Did you know online listings, digital knowledge management and reviews can be the most important local marketing your business can have? Certainly social media marketing is important as is the quality of your website and other aspects of your business’s web presence. But tending your online listings and reviews should be your business’s first priority. Want to know why? Keep reading.
Here are 10 key points to remember when marketing your business online:
- Living online is no longer enough. Websites are important for promoting your business, but being active online and understanding the paths to purchase — how customers find your local business online — are what really count.
- Most potential customers will never see your website. In fact, on average people are three times more likely to see your business on Yelp, Facebook, Google My Business, Bing, Yahoo, FourSquare or similar sites. And they’ll often make their decision whether to patronize your business based on what they find there.
- That’s even more true if you run a local restaurant. It turns out people looking for a local place to eat are on average 10 times more likely to find your eatery on a third party site. And they’ll decide right then and there whether to give your menu a chance without ever visiting your finely crafted home page.
- The “path to purchase” is through third party sites. This means the majority of your potential customers are making decisions whether or not to visit your business based on these review or listing sites. And while you may be managing one or two pages for your business on the most important of these — say Google My Business or Yelp — there are literally hundreds out there.
- Services like Yext make managing these sites easier. By using Yext  or other similar services, you enter phone, address, times of operation, products or services, wheelchair options, gluten free food selections and other deep knowledge about your business, all in one place. Then press a button and the information is published to an estimated 80+ listing and review sites — all at once!
- Your website IS still important. So don’t assume from all this it’s not. A visitor who finds you through a review or listing site may still want to learn more. There may be “deeper facts” about your offerings or a better idea of the overall experience you provide. Still, while a website can take weeks, months or longer to get up and running the way you want it, your listings can be managed and bringing in business within 72 hours.
- Social media is important as well — to a point. You’re probably aware of all the social media platforms out there at your disposal. Those sites include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and the list goes on. But here’s something you may not know.
- The half-life of a Tweet can be as little as seven minutes. After that, most people forget it. A Facebook post lasts a little longer — about five hours. But listings for your business live forever on the web. Focus your efforts there.
- Reviews are also gamechangers. In fact, reviews may make all the difference between bringing in that new customer or losing him or her to a competitor. For example, if a customer searches Google for something like “best pizza shop near me” the restaurant with the most recent positive review will likely come out on top.
- But the one BIG secret of local marketing is this. When it comes to online marketing, worry about managing listings and customer reviews first and social media last — and you’ll always be found in local search
For more on how to improve your local online marketing and put your local business on the map, visit Yext.com .
These tips and many more were presented during a live video event held October 18, 2017 with Rev Ciancio of Yext, host of The Hot Seat Ramon Ray, and Small Business Trends CEO Anita Campbell. You can watch the full session here: