If you run a local bricks-and-mortar business, the most important online marketing you may ever do is claiming your local business listings. In fact, if you don't claim your listings, someone else could--and that might be a disastrous thing for your business.
Finding time to update or create your online business listings can sometimes be a challenge. But once you claim your listing, you can control which information and images are shown on these sites about your business, which is certainly worth the effort.
In many cases, you may already have a listing, so it’s just a matter of claiming the page for your business. What’s the difference between updating and claiming? Updating means you’ve created an account and just need to add new information to the page. Claiming means that a page for your business exists, but you may not have created or set it up. In this case, you’ll need to prove it’s your business before you can change any information.
There are several sites your business could be listed on, so how do you choose the best? Easy! Start with these seven:
The 7 business listing sites you should claim and update right now
Google My Business
Google My Business, in its own words, “connects you directly with customers, whether they’re looking for you on Search, Maps or Google+.”
How to claim or edit your business listing: Click the “Get on Google” anywhere on the page, sign in to your Google account, and follow the steps to add your business information to Google.
Facebook for Business
According to Facebook, it “can help you reach all the people who matter most to your business.”
How to claim or edit your business listing: If you need to claim your Business Page, click here; if you need sign up for a business page, click here.
Yelp for Business
According to Yelp, “Millions of people visit Yelp every month to find great local businesses. Help them find your business — free!”
How to claim or edit your business listing: Click here to search for your business. If it exists, you’ll see two options: a Claim button or an Already Claimed link. Click the option you see and either log in or set up an account to edit it.
According to YellowPages, they “will not only get you online, but can also help you get found, drive leads and expand your reach.”
How to claim or edit your business listing: Click here to go through the steps for updating your business details.
According to Yahoo, they are “a comprehensive business directory complete with ratings and reviews, maps, events and more.”
How to claim or edit your business listing: Scroll down this page to “Try Local Basic Listing for free” and click “Sign Up.” Then, update your business contact information including address, phone number and URL. You don’t need to pay for this service.
Bing Places for Business
According to Bing,”Places for Business is a Bing portal that enables business owners to add a listing for their business on Bing.”
How to claim or edit your business listing: Chances are, Bing already has listings for your business. Click here to claim them.
Foursquare for Business
According to Foursquare, “Over 50 million people use Foursquare to discover great businesses and share what they love about them with others. Join the nearly 2 million businesses who are already taking advantage of Foursquare to join the conversation and grow their business.”
How to claim or edit your business listing: Start by searching for your business, then select your listing. If you don’t see your business, click the link at the bottom of the page to add it. Click here to manage your listing.
Don’t forget to include this info on every listing:
Be prepared to fill out the following information, and keep it consistent on each site. Consistency helps your SEO (search engine optimization) efforts.
Address (city, state, zip)
Main phone number
A description of your business, minimum 250 characters.
Logo and pictures
Keep a document of each listing so you can duplicate it exactly. Regularly check on your listings and update your information, at least once every six months. Don’t forget to keep images of your business current and compelling to draw in prospects and customers.
If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, encourage people to “check in” and write a review by displaying a sign in your business window that states the sites in which you’re listed. Some businesses also offer customers who check in a special gift or promotion for doing so, but it’s not necessary. Never offer gifts or compensation for writing a review.