Why you need to verify your business info and how Cobalt Digital Marketing can help.
You’ve worked hard over the years to develop a reputation of quality products and premium customer service. You’ve taken the right steps to make sure that customer needs are met and your company innovative. You’ve fought tooth and nail to separate yourself from your local competition.
But even then, you might be overlooking a basic detail that can have a profound effect on your business—your online business listings.
If your sales are driven by local customers, then you need to make absolutely sure that your business listing info is correct. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, consider that just a few years ago, Placeable released a survey that found 73% of people lose trust in a local business when an online listing is incorrect.
Those listings are starting to look a lot more important now, aren’t they?
With 88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device calling or going to that business within 24 hours, it’s a harsh reality that bad info means bad business.
Still not convinced that listing your business on leading sites like Google Places, Yelp, Foursquare, or Tripadvisor, is important? Consider this:
Getting to the Mountain Top
- Control your brand. Don’t be surprised to find your business on any online listings, even if you never requested it yourself. Know what that means? That you have an online reputation. And if you’re not in control of it, then who is? Claim your brand and your listings.
- Time to be a professional. Your online reputation can make you (or break you), so by verifying your listings and setting them up properly, you enhance your business’s professional look and customer appeal. This is especially important when you’ve just opened, purchased an existing business, or are in the process of building a website. Don’t let your competition have all the fun—get your listings verified and correct.
- Google it. Let’s be real, everybody uses Google (or almost everybody). As of August 2016, there were 34 billion monthly searches on Google in the US. With numbers like those, you need to have your listings verified on Google. When you do so, Google knows that the address is very likely to be accurate, so they place you in verified listings for local searches. This means that if someone is looking for a restaurant near you on Google, you’ll end up high on the search results. Not verified? Google is less likely to do so.
- 80% of internet users own a smartphone. Consumers are moving towards mobile searches, so verifying your company’s listings on mobile-friendly sites and apps will help to make you increasingly visible to millions upon millions of potential customers.
- You get to choose. Don’t let sites and apps choose what category your business should be listed under. When you verify your listings, you get to optimize and make edits to each listing, which can help you to stand out from the competition. Make sure your business address and contact information are correct on each site and app so people can find you easier.
- A smart choice at no fee. Gain visibility at essentially no cost to you. Most listing sites will allow you to claim and update your business information at little to no cost, which makes verification an easy and cost-effective marketing tool.
- Engage with your clients and potential customers. Apps like Yelp allow you upload pictures, create intriguing business descriptions, develop deals, and more, all while improving conversions and click through rates. At #SXSW17, we constantly heard about the importance of client engagement and authenticity—verification allows you to do just that.
- Spreading the word. Verification will get your name out across multiple platforms. The top non-paid search results for broad searches (such as those with only a city name and type of business) will often include listings on sites like YP.com, MapQuest, Angie’s List, and more.
- Don’t &*@! off your customers. Hell hath no fury like a customer scorned. Wrong business hours, old addresses, and the likes will definitely cost you customer trust. Avoid having bad reviews, social media coverage, and costly word-of-mouth negativity by claiming your business profiles on listing sites and makings sure all the correct information is put up.
If you’re not sure where to begin with claiming your online profiles and listings, don’t worry, Cobalt has you covered with that too.
What to Expect When Verifying
To begin, every online business index is going to have its own unique process when verifying your listing, but generally, they all have some similar steps that it’s best to familiarize yourself with.
- To begin with, most sites and apps will ask you to figure out whether or not your business is already in their index. You’ll usually have to enter your business name or phone number to discover any existing listings. Again, don’t be too amazed if you already exist in their database. Chances are you exist somewhere out there on the web.
- The next step will be to review any existing information that might be on their site/app. You’ll want to check for accuracy (and consistency across multiple platforms) by confirming your business name, address(es), phone number(s), website address, business categories, and other core details. Don’t forget that you want all this essential business information to be identical on all those online listings.
- The last step is what would really be the “verification” process. Again, every verification process from each individual entity is unique, but you typically see the verification happen in these ways:
- Via a phone call and verification through a pin number
- Via a traditional snail mail postcard and pin number verification
- Via email
Time frames to complete the verification process vary from search engine to search engine and can last from a few days to a couple months. Regardless of the wait time, don’t make any changes to your information as this can cause problems to the process. Be patient and allow the procedure to work its course.
Future changes to core information may require re-verification, but you can usually edit things like business descriptions and photos without much hassle or the need to go through the process all over again.
Last, but not least, don’t get hoodwinked into purchasing “verification” reports from illegitimate online sources that’ll only take your money but offer no true benefits.
Instead, let Cobalt Digital Marketing help you to optimize your local online listings so that customers can find you and you can grow your clientele. Don’t settle for zero results.
Let us get your name out there so you can continue to grow and succeed.