Interesting Research conducted by Yell has highlighted invisibility issues online for small businesses.

Yell, one of the biggest providers of digital marketing in the UK, has discovered an overwhelming majority of builders (87%) it researched have wrong or inconsistent information online, including basic details such as a phone number or email.

Feedback shows 89% of customers say they will try another company if the details listed online for a particular business are incorrect, suggesting many small businesses, including builders, are missing out on a lot of potential custom.

Yell conducted research into how the 50,630 builders in its UK database appear online, also asking customers nationwide about their online habits and expectations. The results paint a gloomy picture pointing to some basic errors in small businesses’ approach to reaching potential online customers.

Key facts:

51% of customers said when they were looking for a new service, the most important source of information was a website

Having inconsistent or non-existent information online means small businesses are missing out on potential custom with 54% of people relying on positive online reviews when deciding on a new local business or service

      • There are 93 builders names in the UK beginning with the name “Alan”
      • There are 145 builders names in the UK beginning with the name “Andrew”
      • There are 104 builders names in the UK beginning with “Complete”
      • There are 381 builders names in the UK beginning with the name “Dave” or “David”

If a company’s information online is wrong, it’s arguably worse than not being online at all. – Mark Clisby, Yell’s Marketing Director.

“Not only is the company effectively invisible to customers, it can also seem careless or even untrustworthy. This often happens because companies don’t always know all the listings sites where they appear, or when they move they forget to update their information. It’s easily done, but can be incredibly damaging for business.”

“A lot of small businesses tell me they get all their business from word of mouth and don’t need to be online. However, they’re ignoring the fact that word of mouth has moved online, with more than half of all customers choosing a local business based on online reviews. That’s a lot of work to be missing out on,” concluded Mark Clisby.

To support small businesses, Yell has launched Connect, a service recognising the importance of connections, word of mouth recommendations and referrals. It helps business owners make their details visible online and get in front of the people looking for local products and services.

Connect uses smart technology to automatically list and update business details everywhere they need to be online, accurately and consistently. Details include company name, address, telephone number, logo, opening hours and payment methods on sites such Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and 100s’ of other high profile sites. As part of the service, Connect also helps set up social profiles on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Foursquare. A centralised dashboard enables customers to view analytics, monitor and respond to online reviews, and post both real-time and scheduled updates on their social networks, as well as update their business details online at the click of a button.

Yell is offering small businesses in the UK the chance to try out Connect by completing a free scan of their business online. By entering the business name and address, Connect is able to identify how visible a business is online and, most importantly, report on how accurate the information is. On average, over 240 people a day are running the free Connect scan to check business details online.

Additional interesting insights revealed by Yell’s research into small businesses across the UK within its database showed that:

        • 5,612 small business names include the phrase “& Sons” or “& Son” but only 30 contain the phrase “& Daughters” or “& Daughter”
        • The most popular letter for small business names in the UK to start with is ‘A’, with 1 in 10 starting with ‘A’
        • The first five letters of the alphabet, A-E, account for 40% of the first letter of all small business names in the UK
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