According to business data platform Statista.com a staggering 92% of millennial respondents indicated they had used their smartphone for local search inquiries as of July 2018. You can check out the report here: https://www.statista.com/statistics/296772/us-local-search-device-usage/
Local search is huge.
While this isn’t surprising, it should serve as a wake-up call for local businesses and organizations in all industries. Local search is where your customers, friends, employees, and job candidates find things. They are on their phones, tablets, and laptops searching for information about your businesses, products, services, and the experiences others have shared about them.
Refusing to participate in online marketing, local search, and social media is equivalent to refusing to put your business phone number in the yellow pages 30 years ago.
It’s about more than sales & marketing.
This isn’t just a concern for sales and marketing either. Those using their smartphones for local searches are likely also using them to search for employment, education, business and entertainment opportunities. They’re also searching for information about government and social services in the local area.
Convenience is king.
Convenience is king. Uber is convenient, Amazon is convenient, Doordash is convenient, Google is convenient, online banking is convenient, rest areas are (relatively…) convenient. But convenience isn’t always about technology, sometimes good service and an actual human being to talk to is convenient! Small businesses have conveniences that the big boxes don’t. If you don’t take the time to share the value of your happy customers great experiences and convenience of working with your local business then who will? It’s up to you to build the value of the conveniences your organization provides.
There are many ways to share and get found in local search.
Naturally a well thought out website with engaging content is a great way to get started. However, there are many free ways to make sure your business can be found in local search even without a website:
Getting found is only half the battle.
It’s not just about being found. Looking good when you’re found is also important. You should make it easy for those that have had great experiences to share them. Asking happy customers for reviews and pictures and even offering discounts to those who participate is a great way to engage your happy customers and reward them for sharing their experiences.
Not participating isn’t an option.
While some would prefer to stay away from platforms like Facebook for personal reasons avoiding social media and online search really isn’t a viable option for local businesses. Online services and social media platforms like Google and Facebook will create profiles of your business based on user searches and public data whether or not you choose to participate and if you don’t take charge of those online profiles and proactively engage your happy customers and share their experiences then you may find your online reputation overrun with negative reviews that scare away new customers who find them online.