How many times do you search on your phone or computer for a service, address, phone number, or directions? According to data compiled by Hubspot, there are 63,000 search queries performed per second on Google. That’s 5.6 billion searches per day or 2 trillion per year. Yes, that’s trillion with a t.
Everyone looking for your service or buying your products sees your online listing. If it is not up to date, you are probably losing business opportunities, or ruining your reputation. And you won’t even know it until you find out about a scathing online review of your company. Let me explain how this works.
I recently needed to mail a package and used my phone to check the hours of a local UPS Store. Strangely, it was listed as being open from midnight to 2:00 AM. I drove over (during the day) and mentioned it to the clerk who took my package. She told me “Oh, yes, we know that, but the new owner just bought the business and he doesn’t have access to that listing online to change it.”
This is a business that we count on for accurate speedy logistics. There really is no room for errors like this from the customer’s perspective. We need to know your business is open and when we can drop off our packages. We need to have confidence that you will be open when we arrive, and our packages will be delivered accurately and quickly to their destinations.
That got me to thinking… what else is the new business owner missing out on? The information I relied on is attached to their Google My Business listing. What about their website? What about their Facebook page and other social media listings? Are any of their online listings correct?
When you are buying a business, there are many considerations. It is vitally important to work with an experienced business law attorney through every step to make sure your best interests are protected. Their focus will be on the legal terms of the purchase, details in the contract, and the exchange of money. They are likely to overlook the impact that your online presence will have on you as the new owner.
An experienced marketing advisor can help you protect your online reputation. Engaging an experienced marketer early in the buying process is a wise decision. A marketing advisor will explore all online listings, social media sites, and other components like signage and online reviews. The transfer of all of these items should be included in the purchase agreement terms.
The seller should convey to the new owner a complete list of online sites to which the business is attached and the login credentials. It would be wise to engage the marketer to make sure all logins and passwords are reset, and sites are updated effective immediately at the time of the completed purchase. If you wait until the ink has dried, you may never get control of these online sites.
It is difficult, and sometimes impossible, to claim a business listing that was not yours in the first place. There are paths to follow to get some help from Google, but most business owners would be greatly challenged to navigate them. Unless you have help from the original creator of the listing, it is quite difficult to get ownership of it.
Ignoring the importance of the online listings of a business you are purchasing is a critical mistake that can hurt you by alienating the very customers who rely on your listing to be correct. We live in an online world, and that is where people shop and are going to find your business. Or they will go to your competitor. Don’t discard how quick they can be to post a negative online review. That really hurts your business.
The bottom line is that you cannot afford to lose or alienate customers, especially when you invest so much in the purchase of a business. Considering there are 5.6 billion online searches per day, there is a lot at stake for a new business owner if the listing is wrong and they are helpless to fix it.
About the Author
Jill Kovalich is a marketing professional with 25 years of experience and owner of JMK MarComm LLC, a marketing communications consulting company. She offers Outsourced Marketing services to businesses without a full-time marketing resource on staff, Strategic Advisory to business owners focused on growth, and Marketing Coaching for less experienced marketers and professionals seeking to maximize their success. She also provides Writing services for websites, marketing and sales materials, eNewsletters, blogs, press releases, professional profiles and bios, employee and client communications, ads; business profiles, social media, Case Studies, articles for publication, white papers, and more. Learn more at https://jmkmarcomm.com/services.