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At least 97% of consumers look for local businesses on the internet. In fact, it has gone up from 95% in 2016. Each day, 12% of consumers are searching for a local business. At least once a month, 54% of consumers are looking for a local business online.
When choosing a local business, people usually check consumer reviews. While more and more consumers are using the internet to help them in making everyday decisions. For instance, a tourist who is visiting a new city is looking for a new restaurant to visit. Or perhaps you need a plumber right away so that your leak can be fixed. Reviews can be very valuable, that is why it has become the way of life for most people.
Almost every consumer or at least 97% of consumers are using the internet in searching for a local business in the last 12 months. It increased a bit from 2016 when 5% have decided otherwise. 12% of consumers are searching every day, which shows an improvement from 11% last year. 54% of consumers are now searching for at least once each month, again it has increased from 52% in 2016, and the year before it was only 43%.
These incremental increases only imply that consumers are searching for local businesses more than ever. Nowadays, almost every consumer is conducting local searches regularly. This is because they are expecting that businesses can be seen online. Due to numerous competitors, some businesses find it hard to stand out. Hence, a positive online reputation is very valuable to help customers make a choice.
Nearly All Or 97% of Consumers Are Now Using Online Media When Shopping Locally
97% is a huge number! So huge that if you are a local business owner and you don’t have a Social Media presence or an online presence then it could destroy you.
Base on the new study, local consumers are now accessing a great number of online media sources before making a purchase. Nearly all consumers or 97% of consumers are now relying on online media when it comes to finding products or services in their local area. Among the consumers that were surveyed, 24% are using vertical sites, 42% are using comparison shopping sites, while 48% are using Internet Yellow Pages and 90% are using search engines.
According to the director of the research, Steve Marshall, the internet has become an important part of consumers, most especially, in their local commercial activities. Based on the study, consumers are accessing 7.9 different media sources when deciding for products or services locally. This gain an increase from 5.8 media sources in 2008 and 6.5 media sources in 2009. This reveals a remarkable development in audience fragmentation.
Other relevant findings in the study include:
- 19% of the respondents are making an appointment online during the past six months. This includes a variety of services such as auto service, business appointment, restaurant reservation, health-care appointment and even personal services such as beauty shop.
- 58% of these respondents also reveal that they were using online coupons when purchasing products or services locally during the past year.
The rise in audience fragmentation offers challenges for advertisers, most especially if they want to connect with local consumers, according to Peter Krasilovsky of Marketplaces. He further stated that these challenges may be surpassed by the targeting opportunities accessible with different tools such as appointment scheduling and coupon promotions. Appointment scheduling can be considered as one of the leading sources available since you have always known where these people are heading to.
But let’s not forget other pertinent sites such as Twitter and Facebook where most people are discussing you and your products or services, whether or not you choose to join in their discussions. Aside from this, there are also peer review sites such as Foursquare, Yelp, Angie’s List, and other websites that will make it easier for consumers to share relevant information. These are actual information about company values, customer service, product quality, and others. In fact, these sites even include reviews of the review sites such as “Why Angie’s List Sucks!”
Do You Have Any Social Media Plan?
Of course, we are not saying that you should not advertise on traditional media. Newspapers, television, and local radio might be hurting, however, they are not actually dead. They can still help your business move forward.
What we’re saying is that if you don’t have any Social Media plan and you still continue to have none, then be ready to have your lunch eaten by your competitors.
Be ready to listen to conversations and monitor the Social Media space frequently. As much as possible, you should find time to engage with those who are singing your praises online as well as those who are talking trash about you and your products or services.
You need to redesign your website so it won’t look like a static brochure. Keep in mind that your website is not all about you. But rather it is about the needs of your customers and how you can help them obtain their desired outcomes. Try to concentrate on creating great content that can answer your customer’s queries when they search online.
97% might be a big number, however, if you are still not interested in Social Media even after reading this post, then don’t worry, you can still access to the remaining 3%.
How It Was Before For Local Business Owners
Do you remember the Yellow Pages? This thick yellow book is what people used when they wanted to search for a local business in their area. Yellow Pages is the best place to go for local businesses who wanted to advertise their business in their local community.
How about local newspapers and direct mails? Well, these are still used, however, it will greatly depend on the type of business if it makes sense to advertise in these mediums. Everything was fine, but then Google and Apple appeared, and suddenly the old methods of doing business were changed almost overnight.
How It Is Today For Local Businesses
Smartphones, the internet, Google, and Apple have greatly made a huge change in how local businesses do business. The traditional ways of promoting and advertising your business are no longer enough. It is very important that you are aware of the creative and strategic ways of advertising. Also, make sure that they are related to how your local customers behave.
