Many small business owners know about online business directories but aren’t quite clear on how advantageous they are for marketing and customer acquisition. Online business directories are no longer a “nice to have”; with the sheer number of directories that exist today and the amount of trust consumers place in customer reviews, local listings are a must. Here’s why it’s so important to keep up with your directory listings:
- Potential Customers Don’t Know Who You Are
Consumers need a way to discover your business without knowing its name. Getting listed allows potential customers to discover you when searching for the services, categories, and amenities you provide.
- Free Listings Tend to Pop Up
Many business directories today (a) pull from other larger directories, (b) automatically create listings, or (c) allow anyone to add a listing. This means your business could be showing up in directories and collecting reviews unbeknownst to you. It’s important to monitor your listings and manage updates to and engagements with it.
f you don’t have contact information in your audience’s go-to resources, how will they know you exist? If your contact information is wrong, how will you build trust? If you don’t know you have a listing, how can you manage your reputation on that site? In today’s digital landscape, it is more important than ever to create directory listings and monitor them.
Benefits of Business Directory Listings
Not only are listing sites important for getting your business and website noticed and creating a positive first impression, but they are also highly beneficial to the growth of your business. Read on to learn about the many advantages directory listings offer your business.
1. Amplify Online Presence
Due to the fact that business listing sites tend to pull information from one another, getting listed in one directory can very likely mean getting listed in several more, allowing you to kill two (or more) birds with one stone (so long as you monitor, claim, and update your listings regularly.)
2. Improve Local Visibility
Though they are massive, online business directories have advanced filtering and suggesting capabilities, allowing you to become highly visible to your local community and niche audiences.
3. Attract New Customers
The typical online business directory allows users to search by specific criteria such as specialty, neighborhood, ratings, and more. By simply entering complete and accurate information in your listing, the directory will then connect your business to the people searching for it, even if they don’t search your business name explicitly.
4. Increase Engagement
The easier it is for a potential customer to engage with your business—whether it’s to make a phone call, submit a contact form, or even go to your location—the more likely they are to do so. Business directories create a channel by which potential customers can engage directly with your business or easily get to your website to do so.
5. Promote Word of Mouth
Word of mouth has always been a trusted source for consumers, and now predominantly takes the form of online reviews. With apps and mobile devices, customers can now publish reviews more quickly—even during their experience. Getting listed in online business directories equips happy customers to spread the word about your business.
6. Strengthen Your Reputation
The fear of negative reviews prevents many businesses from getting listed online, but this shuts them off from getting positive reviews too, which are essential for a good reputation. As long as you know how to properly handle one, the cost of one negative review is outweighed by the benefits of many positive reviews. Plus, a mix of reviews can even strengthen your reputation, as it shows that you are a genuine company with nothing to hide.
7. Increase Brand Awareness
When a user performs a search in an online business directory, it will display a list of relevant results, each with a brief snapshot so that you can decide which one to click on to learn more. This means that even if a user doesn’t click on your listing, they still see your business. Every encounter a person has with your business increases their awareness and familiarity with your brand, which makes them more receptive to future outreach.