It’s common knowledge that the consumers of today overwhelmingly tend to search for and evaluate local businesses online. They head to sites like Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor to find information such as business hours, menu items and customer reviews. When consumers are on the go, though, they’re more likely to use an app for this research than a web browser. To reach these curious customers, your small business should be familiar with the popular apps consumers visit and how to create a listing on each.
According to Smart Insights, apps account for 89 percent of mobile media time, while websites account for just 11 percent. At the same time, Business Insider reports that brands have a difficult time convincing mobile users to download their brand-specific app. In other words, your small business may get a better return on investment by leveraging existing search apps rather than developing your own. The apps below make for a good place to start.
Apple Maps comes standard on every iPhone, making it a go-to resource for many iOS users. With a listing on Apple Maps, your business can appear as a nearby point of interest when users navigate in your vicinity. To create the listing, use Apple Maps Connect, an online portal for adding and updating information to the app. You’ll need an Apple ID to sign in, but Apple can help you sign up for an ID if you don’t already have one. From there, you’ll search for your business in Apple’s database and “claim” it as yours. If it’s not there, you can also select to “add a place.”
Like its Apple counterpart, Google Maps puts your business in front of Google users who are navigating near your business, or looking for a business in a particular part of town. To create your Google listing, use Google My Business. The process is similar to Apple Maps, allowing you to sign in with your Google account and proceed through the steps of claiming or adding your business and customizing the listing. You can add photos, respond to reviews and give users a virtual tour of your space.
Independent We Stand
The Independent We Stand mobile app lets users search exclusively for locally owned and independent businesses. In other words, when users search for coffee shops near them, they’ll see all the indie roasters in their area and none of the dominant chain locations. To list your business on the Independent We Stand app, sign up for a free or premium membership. Premium members have access to more robust listings, including search results priority and Yelp review integration.
RetailMeNot offers discount codes and coupons for some 50,000 stores. If you’re an independent retailer, chances are that your competition is one of those stores. To attract shoppers with deals of your own, you can submit a new discount online. The form allows merchants to create an online code or in-store coupon, which will appear on the RetailMeNot platforms upon approval from the RetailMeNot team.
As the summer vacation season approaches, TripAdvisor’s connection with travelers could be valuable for your business. The website and app offer free listings for hotels, restaurants, attractions and vacation rentals. Each listing comes with a map placement, user reviews, a photo, a 500-character description, and basic business information. To learn more about the different categories of businesses that can create a listing and to start the process, visit the “Get Listed” page on TripAdvisor’s website.
A Google-owned app, Waze is known to help users navigate through traffic, road closures and other hazards. Like Apple Maps and Google Maps, Waze also allows users to search for nearby points of interest. To make sure your business comes up in those local searches, you can use the Waze Map Editor. You’ll need to create a username and password to enter the site. With Waze, it’s important to note that app users can easily add their own information to the Waze map, whether they’re a business owner, consumer or a driver stuck in traffic. Check your listing regularly to make sure the information remains up to date and accurate.
According to Yelp, claiming your free business listing on the popular website and mobile app can generate an average annual incremental revenue of $8,000. Similar to TripAdvisor, Yelp offers a wide array of businesses to list their location and information, from restaurants and hotels to plumbers and mechanics. To get started, use the Yelp for Business Owners platform, where you’ll be asked to find and claim your business. You can also call Yelp at 877-767-9357 to get started.
Shoppers, travelers and commuters use popular mobile apps day in and day out. Whether they’re zipping across town for dinner or hitting the road for an extended vacation, your best chance to reach on-the-go customers is likely to come from a 5-inch screen.