Something odd is happening online, which greatly affects local business marketing online methods. Here are the facts …
Most people search online, even when they’re looking for a LOCAL business … especially with the ongoing tidal wave of smartphone use.
Smartphone Consumers Search a Lot
Statistics from the Google report “The Mobile Movement: Understanding Smartphone Users,” 2011:
- 95% of smartphone users have searched for local information
- 61% of users call a business after searching …
- … and 59% visit the location
- 90% of these people act within 24 hours
The Three Waves of Google
Google, and other search engines have generally gone through three modes of operation, all with the intent of delivering up to the searchers the information that’s most likely to satisfy –
- In the beginning, google simply used title, keywords and meta description .. but it was subject to abuse, and became completely unreliable as the sharpsters got wise and gamed the system
- Then google began to rely upon inbound links, thinking that if external sites thought the current site was important, then that was a ‘vote’ and this worked until sharpsters got smarter and smarter about how to game the system by manipulating external sites
- And in 2011, and in 2012, google is turning toward two other things as a way of gathering votes, on the expectation that these new ‘vote-gathering’ approaches will be harder to manipulate
The Increase of Mobile Phones
Right now, there are about 1.25 billion computers in the world … and 3 billion cellphones. And the trend within the cellphone users is to migrate overwhelmingly to smartphones. By 2013 there will be more people searching via smartphone than via normal desktops and laptops. (Sources: Gartner, 2010; Google Internal Data, 2011; Cisco, 2011)
Since Google’s prime directive is to make happy the searchers, Google is already rewarding folks who have a specialized mobile site, and penalizing those who don’t. People who buy Google’s ‘adwords’ advertising now pay less for their clicks if they have a mobile site, and pay more for their clicks when they don’t. And you can bet your bootie that search results are working the same way … ESPECIALLY google’s mobile search results, which is growing in importance every single day.
The Increase of Social Marketing
As described in my book (“Marketing Online, Clear and Simple,” available on Amazon), making money using the internet only happens when three essential steps are done.
If you are a local business marketing online, here are the essential steps: First is having a location online, a website. Second is some METHOD of engaging visitors in a conversation … otherwise, statistics tell us they visit once, and then never ever return again. And third is a METHOD of increasing traffic to the site.
Social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, Digg, and Redit all provide a METHOD of engaging visitors into a conversation, and they all provide a METHOD of increasing traffic to your site.
And social site usage is booming.
The Rise of Local-Business Online Methods
Most local business owners are too busy handling the alligators of daily operation to engage in the rather long and changing learning curve of effectively learning online methods that actually work. Some of them “get a website” but never do the other two essential steps, and then wonder why “the website” doesn’t make a dime.
However, this is going to shift a lot in 2012.
The increase in smartphone usage will provide more local-business searches. The increase in social marketing, including people who run local businesses, and the local “chatter” from their customers … will increase search methods leading to greater foot-traffic into local businesses.
Further, the hijacking of first page search results by online sharpsters will become more difficult, and less profitable. That business model usually amounts to the sharpster seizing google results with the intent of grabbing the results, and then sending the buyer to the seller’s website, while extracting some profit in doing so. That model will become more difficult.
However, the “local” searches for a local business marketing online, such as “divorce attorney in pittsburgh,” will still be effective, and the rise in smartphone searches will make this kind of search more effective. Google development of Google places and local search results will support the accuracy of this kind of search.
The Result: A Boom for Local Businesses
And this represents two opportunities …
- If you are a local business, it will be worth your while to (a) get an effective website, (b) create a conversation system, (c) engineer a traffic-building system.
- If you are an online consultant or web-builder or marketing expert, you will most help your clients with their local business marketing online if you can help them with the “Three Step Marketing” Formula (described in my book), and especially with traffic and promotions using a mobile site, a facebook business page, and the new QR-Codes to snag even more smartphone users.
Is this only for big businesses? Or folks with lots of money?
Not really. Sure, big businesses will have web-gurus, but that’s unchanged from the past, and LOCAL searches won’t be much impacted. Local businesses will either have more money and less time to spend, like attorneys and doctors and hardware stores, and they can hire out the work … or they’ll be smaller and have less money and more time for smoozing on Facebook, like a musician and a hair salon and a local coffee house.
Need Help with your Local Business?
Contact me for a free 15-minute Discovery Session.
Want to know how to create QR Code promotions?
Check out the cool graphics on our Facebook business page –
What is a QR Code?
The odd-looking graphic is called a QR code, or Quick-Response code. The graphic can store various kinds of information, contains some error-correction information, and is designed to scan easily and quickly, and can be oriented in any direction for that purpose. (A little different than the bar-codes on cans of peas at the grocery store!) This leads directly to making how to create qr code promotions very useful.
Because of the proliferation of cellphones and the wide availability of scanning ‘apps’ — I use ‘Scan Life’ on my android phone — the QR Code is becoming immensely popular, as a way of providing information very quickly. For example, scanning a QR code with your cellphone can quickly insert into the phone:
- A phone number, ready for dialing
- A website address, automatically loading
- Name, address, and phone, inserted into ‘contacts’
- A bookmark
- A wifi location
- A text message
- An email address, ready to send
- A location
- .. and more!
How to Create QR Code Promotions
The QR Code can store quite a bit of information, and is growing in popularity for promotional purposes. For example, you can now embed an entire email-capture system into (or behind) a single QR code, and because the QR code is a picture, you can use this system anywhere you can place a picture.
That means: on the web, on your business card, on your restaurant’s menu, in a newspaper advertisement, on a window sign, on your stationery, on postcards, in the yellow pages, on your Facebook business page … and the list goes on.
If you would like to employ the power of QR codes and create unique, popular promotions that people love to use … contact CopyDragon.
And to make it really easy, just scan the following graphic with your cell phone …