We recently sat down with Antoine Marchand, our Customer Success rep at Uberall to chat about the importance of a digital presence for local businesses – including directory listings like Google My Business.

Uberall provides many tools and services to support local businesses through their partners, helping to manage their customer’s customer experience. This includes the user’s online presence and reputation management, among other features. Uberall also helps ensure their client’s information is properly disseminated to Google, Facebook, and other key online directories and platforms, while gearing each specific listing to the business’s environment, location, and industry, as not every online directory is right for every business.

Antoine has been with Uberall for three years now, coming over to the company when they acquired SweetIQ. Today, Antoine is an expert at helping ensure customers receive the guidance they need to properly navigate the different features available to them through the Uberall platform. So who better to chat with about online marketing for local businesses? We wasted no time jumping in.

The pandemic’s effect on local marketing

Over the past five years, the pace of online marketing for businesses has increased. And that’s even more true over the last year and a half, thanks to the pandemic.

Every business, large or small, recognized how critical it was to use digital tools and technology to acquire, engage, and retain customers,” Antoine explained. “E-commerce in all its forms, including online ordering with in-store/curbside pickup, grew significantly. Retailers also finally recognized that digital and physical retail are not two separate things, but part of a single, larger customer experience. That’s been one of the biggest changes. Customers are entering a singular user journey. Before, marketing was much more siloed.”

It hasn’t just fallen to local businesses to keep up with the changes, however. As business directories became much more important in helping get up-to-date (and often changing) information to consumers, those directories had to adapt as well.

Directories had to make it much easier to update business hours, and Google My Business specifically added new attributes, including curbside pick-up, and the option to add a COVID-19 update, among other things. 

Looking beyond directories is also important

Beyond directories, though, business owners need to focus on the overall “customer experience,” says Antoine. With online marketing (as with traditional marketing) the overall focus needs to be on the customer experience. Ask yourself:

  • Will you be found when and where your customers are searching? 
  • Do you have a sufficient number of reviews? 
  • Is your site fast and easy to navigate? 
  • Can customers easily get in touch with you to get their questions answered?

“Consumers value convenience and business owners need to provide that convenience across multiple channels – where the customer is looking,” said Marchand. “It’s quite challenging. The ‘customer experience’ is the sum of all these things [mentioned above]. Online is where customers will encounter a business first in most cases. That first impression – often on Google – is essential. But the information customers discover must also be sufficient to answer their questions.”

Bottom line? Marketing for local businesses has become a Digital First endeavour.

While you should be present and active on a number of business directories (and Antoine says you should have a full directory line-up), Google My Business is a great place to start.

“Everyone’s reaction is to open the phone and map the business location, and usually it’s from within Google,” said Antoine. “It’s a strong place to start. The world of directories and apps is always changing, but the need to have business data distributed to all the right places remains consistent.”

He offered these finals words of advice for local businesses:

“Ensure your processes are properly set up. Be consistent, be patient, and enable yourself to have success in the future.”

Full disclosure: 10|20 Marketing is an Uberall partner, specializing in helping smaller businesses gain access to this award-winning platform they otherwise would not have enough locations to qualify for. Ask us for a free consultation to understand how this platform can benefit your local business.