Consumers want information they can trust to help them make decisions. This means providing accurate, timely information for people to find on their favorite search engine.
For example, imagine you need supplies for your kid’s science project on a Thursday night and you find the store you need to go to on Google. The hours look like the ones listed below:
If you went in on a Thursday at 5 PM, you would expect the store to be open. But then, disaster strikes – they aren’t. At your time of need, how would you feel? Would you trust that brand again?
This is why you need to have a listings management strategy.
Once they do find you, most consumers make decisions based on the experiences of others, as reflected in reviews and ratings.
According to Binary Fountain’s second annual healthcare consumer survey, 95% of respondents regard online ratings and reviews as “somewhat” to “very” reliable.
Accurate listings are becoming even more important as healthcare consumerism continues to rise. For example, eighty percent of searches for medical information are online, and in many cases are looking to find a “doctor near me.” And Google is one of their favorite places to start. This is why it is vital to claim, complete and update the Google listing for every service/location you manage.
Inaccurate Online Listings Could Cost You Customers
There is nothing hypothetical about this: We have heard dozens of anecdotes about the consequences of incorrect phone numbers and addresses for local businesses just like yours. If there’s a problem with any aspect of the listing, don’t be surprised if someone highlights it in an online rating or review that can be seen by every potential new customer.
Much like our example above, people expect accurate information when they do their research online. You risk breaking trust with your current customers and turning away potential new ones by not regularly updating your listings.
How to Start a Listings Management Strategy
Take a minute right now to search for whatever your industry is with the phrase “near me” added. Is your business listed, and does it compare favorably with your local competition?
For many staffers responsible for marketing and reputation management, the work of claiming, correcting and maintaining your online listings looms as a tedious and time-consuming chore. The potential negative impact of not doing it, however, is substantial.
Here are some suggestions on how to get started with an online listings strategy and how to make sure listings are accessible and accurate for all of your customers:
Prioritize & Organize Your Data
The work of formatting location and service data for directories and aggregators is foreign to some organizations. Step one is to decide on your preferred user experience. Do you want to direct everyone to your primary location, address, and phone number, or is it better to guide the customer to the specific department and/or product? Tailor your data management strategy accordingly.
Target critical directories and sites for management
Review your site analytics, especially if you offer unique services, to determine where your customers find you before they click to your site. The popular local directories may not be your top referrers.
To get you started, here are some of the top directories you can get listed on:
- Google My Business
There are many others, but this should give you a good head start.
Enhance Your Online Listings
Provide helpful, local content such as descriptions, images, attributes, services and appointment links on your listings. This will build trust with your local audience and help you stand out compared to your competition.
When it comes to local SEO, you want to separate yourself from the pack any way you can. Adding unique content will help you do that, regardless of your industry.
Plan for Regular Listing Updates
Knowing that listing management is not a ‘set-it & forget-it’ chore, take a proactive approach to changing details like new hours or locations. Update your listings as soon as information changes so you are able to get ahead of anything that could result in a poor consumer experience.
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