Volume 13, Issue 3 - May-June 2011

Ideas That Work
sales tips

Online Listings Can Help Your Business
by Penny Stacey

Have you checked your company’s listing on Google Places, Yelp.com, Superpages.com or any of the other free, online listing services lately? If not, one Missouri auto glass shop owner says it might be time to do so.

“Shops need to make sure that they have a profile on everyone of those … and that all the correct information is there,” says Larry Diesbach, owner of Bachman Auto Glass in St. Louis. “If you get misinformation on one, these other directories will scrape from it, and once incorrect information is out there, it’s nearly impossible to get it fixed.”

Google Places, which offers a list of businesses when a user searches for a particular service in a certain area, also pulls from these, along with any reviews listed about your company on the various sites, Diesbach says.

“A lot of people are searching zipcodes plus auto glass or windshield with the zipcode,” says Diesbach. “When I search [for a service] that’s pretty much what I do, too, and with Google Places it helps so much [for shops] to have their information filled out and to make sure it’s accurate.”

While Google gathers as much information as possible from other sites, you also can log in to claim and update your company’s Google places listing—this is as simple as going to places.google.com/business, and following the online steps. This simple service, used by many, is free.

“Shops don’t need to spend all this money [for listings, etc.],” says Diesbach, “… and there are companies that will take your money to do something that’s already free.”

Diesbach also gathers customers’ email addresses, so that once the work is done, he can contact them to ask that they complete an online review on one of the various listing sites. Bachman Auto Glass has created a list of these and offers the customer a simple dropdown menu to select from, and the customer can utilize Yelp, Google, SuperPages, or any of the other choices available to review the experience.

“Shops need to make sure that they have a profile on everyone of those … and that all the correct information is there.”

“We’ve had really good luck with building our local citations,” says Diesbach. “… and maybe someone doesn’t have a Google account, but they might have a Yelp. It makes it really easy on the customer to let everyone know how the service was. I think a lot of people use stuff like that when selecting a service.”

These reviews also will make their way back to Google, even if they’re written elsewhere, Diesbach says.

“Say you had a profile on Yelp and someone says ‘they’re great to deal with,’ Google will pick that review up and bring it back to your Google Places [page],” he adds.

Diesbach also recommends that companies that do lots of in-shop work consider the use of sites such as FourSquare to let customers “check in” at their businesses.

“You can make special offers to people where if they check in at your place they’ll get a coupon,” says Diesbach.

So, for example, if a customer checks in at your facility (using FourSquare or Facebook Places, or a related service), likely all his connections and friends will see that he was there.

“It spreads the word,” says Diesbach, “and it doesn’t cost anything. In this economy anything that doesn’t cost anything is great.”

Penny Stacey is the editor of AGRR magazine.

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