Building brand awareness is critical for every business. It is how your customers find you. In the old days, businesses used Yellow Pages, in modern times, we have business listing directories that help give you much-needed exposure.
An online directory lists businesses and often features links to their websites. The businesses featured on a particular listing usually share a common theme and offer potential customers information such as:
- Contact information
- Opening hours
- Social media
- Customer Reviews
- Brand images
An online presence makes your business easier to find for prospective customers which makes it critical for you to have a local SEO strategy.
Localization combined with business listings gives you more traction. It also makes it less tedious to update changes in information such as a change in address across multiple platforms.
Types of Business Listings
Online listings are databases that offer prospective customers relevant information about local businesses. Business listings can be classified into websites or apps on the web, smartphones, social media, or other devices.
Most business listings provide side-by-side comparisons and GPS for real-time results of businesses that are close to the user. Some online directories where you can list your business include:
- Google My Business: A listing on Google My Business ensures that your brand is easily discoverable by local users. This directory features posts, images, reviews, as well as offers which makes it easier for prospective customers to connect with your business.
- Facebook Business Page: This directory is usually free and helps your business build a social network that boosts brand recognition. FBP features promotions, articles, and links to your website which boosts traffic.
- LinkedIn: Many businesses can benefit from LinkedIn through lead generation, networking, recruitment, and partnerships among others. It also boosts SEO and credibility.
- Apple Maps: This directory is ideal for small brick-and-mortar businesses. It offers GPS service which makes it easier for users to find your business.
- Tripadvisor: Commonly used by travelers, Tripadvisor helps businesses in the hospitality sector. It offers reviews and directions.
- Yelp: Yelp is known for its customer reviews. More positive feedback on Yelp gives your business credibility. It can also raise awareness and boost traffic to your website.
Benefits of Listing Your Business Online
Small businesses benefit greatly from getting listed online. Some of these benefits include:
Improved Online Presence
A quick search online is likely to show your brand on directories where you probably did not submit a listing. More business directories pull from a wider base including other directories to create larger databases.
If your business gets listed in one directory, there is a significant chance of finding it listed in multiple directories which improves your online presence and boosts your brand visibility.
On the downside, you might find your business information is not accurate in some of the listings, so it is critical to check and regularly update your information.
Enhanced Local Visibility
Many large directories offer their users advanced filter options to help them find local businesses more easily. This means it is easier for your business to connect with the target audience which is the local community.
Another benefit of listing your business online is that directories offer suggesting capabilities. This makes it easier for prospective customers to find you.
Increased Brand Awareness
Marketing to raise brand awareness can be expensive, especially for small businesses. When a user is searching for a specific product or service, they are likely to get thousands of similar businesses.
Most directories have a snapshot containing your business logo and information. Consequently, even if users do not click on your listing, your brand is still visible. These encounters raise brand awareness for your business and keep users familiar with your brand which opens up an avenue for further engagement.
The trick to increased brand awareness is to ensure that your business listing appears in multiple directories. This also increases trust in your brand as the more prospective buyers see your business, the more they trust it as a recognized brand.
Businesses survive because of their customers. A cheap way of getting leads that can potentially be converted into customers is by listing your business on local directories.
Getting your business listed on multiple directories also increases your chances of interacting with potential leads as customers enquire about your products or services.
Higher Ranking on Search Engines
SEO is one of the best ways to promote organic leads. However, it can take months before you start seeing results. By getting your business on multiple online listing websites, you can broaden your horizons and boost your local SEO.
Websites such as Google consider business listings as valuable and trusted sources. These directories are often listed on the first page of search results to make it easier to find them.
Multiple mentions of your business in such listings make your business appear more credible and legitimate to search engines such as Bing or Google.
Improved Business Reputation
Business listings often feature customer reviews. Most businesses fear negative reviews and shy away from listing their services on online directories. However, this also limits them from getting positive reviews which build a good reputation.
In the age of social media, it is also easier to handle a negative review the right way by engaging with your customers which further increases your brand trustworthiness. Mixed reviews can also give your brand a genuine reputation by showing that you are an honest business.
When your business is listed online, other organizations in the same sector can easily look you up for partnerships. This is especially significant for small businesses that may not have enough capital to expand into new markets.
Getting your business listed online has numerous benefits. With more users looking to search engines for information, ignoring them may even hurt your business. If you are unsure where to start creating or updating your business listing online, be sure to speak to an expert about it.