Think your yellow pages listing matters? Then get ready to worry about a whole new category of business directories -- online maps. Theoretically, these flashy new interactive maps can bring you new business. But, they can be notoriously incomplete or just plain wrong.
That doesn't mean you have to live with bad data. It's important to be proactive. Chances are, most people under, say, 30, will look here before cracking open a phone book, if they even have one around. If they're under 20, if it's not on their cellular phone, it's not real. Maps and listing make the difference.
Get to the know biggest services and how they workIf you are new to online maps, it would be a good thing to just go to a few and try to find your business. Who knows? Maybe it's listed just fine.
Tell the map services where you areSome of the big ones allow small businesses to identify themselves directly with the business database.
Be found through your own Web siteOnline maps are making it easier to tell customers where you are, with sometimes only minimal or no programming skills necessary.
Get mapped through an online yellow pages listingAlthough the phone directories let the online mappers beat them to the market, they're catching up now and offer maps to your business as a feature of online yellow pages.
Increasingly, the data is on the moveThe eventual goal of most mapping services online is to be the killer app when it comes to smartphones, those big-screen, broadband versions of cell phones. They've come down in price drastically, so being online will matter a lot more, sooner.
- Don't assume that because you' ve been on the same corner for decades that online maps will find you. Big national chains seem easy to find, single location businesses less so.
- If you want keep people on your site, make sure online map link opens in a new screen. Any basic HTML geek can show you how. Or, print out clear address and map location once in color, save it as a PDF file, and just post that on your site.