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By Cassi Price, Manager of Marketing Strategy

 

It’s that time of year, your final numbers are in and you’re looking to make your dollar go further in the coming year.  We get this question often in December – how can I market best online while using a limited budget?

No matter what size your budget is in 2017, I believe you must pay close attention to your online directories.  At VGM Forbin, we call it Reputation Management.  Your online reputation is built when customers, or you, search for your business.  An impressive number of listings pop up from Google Maps, YELP, Yellow Pages, Superpages and much more.  At first, you think, “Wow, this is great! I’m all over the internet without even trying,” but little do you know these very same listings may also be the cause of your demise.

Perhaps it’s not that serious, but neglecting your online directories can negatively affect your business’ reputation online.  Next time you Google your business, ask yourself these questions when examining your directory listings:

  1. Is the location and contact information correct?
  2. Can a visitor easily see what products or services I offer from that listing?
  3. Do I have any unanswered reviews – positive or negative?
  4. Are there enough current photos to accurately portray my business?
  5. Finally, is my listing verified so that only I can edit it?

Another reason to show some love to your online directories is their exponential growth and relevance to search engines such as Google and YELP.  Over the past few months, VGM Forbin has seen Google Maps release subtle updates to their online directory including real time reports on a business’ traffic, better advertising options, and new notifications regarding your listing.Image of VGM Forbin Google Maps Listing Photos

As of last month, Google was testing a new messaging pilot program that could allow businesses to chat directly with their customers through a Google listing.

Looking forward, these search giants will predict and facilitate the continued growth we’ll see in online directories in 2017.  Get on the ball this year, and treat these prevalent listings as if they are your own physical storefront. 

We recommend taking the following steps:Image of VGM Forbin Google Maps Listing Reviews

  1. Make your listing feel welcoming.
  2. Bring the online shoppers in through attentive photos.
  3. Respond to customers as soon as they give you feedback.

If you truly don’t have the time to maintain your online directories, VGM Forbin can help.  Give your Forbin account executive a call and ask about our Reputation Management service.  It’s affordable and does all of the busy work for you!

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