When looking for local businesses, where do you think 4 out of 5 people now go? That's right: online.
A quick internet search will often bring up a list of companies nearest them, who fit the bill for the offering they're looking for.
But how do you get your company on those sites in the first place? The answer lies in creating a business listing.
As a mortgage broker, you know how important a solid business listing can be. Making sure your voice gets heard, your announcements get read, and your prospects get noticed is essential to building your business.
Yet, for many, increasing the impact of your online business listings can be tricky. Where do you start? How do you get your data out? How do you keep them growing?
Today, we're taking a look at just what goes into business listing building, and how you can use yours to its full potential.
Interested in learning more? Let's get started!
Business Listing Building 101
So what exactly is a business listing? Put simply, it's an online database where you can detail information about your company. Think of it as a virtual yellow pages, though it's much more than that.
You can now put your company profile onto multiple online listings, where people can search for your company, find out more about you, link to your website, and contact you, all with the click of a button.
If you're looking to increase your exposure and attract more clients, it's not enough to simply have an online profile. Business listing building is the critical next step, making sure your voice is heard on all the right channels, by all the right people.
Let's take a look at a few ways to get the most out of your listing!
1. Make Sure You're in the Right Places
A business profile is only valuable if it's hitting the right targets and attracting the right prospects. To this end, when you're building your business listings, there are myriad places you can include your information.
Five of the heavy hitters include Google, Facebook, Yelp, Yellowpages, and Foursquare. Considering that Google receives 100 billion searches per month, it's easy to see why these big dogs are important.
Yet, though these are some of the main sites, there are hundreds of business listing sites available. Although it might be tempting to mass post your profile onto all of them, another issue to contend with is overexposure. Posting on every single business listing site can make your business look spammy at best, and result in a penalty at worst.
Working with a company that understands business listing logistics can help you navigate the sea of options to choose those best fitted to your business, so you can rest assured your citation building efforts are not in vain.
2. Maintain Data Accuracy
It goes without saying that your business profile should be filled with accurate, up-to-date information.
Think about it: If someone finds your profile, that's great! Visibility is the first step. But what happens if that person clicks on your business website and is taken to an error page, or worse, a page that now belongs to someone else?
An important step in business listing building is routinely reviewing your business profile. This is essential to making sure everyone who views your profile is receiving the correct information.
The top three items that absolutely must be correct, and consistent across all directories? Your NAP: Name, Address, and Phone Number. Yet, to improve customer reach and engagement, your entire listing should be the same across all channels.
Changing up your hours for the holidays? Updating when you open, or when you close? Your business profile must reflect these changes.
Making sure your contact information is always correct will not only improve your search engine ranking, but it will also improve customer loyalty. If someone drives to your location based on your profile's detailed hours, and you're not there, chances are low they'll return.
Two more incentives for doing a monthly check for your online listings? You could be penalized for incorrect information, and some search engines can even rate your profile lower because of it.
In this age of the Internet of Things, where people and devices are connected at an unprecedented rate, company profiles are checked constantly. Allowing even a small window of disconnect can result in an incredible amount of lost customers.
3. Think Outside of the Profile
Sure, your NAP is essential. But what about customer reviews? Company photos? Online promotions such as a free rate quote?
When undertaking business listing building, it's important to consider your target audience. Are they looking for contact information only, or would they benefit from hearing testimonials? Would they be interested in a promotional offer?
If the answer is yes to either of these questions, consider adding this type of information to your online profile (making sure to update it everywhere). Not only can this add more depth and detail to your profile, it can help you stand out in a sea of online competitors offering similar services.
Keep in mind that making a universal change to all your business profiles can be complex, especially if you're on hundreds of searchable sites. As such, partnering with a company that specializes in business listing building can make all the difference.
Specialized software not only updates all your business listings at once, it eliminates the potential for human error.
Consider this: You type a customer review into your Yelp profile. If you've got an extensive listing portfolio, typing this same review out hundreds of time is not only illogical, it's time-consuming and cumbersome.
In this case, data accuracy is just as important as data creativity, so consistent updates are key.
Next Steps: Building Your Online Business Listings from the Ground Up
Navigating the business listing building world doesn't have to be complicated.
Though there are many options and many ways to get your company noticed, the vast opportunity doesn't have to overwhelm you -- it can actually work to your great advantage.
If you're ready to take your business to the next level, we're here to help.
We're experts in reputation management for the mortgage broker industry, and we'll work with you every step of the way to build your business listing to exactly where it needs to be, to reach the people you need to reach.
To get started, feel free to browse our blog, contact us, or leave a comment below, and let's get you noticed!