2 Types of Local Search: When Customers Come to You vs. You Going to Customers
Local Brick and Mortar Retail Locations
Everyday consumers fire up their mobile or desktop browsers and search for local businesses, restaurants, hours if operation, nearby stores with products in stock, entertainment.
The findings of this Google, Ipsos MediaCT and Purchased® study of local consumer search behavior indicate that consumers who conduct local searches show an intent to take action and purchase.
- 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on computer/tablet did the same.
- Local searches lead to more purchases than non-local searches. 18% of local searches on smartphone lead to a purchase within a day vs. 7% of non-local searches. Consumers prefer and act on location-based ads
- 4 in 5 consumers’ want ads customized to their city, zip code or immediate surroundings.
- More than 60% of consumers have used location information in ads. They say it’s important to have store address and phone number in ads on computer/tablet, and directions and the call button in ads on smartphone.
5 tips for Small Business with a physical location
- Make sure your address is on all of the pages, Hours of operation should be clear and updated
- Pay attention to reviews and customer check-ins to your business
- Ask the company building your website to make sure they are using markup code from schema.org so search engines understand your NAP ( Name, address and phone number)
- If you have a product feed you may want to show availability of the products in your store
- Since mobile searchers are higher in the path to purchase your website should be mobile friendly
Service Area Businesses
There are several small businesses like HVAC companies, plumbers, roofers, landscaping companies etc. who serve their customers without having a brick and mortar location. They are often mobile and may operate from a home address. In Google’s MyBusiness Dashboard, you can set service areas based on the zip codes or cities you serve, or on a given area around your location in most online listings but it is time consuming but well worth the effort.
5 tips for service area businesses without a physical location
- Check if your business is on Google and other search engines
- Get your business listed/added to all local directories in the areas that you serve. There are several tools and agencies that can do this for you (I work for Surefire Social and we do free evaluations) You can also do it yourself at Google My Business or Yext to check
- Use Google’s structured data to add the areas you serve to your website and this gives you a better chance to appear for searches in that area. This requires slightly advanced knowledge of web development and data structures and best done by hiring a professional or an agency
- Add customer reviews to your site, you can do this by just asking your customers to send you a text or an email if they like your work, You can take pictures of completed work and post it on your website and use the location tagging feature on your phone to tag the photo to the location. Surefire Social has an app called Geojuice that makes it easy to do this.
- Social Media – Setting up listings of your business in specially location based social networks like Yelp, Facebook places, Location pins on Pinterest, encouraging your clients to spread the “word of mouse” by sharing pictures of your business. See the example I found on Twitter today of a service business sharing their story through photographs
What are your challenges in local marketing? Do you have any success stories to share?