As health policies and business restrictions change, your business has to adapt quickly. But customers want to be able to count on you. Use online listings to keep them informed during COVID-19. Updated online listings boost customer satisfaction too.
The global pandemic is stressing everyone out. Don’t make life more difficult for customers by failing to update your online listings. In this digital age, people are less likely to call and see if you’re open or how your business practices have changed. They will do an online search instead. Relying on your online listing, they’ll make their decisions.
So, it’s important to keep online business listings up to date at all times. But especially now when your customers don’t need their lives disrupted by any more frustrations.
This article will show you how to use online listings to keep customers abreast of the latest changes during COVID-19 and beyond. We’ll first examine the value of online local listings. Then, we’ll cover aspects of your business that could need updating in online directories, including:
- COVID-19 protocols
- Adjusted business practices
- Product and service updates
How Do Online Listings Help?
Business directories offer online local listings for businesses. These are valuable to your business, global pandemic or not. For one thing, creating content for a local business listing can help you in search engine listings.
Publishing an online profile on a local small business directory like those offered by Yahoo! Local, Google My Business, Yelp, Bing Places, or Internet Yellow Pages makes your business more visible. You can create a local business listing on all these online directories. Each one will help your chances of potential customers finding out about your business.
Accurate local listings can also save you time. Customers and prospects visit online business listing sites to learn about your offerings. That means they’re not calling you while you’re trying to wrap up a customer’s purchase or keep that custom cake from toppling over.
Also, since 79% of people are buying research online, local listing management boosts your business credibility. Use a local listing tool can help you make sure you are answering all of the essential questions customers might seek answers for online.
View an informative MOZ whiteboard video on the importance of local listing accuracy.
Now that you understand why your local directory listings matter, we’ll discuss the next key elements to keep current, especially during COVID-19.
Updating COVID-19 Protocols
The coronavirus has prompted many changes worldwide. It hasn’t been easy for your business, especially with the restrictions and safety requirements changing so often. Yet, amidst all the other work you’re doing, don’t overlook the importance of your local business listing. This is where you can communicate with customers and prospects promptly.
Yes, there are people out there acting as if nothing needs to change. Yet, you’ll find many customers are looking for information about safety measures before supporting a local business. Plus, McKinsey predicts the emphasis on health and hygiene will stick. The good news is that consumers are showing even more interest in shopping locally.
Use the local listing to highlight the safety dividers you’ve added or the fact that you are disinfecting all surfaces between customer visits. Inform people your staff wears masks and has temperature checks before each shift.
Update your listings with details of any requirements you might have of customers. This might include:
- Mandatory masks
- Temperature checks
- Filling out a COVID-19 waiver
- Appointments or reservations
Many directories have a special COVID-19 post update that displays prominently with the information you add. Offering online classes or e-visits? Put that online. Want to suggest people purchase gift cards to support your business? Post it here.
Reporting Adjusted Business Practices
Regrettably, some businesses are needing to close temporarily due to the pandemic. Make that change in your online listings.
Otherwise, some of the attributes you may need to change include:
- Business hours—Your business may be reducing its scheduling or adding more hours to accommodate increased demand.
- Service availability—e.g., a restaurant needs to inform people whether it is open for dine-in or maybe curbside or delivery.
- Delivery options— Retailers may be extending shipping times. Service providers could be moving online.
- Policy changes — Maybe you have extended the return period to reduce your customers’ need to go to post offices or visit your stores.
Communicating Product and Service Updates
You can use the business description in your local listing to communicate any updates to your products and services because of the coronavirus. Perhaps you are providing extra services to the community at this time. Or product delivery is delayed.
Your customers want to know if you are reducing seating capacity, changing the way classes are run to accommodate social distancing, or operating on a limited menu.
Inaccurate or incomplete online listings lead to consumer confusion and loss of business. It’s also important to ensure your online profile is consistent across the many directories out there. Some 53% of business directory listings are incorrect or unfinished. Be sure you’re regularly monitoring your directory presence. This helps you maximize the impact and search value of your online listings.