Local Businesses Are Now Being Found on the Internet
From recent discussions with our clients, we are noticing a trend that local businesses are currently struggling with the added changes that the economy is throwing at them, print ad costs are rising. That and the changing style of how people buy and research products, services, and brands is causing a new set of challenges. If you are an owner of a local business, you are probably seeing a huge impact of how this is affecting your bottom line. Chances are your business is probably not indexed prominently on the internet, specifically within the first page or two of the search results. Direct Return on Investment could consist of direct sales, emails, phone calls or visits to your storefront. It seems odd to say, but the local brick and mortar business need a presence on the internet to appear “legitimate”. It’s hard to believe that only 10 years ago the idea of an “internet business” was almost laughable. A profitable internet business was about as likely as winning a lottery. Let me explain a little about what has happened since then to change the market so drastically.
1. Google – Searching got easier and more accurate. More information could be accessed more readily and faster with less effort. Between 60% and 80% of all searches begin and end here.
2. Computers – They got faster as they got cheaper. We came to depend on them as reliable tools for both business and pleasure.
3. High Speed Internet access – DSL, Cable Modems, etc. enabled us to skip the dial-up wait and download huge amounts of information almost instantly.
4. Fuel Costs and Time Constraints – Shopping used to be an opportunity to search for goods and services personally, but as we get busier, we need to know BEFORE we leave the house that we are going to find what we need.
5. Mobile Devices – We can now search from our “smart phones”, our Blackberrys, PDA’s, and our I-Phones. From the car, from the mall, on vacation – it never stops.
Today, buyers can locate a business, its phone number, hours of operation, a map, directions and a list of brand names and goods and services in the time it used to take to locate a phone book. Any business that depends on locals and visitors, needs to be found on the internet. Here are a few numbers from our friends at Comscore:
– 63% of households in 2007 used the internet to look for goods and services.
– 82% of those who did a local search went to see a business they found listed on their local search.
– 64% of those made a purchase from that local business.
– Only 31% of households used yellow pages to find a business.
And the number of printed directory users is shrinking. It’s just too convenient to find out what brand names, goods and services you offer, how close you are to where I am (or where I plan to be) and to get clear, accurate directions to your shop.
There are people right now who are searching for goods and services in your area. You need to make sure they can find you and not just your competitors.
The addition of “local business listings” into the main pages of Google, Yahoo and MSN has allowed local businesses to land at the forefront of internet searching at a very low cost of $1,295. Compare the cost of listings in multiple categories of one printed directory with the cost of being found on the internet using a service like “Localize It” (www.local-ranking.com). Compare it to the cost of building a website and paying for “sponsored” listings in Google or Yahoo. Both services require maintenance contracts of repeated fees to keep ahead of the competition. Stop the service and your listing is taken down. Localize It local directory listing service can get you an “enhanced” listing in over 100 search engines and online directories, including Google, Yahoo, AOL and MSN, for about or in some cases less than the cost of one Yellow Pages ad.
Not only is Localize It promoting local listing service in multiple search engines, but they are building visibility for their clients. How? They are taking valuable product, brand or service information from the client and indexing this information into highest search volume search engines. Here are a couple examples:
– If you sell cell phones in a mall retail storefront, you probably sell Verizon, sprint, Nextel, ALLTEL, air cards, cell phones, car chargers, and more.
– If you are an attorney and your law firm practices, medical claims, injury compensation, worker’s compensation, and more.
Both local businesses have multiple services, brands, and products that people are searching for, however, what if you are only being found for one or the other? If you are only being found on Google, Yellow Pages, AOl, MSN, etc… for one search term, then you are missing out on a high volume of opportunity for search phrases that discuss what you sell for the other terms that your competitors are getting exposed for. Localize It helps the local business develop the focus of the 20 keywords, obtain your information, and manually indexes you into the directories. After 4-10 weeks depending on the search engine your information will begin to show up. This type of service can be done without a website.