Like most marketers, we’ve been guilty of this critical marketing error: focusing on the big, obvious strategies. But while content, email, and social media marketing are crucial for success, there are more basic tactics that can be just as (if not more) effective, simpler to launch, and less expensive. One of these tactics is local business listings.

It’s likely been awhile since you looked anything up in the Yellow Pages or any kind of directory, so why would you spend time getting your business listed in the online versions of this directory?

The simplest and shortest answer is: to be more visible online.

But you’re not here for the short answer. Here’s why local business listings matter for your digital marketing.

1. Local Listings Are Another Place People Can Find You

When you’re competing with thousands of other advisors who provide the same services to the same clientele, numbers matter; specifically, how many places people can find you on the Internet. Each business listing is a new website where your practice can be found and your website linked to. When someone searches for “financial advisor in San Diego” or “retirement planning in San Diego,” you want your business and website to show in the search results.

You’re more likely to appear higher in search results if your business is mentioned (or listed) on multiple other websites. The easiest way to accomplish this is through local business listings because your website and information will appear on dozens of different websites.

2. Local Listings Make Your Online Presence More Competitive

Local and small businesses have a lot of competition between each other and with bigger firms, such as the Charles Schwabs of the world. By claiming your business in an online listing, you have more control over what information is listed. And with more consistent, complete, and correct information (such as address, hours of operation, contact information, etc.), the more visible and competitive your business will be in search results. Keep in mind that 70% of Internet searches are for local business services and 59% of consumers use Google each month to locate a local business, so it’s essential that you have the correct information listed.

3. Local Listings Improve Your SEO

While SEO focuses on quality content, a big portion if it is still a numbers game. The more websites you’re listed on, the more reputable and trustworthy you are, and the more likely Google is to show your business as a search result. There are hundreds of directories online, so if you were listed on 50 or more of those, you’d have more than 50 links to your website and references to your business’ name.

4. Local Listings Help You Compete Against the National Firms

As mentioned earlier, small businesses face a lot of competition, and financial advisors are trying to stand out from other local practices as well as the major wirehouses. Local listings make it possible for you to level the playing field. Many big businesses don’t allocate time or resources for smaller marketing tactics or “wins” such as local listings, especially on small business directories. But if you take the time to get your business listed, the easier it is to compete with bigger firms.

5. Local Listings Protect Your Reputation

Claiming your business on business directories helps you ensure that someone else can’t, either by accident or on purpose. Your reputation ties into your brand. If you don’t have accurate information consistently listed across the Internet, your brand is negatively impacted. Managing your online business listings is a lot like cleaning your office’s windows or keeping your business’ sign  hanging evenly from the roof. Local listings are the finishing touch that make your business shine.

Managing Your Business Listings

The first place to start is Google. Run a search for local business listings or local business directories. Visit each site and look for a link that allows you to submit your listing or claim your business. Warning: this takes a lot of time. You’ll then need to maintain those listings and update them over time. The easier route is to use a service, like FMG Local Search, which allows you to create, update, and maintain your business listing across 60+ directories all from one dashboard.

However you choose to manage your business listings, treat it like you would any other marketing strategy. Dedicate time to ensure you have accurate listings and update as needed. The more information listed, the more likely a prospect is to find and contact you.