The Local Search Association offers a wealth of resources for retailers, small business owners and local business operators. Their mandate is to help bring clarity to the value and importance of local online marketing optimization. While reviewing the Infographics section of their website, we found some data points that stand out.
Let’s review them.
Local Search Association Statistics
Most Helpful Sources For Finding Local Business Info
Digital channels are the most helpful for finding local business information, lead by search engines. Search engines are even more important than the company website, which highlights the critical importance of optimizing your Google My Business account (GMB). A big part of GMB optimization includes ensuring that ratings and reviews are added to the listing and responded to by business owners.
Doing so helps Google decide how often to present your listing and, more importantly, they help consumers decide whether to visit your location or not.
Local Marketing Reaches Undecideds
4 in 5 consumers using search engines to find local information. 63% of local search queries made by people who are undecided on a provider or retailer. So you can begin to see why it’s so important to be optimized. Try these other statistics on for size too: Local Searches lead 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores within one day, and address and location are the primary pieces of information sought by local searchers.
Put all these numbers together and it’s clear why Google My Business, Bing Local and other services such as Yelp and Foursquare are so important for your local marketing. Mapping technologies such as Apple Maps, TomTom and others also help you get found easily, while serving to provide additional SEO benefits to GMB.
Ask For A Local Review
The above statistic is fantastic and what you should take away from it is simple. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Reviews actively play an essential role in consumer behaviour and are used as the tiebreaker for where to shop and what to buy.
BirdEye is an online reputation tool that helps small business owners generate positive online reviews. They cites that 92% of customers read online reviews, and 68% trust a local business more if it has positive reviews. So if 68% percent of the people you ask for reviews will give you one, and you ask people who think positively of you, you’re more likely to convert someone who searches for local solutions like you offer to a sale.
We’ve often cited this one last statistic, also from the Local Search Association, in our marketing materials.
According to a study conducted by the Local Search Association, about $10.3 billion worth of potential annual sales are lost because of wrong, missing, or incomplete local business information.
Think of the power of that statement. And then think of the power of being optimized to intercept searches from your business listing. The business potential is unlimited.
Full disclosure: 10|20 Marketing is a BirdEye believer. We resell their platform to our clients and have seen them enjoy tremendous success generating new reviews on their directory listings when they use this platform.
The new Apple Watch Series 4 was released last week, and now that we’ve been able to play around with it, we see some incredible potential for it within the location marketing world. As a result, small business owners should be aware of some of the more obvious reasons to keep tabs on the Apple Watch – and some that are more obscure.
3 Obvious Location Marketing Apple Watch Uses
Let’s start with the obvious reasons and why they’re essential to the small business owner. First, it’s important to note that the Apple Watch, since the Series 3 iteration released last year, is available in an LTE version. LTE functionality allows users to stay connected via data and phone services to people and their apps. As a result, iPhone apps are now available on your wrist, for the most part, even when you leave home without a phone.
Online Directories and Reviews
Apps such as Maps, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Booking Now and other vital directories become even more crucial. At the turn of their wrist, your customers can now find you, read reviews about your location and decide whether or not your business is worthy of theirs. As a result, having a strong directory presence and review building strategy becomes even more critical to small business owners.
Another way that Apple Watch can impact small businesses is through payments. Apple’s Wallet app is available on the watch, making it easy for customers to pay you. All it takes is a tap of the watch your terminal and, just like that, you’ve received your payment. This makes having a console that is optimized for tap and Apple Pay even more important than ever. For some consumers, knowing that you keep up with technology is a key reason for them to visit your business location. As of February of this year, it was reported that over 127 million people worldwide are using Apple Pay. And that number is only going up.
2 More Obscure Location Marketing Apple Watch Uses
Geofencing + Business Alerts
Geofencing is the use of GPS or RFID technology to create a virtual geographic boundary, enabling software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area. As a result, you can push an alert or coupon to Apple Watch users who are close to your business. With the haptic feedback from the watch “tapping” the wearer on the wrist, people will be aware of your alert sooner because they will feel it – and not discover it waiting on their phone when it’s too late because it was sitting in a purse.
Running Your Small Business
Time to look at the other side of the coin as well. While the Apple Watch can help you attract people to your business, it can also help you become a more efficient business owner. There are several apps designed to help you run your business and keep you on task. From CRM apps to ones for accounting and invoicing, or note-taking applications to reminders and to-dos, the Apple Watch can help you focus on what you do best and service the people who do come through your doors – all thanks to the navigation apps on their wrist.
As a small business owner, what’s important is being aware of the potential of this watch. It’s not that you’re expected to do all these things, but trying even one of the tactics may be the one thing to get on the radar of your potential customers. And that might very well be enough to turn someone’s indifference for your business into a real difference for your business.
We’ve recently learned an important lesson about claiming your business location online, thanks to the collaboration of one of our clients. As a result, we’d like to ask you this important question: Have you searched for your business’ address recently? Here’s why we’re asking.
