Local Search by Internet Search Engines is as Essential to Your Business Survival as your Telephone
by: Lynella Grant
Your Enterprise Wont Survive Unless People Find It
Whether youre a one-man shop or a mid-size operation, you need to make it easy for people find you. Most enterprises serve the people who live in the same town (80% of all dollars are spent in a buyers home community).
Being included in the Yellow Page directory tells the world youre open for businessa??listed alongside competitors offering similar products and services. After people check the directory, they came to your store, or "let their fingers do the walking."
Your Telephone Links You to Buyers Ready to Spend
Unlike other methods of promotion, the Yellow Pages connects a business with customers at precisely the moment when theyre ready to buy.
Traditional Buying Cycle
Stage 1 A person consults the directory when theyre considering a purchase. They narrow their choices (on whatever criteria they consider important). As it turns out, over 50% select on the basis of convenient location.
Stage 2 They call with questions. Whereupon the business owner persuades them to come into the shop or make an appointment - or not.
Stage 3 Their coming to your store provides a face-to-face opportunity to nail the sale.
The popularity and convenience of the Internet has thrown that sequence on its head.
The Shortest Distance from Your Customer to You is Over the Internet
Recent studies show that these days as high as 70% of potential buyers head to the Internet instead of the Yellow Page directory. They consider search engines the fastest way to get the information they need to make buying decisions. By the time they walk into your place of business, theyre already informed about the products they want.
Increasingly, buyers learn about available products and services in their hometown by conducting a Local Search. A Local Search occurs when a search engine query is coupled with a geographic term, like city, state, zip code (for example: plumber + Spokane). The search results only include enterprises within that area.
Even a very small business can show up at the top of the search results. But if theyre not included in the databases the search engines use, they wont show up at all. Learn whether your business is listed by checking it on these resources: http://www.localsearchresources.com/listed.html.
Being Found Demands You Show up where Customers are Looking
Small businesses will be compelled to make themselves findable online because of changed consumer behavior. And the Internet has altered other habits as well. The majority of young adults (a highly sought-after demographic) use the Internet every day. Its an integral part of where they get news or the facts they trust. For them going online is as convenient as picking up the phone.
Since 74% of households have Internet access, more and more of the buying public uses search engines as a preferred local shopping resource. By comparison, Yellow Page use declined from 75% to 62%.
The public is very attached to their cell phones (literally) and, they carry them everywhere they go. There are about 200 million wireless phones in the U.S - 200 million potential buyers walking around. Its now possible for anyone to conduct a Local Search from their cell phone. So theres no question that on-the-go consumers will rely on Local Search even more.
Re-examine your assumptions about your own customers. Times have changed. How do they find you? What information they want to know, and how hard is it for them to find it? And what do you intend to do about that?
Yesterdays answers about the best way to promote your business dont match the new reality. Most buyers are ahead of you when it comes to computer savvy and confidence in search engine results. Thats not a prediction, its an actuality. Take Local Search seriously because your survival is at stake.
Copyright 2005 Off the Page
About The Author
Dr. Lynella Grant - An expert in Yellow Page ads and Local Search. Learn to stand out online and offline, so you capture more Internet-savvy buyers for your brick and mortar business. Free resources http://www.localsearchresources.com 719-395-9450