The more touchpoints your business creates online, the more opportunities customers have to find you — which is what you want, right? The flipside is that having more touchpoints also creates more opportunities for brands to spread erroneous information. Have your customers ever Googled your store hours then showed up to find your front door locked? Have customers left reviews complaining how they tried to find your restaurant menu online but only found a broken link? These common digital pitfalls impact businesses of all sizes, but they can be especially detrimental for small businesses and larger brands with a local business component. The good news is that business listing management is a relatively simple solution that ensures your brand’s location data is listed consistently and accurately anywhere you have an online presence.
Business listing management is the management of vital location information across publishers and platforms such as Google, Facebook, Foursquare, Yahoo, and yp.com, and the oversight to address issues as they arise to ensure data quality across the internet landscape. Often referred to within the marketing world as “location data management,” we at BrandMuscle prefer the more user-friendly terms “business listings” and “online business listings.” Keeping this listing data clean, accurate, and up-to-date is essential to ensuring that businesses are searchable, trust is established with consumers, and that interested people can engage with their local businesses. We live life online as much as offline, so you need to keep your location data up-to-date across all platforms so that your customers can easily find you IRL. Business listing management bridges that important gap between the digital and the physical worlds.
When you don’t use a single business listing management solution, managing your business information across various platforms means you have to create directory listings for your business everywhere you want data to appear, from Facebook to Yelp to your Google My Business profile. Then when data changes, you have to update it yourself, manually, in each place. Have holiday hours? Update that on every site yourself. Changing your Monday through Wednesday hours from your Thursday through Friday hours? Update that yourself. Without business listing management software, you have to log in to each platform, change your address, days and hours of operation, every time the data changes. But business listing management services make those changes for you across every platform you use, all at once.
For starters, the most important information to get right is NAP data, meaning name, address, and phone number. These three items are considered the most valuable information for consumers who are searching or contacting a business to meet their needs. Accurate NAP data not only helps customers call and visit a physical business location, it also establishes business credibility and trustworthiness for local SEO, meaning search engine optimization. Customers often view NAP data accuracy as a reflection of a business’ operations: If a business can’t keep their own phone number accurate, what other balls are they dropping?
Beyond the NAP data, business listings can feature store hours, website links, business categories, social media handles, and photos. Not all platforms will use 100% of these fields, but if you’re using a business listings service, this data will be shared with platforms and listings across the internet wherever it’s relevant. And the more complete your business listings, the more correct and relevant information gets shared broadly.
Let’s say you’ve got your NAP data and other information in place but want to take your business listings a step further. Seasonality is a great way to introduce temporary but relevant content in open-ended fields like business description and featuring messaging. To go along with the season, you have the ability to update your specific holiday hours, which will be shared temporarily during holiday timeframes. While these fields don’t get sent to all publishers, they do often go to big ones like Google, and they will appear wherever possible to help your business stand out.
Although managing business listings for an individual storefront can be relatively simple, the challenges of managing your brand’s listings for all your channel partners are numerous. But with data integrations, amplification, and strategic oversight, you can overcome these challenges to keep your business’ listings accurate and relevant at scale. Remind channel partners to update their business listings before holidays, extreme weather events, and change of seasons. Once you know to do this, you can show your local partners that with accurate location data, everyone wins.
Contact BrandMuscle to hear how we can manage your business listings for you at scale.
Director of Web Strategy at BrandMuscle