After working with the business owner to claim his store’s location on Google My Business and Google Maps—along with other directories including Bing, Facebook, FourSquare, Yelp and Apple Maps—the client’s location was properly placed and pinned across these networks. Leading with his store’s name, we claimed, placed and pinned his store on all of these online networks.
Almost immediately, we noticed that his listing was performing well. In fact, amazingly well. His Google My Business metrics exploded from the minute we took control of his listings. His views have increased and held steady every month, to the tune of 190% growth from the first month to the most recent. His total actions, which add together clicks of their phone number, directions and website buttons from their Google Listing, have increased by 202%.
Like any good business, though, his marketing presence didn’t end there. Because of the nature of his business—he’s a retailer with time sensitive promotions and always-changing inventory—he also advertised in local newspapers. And at the bottom of every ad, he wisely put the address of his store.
That’s when he started to get phone calls. The problem? When potential shoppers would search for the address of his location, the pin for that search was misplaced on Google Maps and was leading his customers to another store. In other words, if you searched for the name of his store, you’d be brought to the right location. But if you searched for the address of his location, you’d be lead elsewhere. And he had concrete evidence that his customers were being misled, leading to lost visits and sales.
“My customers would search for our location on Google Maps and were brought to another area on the opposite side of our premises,” said our client, who asked for his name not to be published. “This was frustrating and confusing for all concerned. I had numerous clients tell me that they circled around until they figured out on their own how to get to us, or called us.”
When he brought this to our attention, we immediately jumped into action, contacting Google directly and requesting that they match the pin placement for the search of his address to the one we claimed for the name of their business. It took some time—exactly a month—to go from request to successful pin move. The request was actually escalated from the Google My Business (GMB) team to the Google Maps team to reflect the importance of the problem.
So, now, when our client buys advertising in print publications, he can do so with confidence, knowing that those who want to come to his store to shop will find it.
Within a month or two, we should see the impact on the GMB metrics for this listing, likely resulting in more views, as well as more calls, website visits and in-store traffic. We’ll check back in on this story and let you all know.
In the meanwhile, we suggest you conduct a search of your address and see if it matches up with your listing. If not, we’d be happy to help you set things straight—and help shoppers head straight to your front door.
Wow! This is a great article by Caroline Barghout of the CBC and a cautionary tale for business owners who doubt the power of online reviews. After being denied service at a local establishment, the Hells Angels launched a coordinated campaign to hurt the business online by giving them low ratings. Overnight, the business’s average rating dropped a full point. And then they did it to other businesses as well.
Online reviews are an important way for business owners to drive customers to their business. The review plays two key roles:
1) It helps those who are searching for your location to create an opinion of your business. People trust the opinions of people who are similar to themselves more than they do brands or business owners. So generating positive reviews is vital.
2) Reviews help with the SEO of your business listing. The more you get, the more likely your directory listing will be presented when people are looking online for what you sell. The more positive, the better.
For local business owners, creating an online review strategy is a great advantage. Monitor and respond to them, but also create an environment where you let your customers know that you’d like a review. This could be an in-store strategy, email campaign or by simply asking your clients for one after house calls. Either way, the results could be truly impactful.
It’s not that you risk having the Hells Angels conspire against your business. But keeping things positive and encouraging good reviews from your best customers can go a long way towards getting your business found and then driving phone calls, visits to your website and traffic to your store.
To learn more about reviews, read our post titled, “Four Fantastic Reasons Why Small Business Owners Should Have An Online Customer Review Monitoring Strategy.”
Halloween is about to come and go and, with it, Christmas lights and displays will arrive. With the big shopping season just around the corner, it’s vital to think about your local marketing efforts to get your retail location ready to generate traffic.
This means ensuring that your online local business listing is updated and accurate.
Retailers are always thinking about how to increase foot traffic to their store. And with 72% of all in-store purchases made following online research, it’s vital that your business details are correct. Even more so during the holidays. As hours and other details change, you must make sure you’re optimized online.
What should be the first thing on your holiday list then? Ensuring that your holiday hours are accurately represented. This means everywhere. On your website, social networks, and local listings on search engines, maps and review sites. Consistency matters!
Inconsistencies across networks can easily lead to consumer confusion and a loss of foot traffic. During a recent bank holiday, it was found that 85% of brands never updated their opening hours online. This included not only major retailers, but also local shops and businesses that need every advantage to attract people to their door.
Back home in Canada, this can account for a significant loss in revenue. According to the CPA Canada 2016 Holiday Spending Monitor, last updated in January, 37% of Canadians planned to spend over $800 during the last holiday season. It’s easy to see just how easy it would be to lose out on your fair share of the pie if shoppers were frustrated with the accuracy of your business listings.
Something else to think about is that the shopping season starts earlier than it has traditionally. Last year, retail sales in Canada decreased 0.5% in December over November – a decline that followed four consecutive monthly increases in Canadian retail sales. Sales made during Black Friday and Cyber Monday are pulling more money into November – which gives you all the more reason to ensure that you’re all set up and ready to go with your listings before then.
So, with all this in mind, we ask you this: It’s October 19th, are your listings ready?