yellowpages-webWhen was the last time you looked up information about a business in a phone book?  That isn’t a rhetorical question; really think about the last time you actually picked up a phone book.  Drawing a blank?  The truth of the matter is that phone books have become a last resort and our new primary source of information on businesses is, of course, the internet.  That is why it’s so important to make sure your business has a consistent, up-to-date internet presence.

GoDaddy recently published an infographic about how consumers are searching for businesses, and the consequences for businesses that aren’t up-to-date. While the numbers aren’t really all that surprising when you think about them, it does make the need for monitoring your internet presence very clear.  Here are the most important things we think you should do with this information.

  1. Try to find your business online:  Have you ever Googled yourself?  It can be a little surprising to see what things come up.  And if you are a business, surprising can be bad. So, the first thing you should do is look up your business in a search engine. Does your website come up? Does a little map show up with your address and phone number?  If so, is all of the information correct and up-to-date?  You should also see if your business comes up when you do a local business search for your business type. If you run a pizza joint, and your business doesn’t show up when you look up “pizza” on Google Maps, you have a problem.  Finally, if you find listings for your business on review sites like Yelp, see what people are saying.  You might have a problem at your company that you don’t even know about.
  2. Take steps to correct problems:  If what that infographic says is true, and 77% of customers really won’t give a business a second chance if their online information is incorrect, then it is really important to monitor what information is out there about your company.  If you couldn’t find your business in any directories when you looked yourself up, then getting yourself on the directories is the first step.  We actually offer setting up and monitoring of online directories as a service to our clients because there are so many out there and it can take some time to make sure everything is accurate, and stays that way.  Also, if you found some bad reviews (or even mediocre ones), take steps to try to solve the situation.  Alas, you can’t do anything about the review, but if you can solve the situation so that future customers don’t have that problem, you might get more good reviews that outweigh the bad ones.
  3. Make sure you’re following your social media plan:  As if we needed another reason to keep our Facebook pages from going stale, the numbers suggest that potential customers are way more likely to use your business if they can find you on social media.  So, just having Facebook and Twitter accounts for your business is a good start.  But, as we have said many times in the past, for social media to work, it requires frequent updating and interaction with your customers.  Imagine for a moment that you are a customer looking up two companies who sell similar products on Facebook.  One posted an update that day, has information about current promotions, has a complete listing with address, phone number and hours, and has responded to comments from fans.  The other page hasn’t been updated in weeks, there are no hours listed, and people have asked questions on the page that haven’t been answered.  What company are you more likely to choose?

In these times of instant gratification and looking up information on-the-go, it is increasingly important for businesses to make sure that customers can find information about them.  If a customer can’t find your company’s phone number online, it is highly unlikely they will go out of their way to find it in a phone book.  After all, do you even know where your phone book is?