Local Search by Internet Search Engines is as Essential to Your Business Survival as Your Telephone
Your Enterprise Won't Survive Unless People Find It
Whether you're 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 buyer's home community).
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 they're ready to buy.
Traditional Buying Cycle
Stage 1 A person consults the directory when they're 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, they're already informed about the products they want.
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. It's 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. It's now possible for anyone to conduct a Local Search from their cell phone. So there's 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?
Yesterday's answers about the best way to promote your business don't match the new reality. Most buyers are ahead of you when it comes to computer savvy and confidence in search engine results. That's not a prediction, it's an actuality. Take Local Search seriously because your survival is at stake.
Copyright 2005 Off the Page