems, etc.
- A great benefit to to accurate listings, that many businesses and industries may not think about, is the chance to be accurately listed on maps and GPS systems within vehicles, smartphones, etc. Someone is driving down the road, looking for a drugstore to grab a few things from - Is your business listed in their map results?
- Depending on your industry, map accuracy may be more or less important: business HQs may not be as important to get on the map as fast food locations. Businesses such as restaurants, coffee shops, retail stores, any customer service oriented company, repair, medical, pharmacies, etc., are all industries that can benefit greatly from accurate map and GPS listings.
As a small or medium-sized business, you may not have the time and/or resources to find, check, and update all your business’s listings. This is an important part of business, but it may not be at the top of your to-do list. That is understandable, but the situation should be remedied. Even to the extent of regularly updating the information; one time going through the listings is not enough. Different data companies publish information on different intervals and there’s a good chance your business information has made a change or two since the beginning — a slight name change, switch to an 800 number, or even a location change. Whatever the case, the information across the internet needs to be updated to match your company’s most updated position. Note, this is not an easy task. If you’re already using our Spotlight tool, then you’re well on your way to having accurate listings. However, if you’re not, there may be a few long nights ahead of you.
As I said at the beginning, 85% of purchase decisions are made before a customer sets foot into a store. Information found online influences purchase decisions in a way that can make or break a business. If your company isn’t listed or listed inaccurately online, consumers will not think twice about taking their business to your competitors. Be the company that has SEO through the roof with accurate listings and flourishes from that!