Avoiding Directory Errors

When it's time to branch off into new activities to help their businesses, Canadian entrepreneurs are limited by two things: time and money. Sound familiar? 54% say their budgets are too tight, and 46% blame their busy schedules. Yet many of them opt out of some worthwhile activities … even though they are quick and easy!

Here's an example:

  • 85% of small business owners think it is important to have a good listing in directories like Yelp, Trip Advisor, and the Yellow Pages. And they're right.
  • Yet 49% have never updated their descriptions in these directories!
  • And 50% of them know for a fact that these descriptions contain errors! (This does not include those whose entries have errors they are not aware of.)

Is this true for your business? Maybe your business hours have changed. Maybe you offer new products. Maybe you have a delivery service now, or even just a new website. Incomplete and incorrect information in directories could lead your future clients astray. That's really bad for sales.

How can you make sure you get the most out of these directories, without putting in too much time and money? Set aside two hours during your least busy period to do the following tasks.

1. First, create a standard description for your business. Don't reinvent the wheel: start with what you already have on your website. You'll be using the same text everywhere, more or less, using copy-paste. Important: Make sure to always write your address and telephone number the same way (this will help a lot with local searches). The most important things to include are:

  • Business name
  • Telephone number
  • Full address (include your postal code: useful in searching for the best way to get there; add any information that will help your clients get to you, for example: "steps from Metro Jean-Talon!")
  • Website and email (many potential clients will skip over you if this information is missing)
  • Products and services (use the same keywords you used for search engines; )state what makes you stand out from competitors)
  • Category (for example: "Japanese restaurants")

2. Update your description in each of these directories:

  • Yellow Pages
  • Google Places
  • Bing Places for Business
  • Yelp
  • iBegin
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Trip Advisor (if you are in the tourism or restaurant business)
  • the website for your professional association
  • any other website that lists your business
  • in some cases, you can also ask your suppliers to mention you on their sites ("Our products are sold at…")

3. Google your name to see who's talking about you. Check that your business information is correct and complete.

4. Create a Google Alert for your business name. That way, you will be notified when someone mentions you, and you can check the information right away.

The first time you do this, it could take two or three hours, depending on how your business is currently listed. Do it! It could be the most profitable two or three hours you spend all year. The second time, the whole process should take less than one hour.

In closing, here's the easiest and definitely the fastest, way to get it done: send this article to one of your employees, and ask them to take care of it. Overseeing this task should only take twenty minutes or so each year. 

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