With consumers relying heavily on online searches when researching and making purchasing decisions, ensuring your business is easily found is essential — and that’s exactly why you need to be listed in business directories.
Not only are people looking for business information, but they also want to know what other people are saying about a business. Whether it’s reading reviews included in your business directory listing or visiting websites that review businesses, managing your online reputation is critical.
Read on for an overview of business directories and online reputation management, and why they’re so important for your business.
Business directories are searchable online indexes or lists of businesses, Businesses are usually grouped together by business type or category to make it as easy as possible for users to locate you.
Information for listings can include the name, address and contact details, hours of operation, links to the business website, images and more. Many listings offer options for users to provide feedback or ratings on your business.
Your business is responsible for submitting its listing to the chosen directories. To make your business as easy to find as possible, you should focus on directories that are relevant to your industry, as well as ones that are consistently prominent.
Online reputation management refers to building a solid and positive public reputation for your business. The focus is on creating a strong perception of your brand and employing strategies to mitigate potential issues before they become bigger than they should be by quickly addressing customer feedback.
Nowadays, a large amount of word-of-mouth marketing happens online. However, with the endless number of places consumers can talk about their experiences with products and services, it can be nearly impossible to keep up with what they’re saying about your business. That's why it helps to have an effective online review management tool at your disposal.
If you want your business to flourish, it’s critical you make it as easy as possible to find. Once those potential customers find you, knowing how their experience interacting with your business was — both positive and negative — enables you to be agile and ensure you’re meeting their wants and needs effectively so you can grow a loyal customer base.
Plus, having reputation management in place and monitoring your listings in business directories enables you to deal with less than favorable reviews quickly. This is particularly important as how you do (or don’t) respond can have a significant impact on customer perception of your business.
When looking at the key benefits of business directories, getting your business found by improving your online presence is priority number one. Online business directory listings also help increase your local visibility. People often do searches based on geographic area, so you want to do what you can to ensure your business comes up within search results for your city or town.
Business directories can also help with increasing your brand awareness. When people are looking for a particular product or service, they often use business directories for their search, so the more people see your brand name, the better.
Having your business listed also provides additional opportunities to strengthen your reputation. Customers are able to leave positive (and negative) reviews of your business, which means any time someone looks at your listing they can read first-hand accounts from others who’ve done business with you.
While business directories are something you could potentially handle yourself, handling the management of your listings is often the better approach. Adding, updating and monitoring your listing can be time consuming and you may end up missing possible opportunities for your business to be included in even more directories.
Online reputation management is one of the most effective ways to find out what your customers are saying in real time. However, managing this can be complex as time is of the essence.
While negative reviews aren’t desirable, they do represent an opportunity to make things right. The challenge is ensuring these complaints are addressed in a timely manner. Knowing when and where these reviews happen is critical. That’s why so many people choose to use a service for online reputation management. Most people don’t have the time to scour the internet looking for mentions of their business.
Also, it’s important to remember that having great customer relationships is all about building a foundation of trust. By showing your customers you’re listening to and acting on their feedback, you’re creating a framework for increasing their engagement and loyalty to your business.
Online reputation management services can also be a valuable way to see what people are saying about your competitors, in addition to monitoring online activity related to your business.
Choosing whether to manage your listings in business directories and your online reputation yourself is definitely an option, but before you decide to take that on, consider how much time you really have to spend on this.
Remember, consistency is critical, and missing some things along the way — like a customer complaint — can have negative consequences. By prioritizing these two services, you can help ensure your business is both highly visible and building a strong reputation.
Are you looking for a provider to keep your business directory listings up to date and who can effectively manage your online reputation?
Check out our Small Business SEO Services to see how we can help.