It’s about making sense of scary jargon and buzz terms you hear and understanding crucial marketing trends and statistics.
It’s also about adapting to changing customers lifestyle and helping them choose to walk into your local shop.
Anticipating local clients when you are ready is a nice state to be in. And you get ready with something called “Google My Business.”
Google Going Local and Mobile
Here are some interesting results I get from entering “local search” into the Google search bar. It tells me:
1. One in three searches have local intent
2. 63 percent use multiple devices to find a local business; 79 percent of these are mobile users
3. 78 percent Of Local-Mobile Searches Result In Offline Purchases
That tells me that many people search for results within a geographical location.
Many people are using mobile devices when doing these searches. That could be because they are on the go. In which case, they would probably be in a rush while searching.
That normally also translates into users having short attention span and expecting instant, clear results as they need the information “right now”.
What does this mean for local and small businesses?
To adapt to customers’ changing lifestyle:
1. You need a local online presence even if you are an offline, local small business because there’s where people are looking for you.
2. You need a website that would load in less than 3 seconds (people are impatient and data plans are expensive) and show important information clearly on the first page.
This is generally referred to as a “mobile friendly” website or a “responsive” site. It has links that can be tapped easily with your thumb or fingers. Preferably you don’t have to squint to see the information on your site and actions can be performed by tapping instead of typing.
And if you’ll also want to have a “Google My Business” Page (more details below).
3. Not showing up on local searches will hurt your business badly.
Business Owners: Two Questions To Ask
- Is your local business showing up on Google or Google Plus searches, or on the Google map?
- What are you doing to get ready for this trend?
Here’s what happens when I do a search on restaurant in Eagle Town Colorado and this is what comes up.
Show Up to People Who Don’t Know About Your Business Yet
Note: I was not searching for any particular brand but I did want to look for a nearby restaurant.
I was searching for a category of services in a local area. And this is what comes up after the paid search results.
I was then introduced to some new restaurants. These “search results” are laid out above the normal search results and they provide a lot of visual information about each businesses. They draw your attention. You see:
- Business Website Link
- Business name, address and phone number
- Reviews and rating, plus something called a Google+ page (more on this later)
- And if you hover over the entry, you see more drilled down information about the business: it’s location, a photograph of the business which shows the genre and ambiance, as well as details reviews
Google My Business
This Google My Business Page is free to set up and something that local businesses should use so they can tap into visitors who are on the go and probably using mobile devices.
An Additional Online Identity
This additional online identity is a plus. You’ll show up just in time, with the relevant and important information to people looking for the service you provide.
You’ll facilitate their decision-making process and make it easy for them to walk into your shop – if you have provided enough relevant information. That increases the chance of driving foot traffic to your shop.
This way, you are showing to customers who are not even consciously looking for you. It helps create brand awareness, provides contextual search results, and may bring in additional traffic.
Local Events and Happenings
Local businesses can also capitalize on local events as many more visitors will come visit the local town. If your local county or town is hosting an international art exhibition, a trade fair or an important sports games like the World Ski Championship happening at Vail/Beaker Creek 2015 (as is the case shows in the video), you’ll want to get your business page ready.
Businesses in the video see the importance of showing up on the Google Map. They anticipated new visitors and their changing lifestyle and got ready for new customers.
But it is takes more than just claiming a Google My Business page to show up on searches, of course.
Here’s Actionable Steps for Small Local Businesses
- Localize your business – Claim or set it up
- Optimize it – Add in relevant and important information or it won’t be helpful
- Socialize it – Use it to connect with prospects and customers
You’ll need to respond to reviews, connect with your customers and share what’s happening at your store.
You don’t want to see business passes you by because visitors were not able to find you on search results, do you?
Set aside time to get your Google Page up or have someone help you do this. Don’t get left behind. Your visitors and customers are embracing new buying habits and lifestyles, you need to adapt so they’ll conveniently find you and not other providers.
If you need any help, just get in touch. We are here to help you facilitate your clients’t buying journey.