If you have ever used Google or another search engine to look up local businesses, you might have noticed that they often pop up with their address, phone number and similar information attached. If you conduct the same search on a mobile device, you will see that businesses are usually prioritized by their proximity to you. Most online listings look and operate like this, but not every business takes advantage of them, which may be resulting in a significant loss of potential customers.
Google has discovered that 50% of people who have conducted a local search on their Smartphone visited a store within a day. The same applies to 34% of those who searched on a computer or tablet But, if you are still not sure why listing your business online is a good idea, consider the following benefits:
1. Increase brand visibility
Listing your business online will let more people know that you exist, particularly if they are already searching for your products or services on the Internet. For instance, if you sell computer parts, then anyone looking for computer parts in your area should be able to find your business – and know where you are located. Even if no one purchases from you right away, they may check up on you later. Without being listed, however, your business is at risk of remaining undiscovered.
2. Build trust
Listing your business online will help you establish trust with your customers. After all, local directories do not only show your company name, address, and phone number, but other identifiers, like photos and videos. So, if you have an ad that has performed well on other platforms, this would be the place to share it. Many listings also allow users to post reviews, which is a perfect opportunity to get your past customers to say something positive about you. That way, whenever someone looks you up online, they would be able to see what your brand does and how people perceive you before visiting your location in person.
3. Find more local buyers
According to Google, four in five customers want ads to be customized to their immediate surroundings. In fact, 60% of consumers use location information in ads to find businesses, saying that it is important for online ads to include the address, phone number, directions and a “call now” button, particularly if they appear on a smartphone. So, even if you are running print ads that deliver excellent results, looking for local customers online will make you even more successful.
4. Drive high-quality website traffic
Aside from including your address and phone number, online local listings allow businesses to include their website address. Even if you do not sell any of your products or services through your website, linking to it would help you drive brand awareness and increase in-store sales. In addition, online listings usually only appear in front of people who are actively looking for your service or product type, which means that they should be relatively easy to convert into customers. Just make sure your website can pass this performance evaluation test.
5. Boost consumer engagement
Online local listings can help you engage your customers through reviews and comments. Though opening yourself up to customer feedback may seem intimidating, doing so will help you develop your brand image and boost sales – since 60% of customers trust user reviews. If you are worried about negative feedback, then you can always take the following steps to deal with them:
Read the feedback: Read all the reviews and comments no matter how harsh they may seem, because they will help you discover ideas on how to improve.
Fix the problem: If you see a recurring complaint about a specific problem, such as poor customer service, then deal with it right away to prevent bad reputation from spreading.
Reply politely: When replying, do not insult your customers and instead offer your apologies and promise to fix the problem.
Negative comments and reviews can help you fix problems that you would not have known about otherwise. So, welcome them with open arms, but make sure that you start getting more positive reviews down the road.
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