The 5 Best Tools You Should Be Using to Market Your Local Business
Mobile devices and local searches go together like peanut butter and jelly.
If you’re a local business, guess what method people use to find you?
They’re looking for your business on their mobile devices. If you’re not aware of this or optimizing for it, you’re leaving money on the table.
Smartphones and tablets have made it easier than ever before for prospective customers to search for businesses in their areas and to find any pertinent information to influence their purchasing decisions.
In fact, “60 percent of American adults use smartphones and tablets to search for local product and service information.”
Furthermore, “50 percent of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34 percent who searched on a computer/tablet did the same.”
Within seconds, potential customers can see what product/service a business offers, get directions, and find contact information.
I do this myself all the time. I live in a big city. There are always great new places to discover, and I know I can find these places, check what they offer, and discover their ratings with just a few taps on my phone.
Because of the simplicity and convenience of the local search, one thing is true for smart local businesses who capitalize on it: increased sales.
In theory, one out of every two individuals who find your business through their smartphones will actually visit your business that very day.
Studies have even found that “18 percent of mobile searches lead to a sale within one day.” That’s pretty impressive!
But we need to ask a question: how do you capitalize on this sales-ready segment of the population? How can you make sure your business is placed front and center before their eyes?
It doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, if you use these four tools, you’re virtually guaranteed a position at the top.
I’ve seen businesses rise from having zero online presence to dominating their local markets simply by using these tools. You can do it too.
Here are the tools you should be using.
Did you know that 46% of all searches on Google are local searches?
That’s right. Nearly half of the people checking out your business online will be located within your immediate geographical area.
To ensure that prospects are finding your business, you’ll need to be active on Google My Business.
I personally can’t even count the number of times a week I use my smartphone to search for business info via Google.
I also find myself using the “Okay, Google” voice search feature more and more. It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s hands-free. By and large, it’s quite accurate in matching my voice commands.
Getting set up on Google My Business is simple. First, visit the site: https://www.google.com/business/.
Next, register and fill out all pertinent business information.
I also recommend including plenty of pictures (at least five) so that prospective leads can get a better sense of what your business is all about.
Once you’re set up, you can painlessly manage everything from your dashboard.
More specifically, you can:
- Stay updated on customer reviews
- Get insights on the way people are interacting (e.g., the number of views and clicks you receive)
- Check the number of requests for driving directions to your business
- See the number of people ultimately visiting your website
For me, the more data, the better.
The more information I can accumulate, the easier it is for me to spot patterns and trends so that I can make necessary adjustments.
That’s why I really like this tool. It gives me comprehensive data so that I can make highly informed decisions.
Like most platforms from Google, Google My Business is intuitive and user friendly, so there shouldn’t be much of a learning curve.
You can also update your profile when necessary to ensure your information is always current.
In my opinion, Yelp is the second most important tool after Google.
Some marketers have even gone so far as to say that having your business listed on Yelp is more important than having a website.
While I wouldn’t go that far, I do think being featured on Yelp is pretty much a necessity these days.
As of March 2016, Yelp received 145 million unique visitors per month and is one of the go-to sites for finding information on local businesses.
People use it to find contact info, business hours, pictures, reviews, and more.
If you’re able to get a solid list of reviews and a strong rating, you can bet that your sales are going to increase and your brand equity will grow.
To get set up, you’ll need to first claim your business and visit the mobile download site to use the mobile app for business owners.
From that page, Yelp will send you a link so that you can manage your page from your mobile device.
Using this app is awesome because you can:
- Seamlessly manage your page
- Engage with customers
- Track visitor engagement
- Monitor leads
- Respond to reviews and overall feedback
Just remember you’ll want to fill out your profile completely and include enough info to answer any common questions customers may have.
Again, I recommend including plenty of pictures.
The fact that I mentioned Facebook probably doesn’t come as any surprise.
Facebook is a huge deal, so it only makes sense that you’ll want to use Facebook Pages Manager. Visit this page to download the app.
Simply download the app for your iOS or Android device, and you can manage your business’s presence on Facebook with the utmost level of control and efficiency.
Use it to do the following:
- Post updates, photos, and videos
- Respond to comments on your page
- View and reply to messages
- Get push notifications for page activity, tips, and reminders
- View your Page Insights
- Manage your settings and page roles
This app serves as a streamlined way to manage your Facebook account from your mobile device and stay in close contact with your customers.
I like it because I can stay on top of things no matter where I’m at—even if I’m out of the country.
Having a presence on Facebook and advertising on Facebook matters.
For better or worse, people trust Facebook. Facebook serves as a tool for people to discover new friends, keep up with the news, stay in touch with family, and, yes, discover new places to eat, drink, shop, and play.
Not being on Facebook is the 1980s equivalent of not being in the phone book. I’m not going overboard when I say your business needs to be on Facebook.
Okay, so Bing isn’t nearly as big as Google or Facebook. That’s true.
But that doesn’t mean that it can’t still be a viable resource for marketing your business locally. Bing relies on the same basic premise as Google My Business does, only it does so on the Bing search engine.
It’s easy to hate Bing or totally neglect it. I get that. But listen to this: Bing controls 33% of search!
In my opinion, a third of all search engine users is no small chunk.
Getting set up is pretty straightforward. Visit Bing Places for Business.
You must first claim your listing. Next, fill out your profile, and verify your listing.
Think of it like this. Many of your competitors are likely to be so fixated on Google that they completely overlook Bing. Maybe you were even tempted to neglect Bing.
Getting on Bing takes just a few minutes, giving you an advantage over your competition. By taking the time to get your profile up and running, you can pull in a larger chunk of your target market and win their business.
Remember back in the day when people manually thumbed through the Yellow Pages directory to find information on businesses in their area?
Well those days are gone.
But like most companies with any type of longevity, the Yellow Pages has been smart enough to reinvent itself so that it’s still practical in our modern era.
Now you can get your business listed free on the YP for Business app.
According to its website, “60 million consumers search YP every month for local businesses,” which is nothing to sneeze at.
Here are some other interesting stats:
- Over 15 million consumers have downloaded the YP app.
- The YP app and mobile web drive more than three calls to a local business every second.
If you’re looking to round out your local marketing efforts and get exposure to the largest percentage of your demographic, I definitely recommend listing your business there.
It only takes a few minutes, and your reach can grow considerably.
Some added benefits of using Yellow Pages include having the ability to check out the number of impressions, clicks, and leads you generate.
You can also maintain a comprehensive vantage point of your online presence, online reviews, and social activity.
I would also imagine that the YP for Business app would be an effective way to reach a lot of the older demographic of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, who have fond memories of the original Yellow Pages.
To get your business in front of potential customers, you must have a presence on some key sites.
Because people are using these sites so frequently, taking the time to register your business and fill out your profile in its entirety can pay good dividends in the long run.
Don’t forget the key statistics, correlating searches, and sales.
Remember: 78% of local mobile searches result in offline purchases.
That’s huge! If you’re a traditional brick-and-mortar establishment, you can most definitely cash in by featuring your business in the right online places.
The bottom line is that there’s a growing trend of people using their mobile devices to search for local businesses.
Being active on these five online spots not only allows you to be more competitive and claim your piece of the pie but can also be the catalyst for your business thriving in the long term.
Which of these tools do you find yourself using the most to find info on businesses in your area?