Popularized in recent years by search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, this is an idea many small businesses are now cottoning onto and reaping enormous benefits in return.
As a business owner, this idea is well worth your time.
What is Local Search for Offline Businesses? Local search essentially refers to the idea of consumers using search engines to find offline businesses in a certain geographical region.
While service businesses usually require a customer to actually walk into the brick and mortar location of the business for a transaction to take place, there must be some way to inform potential customers of your presence in the market.
Local search is the answer to this problem, and a much better one than conventional answers such as the Yellow Pages.
Recent Trends in Local Search: TMP Directional Marketing recently commissioned a study in which a 3000 member panel of US consumers was studied.
One of the questions asked was what course of action consumers most frequently take after coming across a business as a result of three kinds of online search: a general search, a local search, and searching the Internet Yellow Pages.
It can be seen that local search has indeed prompted response from consumers, and actually resulted in more in-store visits than IYP searches, and according to other surveys, resulted in much more traffic for the business compared to even the most popular print directories.
The findings from a survey cited on sbimonline.
com report that 54 percent of Americans have replaced phone book searches for businesses with internet and local searches.
90 percent of online commercial searches cause an offline sale, and 61 percent of all local searches cause a transaction.
How to Use These Trends to Your Advantage? These findings are of obvious significance for business owners.
They just go to show that it is immensely important that you create a page or site on the internet that your target customers can link to and use to learn what they need to know about you.
Here are the basic steps you need to take to fall in with these trends, to ensure that your competitors don't get the better of you: · Create a website.
Put in relevant information about what you are offering, which market segment you are targeting, and make sure that any visitors to the website know exactly why they should choose you over your customers.
Put in your location on every page of the site, so that the moment a visitor makes up their mind to contact you, the information is right there without needing any searching.
· Obtain Search Engine Listings.
Get registered with search engines, especially major ones such as Google and Yahoo.
Some search engines allow you to create free accounts; these could be a good place to start, if you are unsure of how wise it is invest in going online.
· Work to get referred to by other sites.
Having lots of places linking to you can not only improve your search engine rankings, but it can also increase the amount of traffic your website sees.
· Implement SEO techniques.
Put in some effort researching and implementing these.
These are mainly what get your website to show up among the top few results when someone searches for businesses like yours.
· Register with services like Google Local.
Put up your business details in services like these.
This can make sure you are seen by potential customers even if you don't have a website or if your website is not getting pulled up in the top few results.