This post was originally published here.
Below is a presentation I put together for my Internet Marketing Mastermind meetup. In it, I describe the 3 things a local business must do in order to be successful with their online marketing.
Those 3 things a local business must do:
It's really that easy. YOU, as the local business owner/operator do what you do (whether it's cleaning carpets, doing dentistry, or selling garden supplies) and leave the online marketing to professionals who know how to do it well without mucking anything up.
And there's lots to muck up. I've seen it all.
It boils down into putting together a solid strategy, with an actionable plan.
But before you do anything, you ought to know where you stand today.
And you start by getting your free local business marketing report card (link is in the presentation at the end, or here, if you're in a hurry).
The new Google search results page for desktop has caused a bit of a stir since it rolled out in February 2016. While once featuring three Google AdWords pay-per-click (PPC) ads at the top of the page and multiple ones down the right-hand side of the page, things have changed quite a bit.
They have wiped out the ads on the right-hand side and there are now four ad spots at the top at three ad spots at the bottom of the page. In fact, Google will only show three ads at the top unless it’s a highly-commercial inquiry, which in that case, it will show four.
So the total number of possible ads in any given search has been reduced from 11 to down to 7 at the most. Besides making the page appear a lot more basic, this has also left marketers wondering how it will affect them.
Not only does this shrink the potential advertising space, but it also pushes the organic results farther down the page. Therefore, search engine optimization (SEO) is more important than ever before. Companies that want their websites to show up on the first page of the results will have to work a lot harder to grab and secure one of the limited spots for long-term success.
Due to the fact that several Google AdWords ad spots have been dropped, the fight for the top four available spaces just became even more important.
In order to stay ahead of the competition, businesses are now going to have to pay a lot more attention to their paid ad campaigns to get the level of exposure they want. There is a lot less room for error than with the previous results page layout. So you’ll have to pull out all the stops and ensure your ads are set up correctly and targeting the right audience.
Along with that comes the potential for higher costs-per-click being that many businesses are competing for these prime pieces of real estate.
With more competition and fewer results showing on the page, you may have to be willing to pay a little more to be featured above your competitors.
It isn’t all bad news however, if you do manage to make it onto the shortlist, there’s more chance of consumers clicking on the ad. This is because they now blend in a lot better with organic search results. While they have the signature “Ad” sign next to them, at first glance they appear as organic results, rather than paid ones.
There’s no doubt that the new page layout is going to affect businesses whether they’re using Google AdWords or whether they’re trying to rank higher organically byway of SEO. However, it could be used as an opportunity to improve your overall digital marketing strategy to ensure your company receives ample exposure using various means.
Thinking of focusing more of your marketing efforts on local search but you’re not sure if it’s worthwhile? Consumers have been using the internet to search for information for well over a decade. Search engines have revolutionized the way we handle everyday life. During this journey, location-based searching has shown steady growth as well.
Location-based searching is the practice of searching for a product, service, or business based on location. Couple this with the fact that mobile usage has grown exponentially in recent years, you can only image how this has impacted the level of local searches performed by consumers.
Both local and mobile consumer buying habits have had significant impacts on the marketing world and are becoming more popular as time goes on. Here are some statistics you may not know and what they mean for your business:
Google actually carried out a survey into local search behavior and the results showed over 60% of consumers wanted ads to be customized based upon their location. Around 61% prefer ads that are customized to their exact location, while 67% want them to be customized to include at least their zip code and city.
So what does this mean? It means your business needs to ensure that the ads you place are extremely targeted by making uses of location extensions.
If you’re wondering just how important it is to list your phone number and address, this statistic clears it up. With this amount of smartphone users claiming to use the “call” and “get directions” feature on Google, your business is seriously missing out if your details aren’t included in your Google My Business profile. Double check to make sure your address and phone number are correct. Also, claim and optimize your listing for even better results.
Another very interesting fact is that 70% of searches on mobile devices are followed up with an action within one hour. Even more importantly, a significant 50% of consumers who carry out a local business search on their smartphone or tablet, visit the company’s store within one day.
So not only are potential customers carrying out more local searches, they’re also following up on their search. You know what this means… If your company wants to connect with SERIOUS potential buyers, your local listing has to be up to par and ready to give these consumers the information they need. In other words, make it easy for them to buy from you.
As you can see from the information above, local search has become extremely popular in recent years. It’s driving in a lot more local consumers, not only to company websites, but into physical company doors.
So if you’re looking to draw in new customers, increase website traffic, and boost profits, local search is definitely your first order of business.