Then Your Website Kills the Rest
Earlier this month I was genuinely shocked to read a survey that showed 52% of people who have been recommended a professional services firm Google it and visit the website but they never make contact because the site is so off-putting.
I was shocked but I wasn't that surprised. The survey focused on accountants but I regularly hear professionals saying "We get our business through word-of-mouth, so our website doesn't matter." I've got a bit of thing about making decisions based on evidence and I have often wondered if those people would get more business if their websites worked harder for them. The survey suggests to me that more businesses should ask themselves that question too.
52% of Warm Leads Walk Away from Your Business
Just think about that for a moment. Someone has taken the trouble to suggest your services to one of their contacts and your website is turning that warm lead to ice. If your website isn't good enough, you are losing valuable referrals. That's not a happy thought.
Can Your Competitor Really Steal Your Number? Yes and Google Doesn't Care
To make matters even worse, you might be losing some of those leads before they even get to your website. They can be stolen by your competitors right from the Google results page. Seriously, it can and does happen.
Even if you've never heard of Google My Business or MapMaker, you're sure to have noticed that you can find businesses' contact details on Google Maps. In the past you could suggest an edit to a business listing but Google's community of MapMakers had to approve the change before a listing was updated. That seems to have stopped now and it appears that anyone can publish changes to Google My Business (GMB) listings. I agree with Joy Hawkins, a renowned Local Search expert, who says that this should "terrify" business owners.
You Need to Check Your Listing - Now!
Why? Sadly Joy Hawkins made her comments based on an aggressive marketing campaign in the insurance sector. A lead generation firm edited the listings of 59 insurance companies in November 2016. They swapped the correct business phone number for their own. When someone rang to request insurance quotes the lead generator took that individual's contact details. Without even realising it, members of the public were being added to a list of qualified leads and their names were sold on to insurance brokers. This is a dreadful abuse of people's trust.
Unfortunately the businesses whose GMB listings had been edited didn't realise and Google didn't alert them. Some still hadn't realised by January 2017 and their Google listings were still showing the wrong number. Read more at Search Engine Land
How to Save Your Business
I'm a firm believer in gathering evidence so you can make informed decisions on your investments. That's why I've suggested free trial with Lead Forensics to a number businesses. It's a great opportunity to discover which businesses are coming to your site and what the do when they get there. You might find out that your site is a winner or you might not. Either way, you'll find out who your prospects are and you'll have the opportunity to approach them yourself.
At the moment, there isn't a simple fix to stop competitors from stealing your leads. I always claim and verify GMB for my clients and we get a monthly activity report. We check their listings regularly and use professional reports to monitor what is going on (Click if you would like to learn more about these reports or give me a call on 01608 686917).
You Won't Know if You Don't Check It
Keep on checking, especially if you work in an aggressively competitive sector. If you think your competitors might steal your leads via your Google listing then check at least once a week. The risks associated with not doing it are simply too high to countenance.
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