03 Feb Infographic – Online Scheduling: The Future of Local Business Listings?
A shorter version of this article has been featured on Localsearchinsider.org – Local Search Association’s blog. To read the LSA version, click here.
Face it. In our “digital consumer” era, customers can’t stop juggling with devices throughout the day. Ways people connect to local businesses are changing fast. Recent Google’s Pigeon update strengthened the impact of “local” in consumers’ online searches. Consequently, local listings started outranking in Google SERP. This is why today consumers tend to land on listings first when searching for services around them.
As a matter of fact, with this new update, local business listings have more than an SEO value for SMBs. They get more traffic, and subsequently more customers.
The opportunity to provide listed companies with tools to help them convert these visits into new clients is huge. Focusing on giving more weight to business-customer interactions on listings is key.
These new transactional relations are possible thanks to innovative services like the Online Scheduling, also called call-to-actions (CTAs). In a recent Street Fight Mag 2015 hyperlocal predictions, Greg Sterling – VP Strategy & Insights at the Local Search Association – even listed Online Scheduling as “much more prevalent for SMBs” this year.
Local listings might be interested in knowing what business segments are the most likely to adopt booking systems compared to the segments already listed on their directories. Lucky for you, we have figures.
Local business directories: From informational to transactional value
Business directory players need to offer a best-in-class user experience to generate traffic and drive more leads to the companies they index. Not only by providing them with complete company profiles but by offering original methods to help them connect with their online customers.
If you had to put yourself in your customer’s shoes, wouldn’t you like to get more than just information on the barbershop location, rates and services you’re looking for?
If I had to answer the question, I’d probably say: “Yes, interaction! Engagement!”. A recent Google-Ipsos study showed that 61% found click to call extremely important during the purchase phase. And one of the main reasons why consumers want to call a business is to schedule an appointment (51%). So yes, consumers are demanding for call-to-actions. Be it via a call, chat or schedule button, consumers want to interact with businesses. Why not allowing them to do so from the same page where they read company’s information on listings? Online appointment scheduling is one of these interaction tools that can bring more consumers to a business. It lets them make a transaction right when they desire, when they are dedicating time to it. With this app, local business listings become more than information websites. They turn into action platforms where consumers can go from the search to the purchase phase. On one single page.
Today, even more local business directories – like Yelp – are implementing appointment scheduling features on their listings. The yellow pages partners of Agendize are also adopting online scheduling. By integrating this web app, they allow consumers to easily book the services they love, without having to call a business. The faster consumers achieve their goals (purchases) the better.
Any local business directory might like to know which segments could make the most of an online appointment scheduling app. Well, the verticals showing the highest adoption potential are the same as the main segments already present on local business directories.
The top 5 verticals listed on a business directory are also the most likely to adopt online appointment scheduling.
The infographic speaks for itself.
We see that the segments with the highest potential for adoption coincide directly with the prevalent business categories present on local business listings. To me it sounds like a clear indication that CTAs are the next stage of evolution from search to transaction.
Do you agree on the fact that call-to-action buttons – like “book me” – are going to draw the future of local listings? Or do you think that local directories are not a place where SMBs can grow their business?