It is extremely important for small and medium-sized local businesses to learn how they can leverage the amazing power of the internet. In this way, they can penetrate into the marketplace of their local customers.
People Are Searching For Your Local Business Each Day
Do you know that 97% of consumers are searching for local businesses online? This figure is mind-blowing! Every local business owner must be aware that this is one of the most important factors to consider if they want to grow their business within the local market.
Today, instead of Yellow Pages, people are now using Google. If your local business is not using a reliable online marketing approach that can put your business on the first page of Google’s search results, then you are just giving your competitors the chance to take your business away from you.
Are Potential Customers Finding Your Business Or Your Competitors Online?
Due to the high competition in the local marketplace and the huge rate of local search results, it is only essential that you must be always on top of your rivals. No matter what type of business you have, having a solid web presence over your competitors can greatly make a difference. This will determine whether it’s you or them who will be going out of business.
When generating a long-term online strategy, one of your first priorities should be to put up a consistent and reliable online marketing strategy that can place your website on the first page of Google, most especially in the top 3 spots.
Another important element of any online strategy is to develop a website that looks so sleek. This can help in enticing potential customers to contact your business.
Is it the look of your website that causes the breakdown of your business?
Being discovered in Google is just one element of a solid online marketing strategy. Make sure that your website has an amazing look and feel.
Once your potential customers discover your website, do you think that they will have a good experience that will inspire them to contact your local business to get more details? When creating and designing your website, make sure that this is your primary focus. Among all components, this is one of the most important things that you should consider.
How does your website look on a mobile device?
Do you know that 90% of local searches are done on a mobile phone? This is because 95% of mobile users are using their devices in performing local searches. Additionally, 91% of all adults possess a smartphone. Ultimately, 90% of mobile phone searches have definitely resulted in either a visit or a purchase.
As a local business owner, you have to understand how important it is for your prospective customers to view your business clearly on a mobile device. Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly.
Know Where You Stand
Most of you may not be surprised to know that 97% of all consumers search for local businesses online before deciding to buy goods or services. The fact is, regardless, what you are selling, smart-shoppers are always checking you out. They will rank you, rate you and even talk to their friends about you. That is why web presence is very important now more than ever. Hence, it only makes sense that you should be aware of the things that are being said about you. At the same time, you should be proactive in enhancing your brand.
As a marketer, you can use this trend to your advantage by improving your web presence and being conscious of the things that are being said about you. Always keep in mind that knowledge is power! Your customers can drive your business to the next level if you can make use of their networking and use this force in reaching more people.
When these customers will search for you online, they will be looking for some information, so make sure that you can provide it to them. Obviously, they don’t want to struggle their way in a maze or go on a scavenger hunt. Hence, you have to ensure that your website is clear, easy to navigate, and appealing. Your customers might be looking for some information from you such as the products you have currently in stock, the services that you can provide as well as how you can satisfy their needs. If they are unable to find that information quickly, then most likely they will leave your site and move on. Remember that your website is just a part of the enormous ocean of online content, so you have to make it the best!
As you improve your online presence, you have to recognise the feedback that you receive on other sites such as Facebook, Yelp, Google reviews, etc. You should be ready to act on them. Enjoy those great reviews. As much as possible try to reach as many customers as you want.
What Can You Do With Bad Reviews?
Bad reviews can always happen to everyone. It seems that bad reviews are unavoidable, just like taxes. But what can you do when you encounter them?
- First of all, it’s a good thing that you have recognised a questionable review! It only means that you are aware of these things.
- Provide your customers with an option. Most of the time, these people will try to prevent the “public outcry” if you have provided them with a more private way to contact you like an email address or any other way of getting in touch with you in case they have some concerns.
- Try your best to provide a respectful, thoughtful response. Online forums are not only a place for customer complaints. If you want to provide a nice customer-oriented response that can put your business in a better standing, then go for it!
- Request for positive reviews. As we mentioned earlier, review forums are not only meant for negative comments. In fact, if you have accomplished an excellent job for someone, then perhaps you can feel confident in asking them for an online review.
Awareness is the key. You should not bury your head in the sand just because of what people are saying about your business in online forums. With 97% of consumers doing their research online before making a purchase, it’s only wise to concentrate your energy on your online presence.
With the growing online awareness of today’s consumers, shoppers are using various sources when searching for local buying opportunities. So, not only 97% of consumers are doing online research before making a purchase, yet they are also using different sources while doing it.
Today is the time to be cognizant, give relevance to your online presence, and most of all, be prepared in engaging with your customers. If you fail to actively engage with your consumers online, then you might lose your business. Now is the time to focus on your online presence and focus on social media!