The difference between a business and building a brand is building a unique relationship with each of your customers. Building a relationship with your customers fosters strong loyalty to your brand, which significantly extends the lifecycle of your customer-provider relationship and increases repeat business from those customers.

Building a brand does not just happen overnight, it is a process of setting up the right things, in the right order and creating a positive reputation of you as the expert, guru or go-to in your industry. While this sounds like a LOT of work, I promise, if you are pursuing something you’re passionate about and are committed to making a difference in your life and others, building a brand will be a joyful process not just for you, but also your professional network and your customers. While I must admit, there are times you may feel overwhelmed, if you remember why you’re building your brand, no obstacle is too much to overcome. This series, Build Your Brand Today, will be a multiple part series on small steps to help you make a big impact while building your brand.

In this post, we will cover claiming your business listings from online directories. Depending on your type of business, there are a number of additional directory sites you may want to be listed on. However, for the purpose of this post, we will be looking at the three largest search engine directories, Google, Bing and Apple.

Why focus on Google Local, Apple Maps, and Bing Places?

Trends in how consumers are searching for products and services have changed, 80% of the searches for products and services are for results nearby, or local. Of the searches for local information, 88% are done from a mobile device. What makes searches from a mobile device so significant is that HALF, yes, half (50%) of those searching for local businesses, from a mobile device will visit that business within a day. These statistics tell us one very important thing, consumers are looking to fulfill an immediate need. With quick answers to where, what, when and why, consumers are able to immediately find that product or service they need, without waiting for a product to ship from a warehouse or fight the crowd of a big-box retailer or mall.

These 3 local search options are the default searches for most Android, Apple/ iOS, and Windows devices:

1. Google Business
Requires: Free Google Account

Google Business is a free service for managing your business on Google.

If you’ve previously registered a location with either Google Places for Business or Google+ Pages, your information should be already accessible to you through the Google Business page – just make sure you’re using the correct Google login to manage it.

If this is the first time you’re registering with Google, click on Google My Business and follow through their step-by-step guide to setup your new “Google Business” page.

2. Apple Search
Requires: Free AppleID

Apple Maps Connect is Apple’s free service for managing business listings on Apple Maps.

Once you log-in, you will click on ‘Get Started’ and then you’ll be asked to search for your business. Enter your business information and search.

If your business comes up in the search results, click on the location to view and claim the listing. Once you’ve confirmed your claim with a phone call and PIN number, you’ll be able to edit and correct information.

If your business does not come up in the search results, you’ll want to click on blue text which reads ‘Add New Business.’ This will bring up a new screen, where you’ll be able to confirm your business information (e.g. address, map location, business categories, etc.) for Apple Maps.

Note for Mobile Businesses: Apple does not have an option for mobile businesses. It only supports physical store locations (as of this post).

3. Bing Places
Requires: Free Microsoft Account

Bing Places for Business provides business owners a way to update and confirm your business listing with Microsoft.

Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be able to begin your search by selecting a country. Then you’ll be prompted to search by phone number or business name and address.

If your business already has a listing, select it from the search results. And, then you’ll have the option to claim it so you can edit.

If there is not a listing for your business, you’ll be given the option to create it. As with the other directories listed here, make sure you’re careful when entering your information. Once created, you’ll have to complete a similar claim process before your ownership can be verified.

Note for Multiple Location Businesses: For businesses with multiple locations, you can bulk upload information.

Note for Mobile Businesses: Bing Places has the option to hide the exact address for a business, which makes this option more friendly for mobile businesses.

That’s it!

You’ve claimed and updated your business information in some of the major business directories. Already using these? In what other directories should you list your business? Let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments below and we may include your story in a future blog.

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