4 Advantages of Online Directories for Businesses
Back in the day, paper phone directories were the popular way to locate professionals by their specialty. There was a section for the plumber, a section for the realtor, a section for the attorney, and just about any other profession you wanted to find. You'd browse the ads and choose one that stood out to ask a few questions or get help with a particular need. While the days of bulky, heavy, outdated, yellow pages are out. People will still want to locate professionals, but many of them are searching online, rather than offline, for the professions they wish to do business with. The day of convenient, light, current online directories is in. This blog dives into the subject of how to help your local business appear in an online directory to be discovered by customers searching for your type of business online.
Why should you list your business in an online directory?
Instead of picking up a book and flipping through the pages, buyers take to search engines like Google. In fractions of a second, they can find businesses. If someone enters a general term in a search engine say "homebuilder houston." The homebuilders who have listed themselves in online directories (like Google Places) are more likely to appear in the top results.Instead of sorting companies by name, Google uses a secret mathematical formula to organize the results. You won't win by having a company name with AAAs infront of it.
On Google, there is a prominent map that appears to help identify where within the city of Houston the business is located. This helps individuals seeking home builders find out about providers as well as where their location. When you're listed in a directory, you can be "discovered" by a prospective customer who had never heard of you until the point they read your listing inside of the directory. This is how online directories build awareness of your company among potential customers.
Most listings consist of basic information such as name, address, phone number, website address. Many online directories have additional information that can influence whether or not a prospective buyer considers one company over the other. What enhances local directories are the reviews, recommendations, photos, videos, hours, and descriptions. The responses to these fields educates buyers on the basics. It stirs up interest to seek more information from a person or the website. A directory listing that entices the buyer to learn more will have successfully gained more consideration than a listing that is minimal or non-existant.
Many people are visual learners. Photos are a great way to differentiate a company from another in an online directory. For businesses with a product, images are a great way to provide a visual example of the type and quality of product available for purchase. For service providers, images of the staff, facilities, certifications, or awards can help a business stand out from its competition. Great photographs can definitely have more influence of a company that a written description of the service.
Having images with your online directories helps catch the eye of potential customers. Listings with photos are more likely to be noticed than listings without photos. The photos are thumbnail size; still they're enough to create curiousity to see a larger version of the photo by viewing the full business listing. Think of your business listing as a tiny online portfolio. A few images of your work can make a difference in the mind of a buyer.
Phone Number | The phone number field is typically a required field, since it is essential to basic information about a business. This is for a very good reason. Buyers want to locate the phone number to (1) learn more about a business, (2) obtain answers to existing questions or (3) get information about where to look next. Online directories are a quick way to find out the phone number of a business.
Address| Directories allow your business to include its address. The address can be inserted into GPS and navigation applications on cellphones, to help potential customers locate and drive to your business. The convenience of requesting directions with just a few clicks makes it fast and easy to drive to a business or know its location. It's often easier than picking up the phone and asking for turn by turn directions to a business.
It is no surprise that people enjoy receiving incentives! Entire TV shows have been based on coupons and product prices. Several online directories allow businesses to list: coupons, incentives, announcements, or deals. This may be the last bit of encouragement a buyer may use as a reason to do business with one company over another. A unique offer or special discount can help you verify how your customers are finding out about your business.
When people are on the go, they look up companies on their mobile devices too. Many companies offer incentives for consumers to buy. FourSquare and Yelp help consumers find businesses with deals near their current location. With cellphones alone, it is projected that consumers will redeem over 10 billion dollars worth of coupons in 2013.
For many business to consumer businesses, it makes sense to have e-commerce option on the website. Promotion codes can quickly be factored into the price of the items or service. When the coupon is redeemed the business increases its sales sooner rather than later. For business to business companies, the incentives can help buyers take advantage of educational resources, assessments, or complimentary trials to help them learn more about the company.
With digital directories and smart phones, buyers can locate the phone number to thousands of businesses in the palm of their hand. If we could go back a century, buyers and business owners alike would marvel at the idea of having the contact information of thousands of local businesses at their finger tips to call upon for any need, want, or curiousity.
The popularity of phone books has shifted from paper format to digital format. For modern consumers, the wide availability of online directories makes paper directories. Businesses that appear in online directories will be discovered, seen, and considered over the competition that does not appear.
With this information, saying goodbye paper directory and hello online directory will be easier to do.
Photo By: Between Here and There