11 Nov Who Succeeds with Local Search for Small Business?
Local Search is affecting all businesses in its prominence, as consumers are increasingly looking for information about local businesses online before they shop. Partly because of mobile’s influence in this process, there are particular kinds of businesses dominating these sectors, either because of consumers’ regular need for them, or because they appeal to the casual way we tend to spend our disposable income. Necessary to living the good life, these local businesses often motivate us through our day, and understanding how driven people are to search for them is important for those business’ future success – exactly what motivated the Local Search Association (LSA) to conduct a recent study on the phenomenon.
Lifestyle Leads All
Of 8,000 consumer respondents, 46% reported searching for “lifestyle” businesses within the past week. These are firms in real estate, restaurant, hospitality, home furnishing, florist, landscaping and other categories. This while 11% reported searching for local services in emergency repair and 10% in healthcare within the past week. Smaller yet were recent searches for professional services, service providers, construction and automotive categories, but still statistically significant enough to be included in the LSA’s study.
Why do we go local?
Most consumers believe local businesses offer more personalized service, in addition to being more trustworthy and fair, reliable, professional in staffing and providing better work and customer service overall. Further necessitated from local businesses by city-dwellers is outstanding convenience and proximity, as we always look to engage with the community around us and the businesses it entails. Fully 48% of consumers are willing to pay more for local goods and services because it will help their community and the people in it.
It’s no surprise then that lifestyle leads the way in local search. These are a broad range of businesses but they include every sort of good and service that people seek on a day-to-day basis. We love restaurants, improving our homes, decorating and shopping for clothes or at boutiques, as well as employing fitness experts to take care of our bodies and rejuvenate our minds. Though people also conduct local searches for emergency repair and health services on a weekly basis, these are not nearly as frequent because we’re only motivated to find these things when we have a problem.
Local Search is about Passion
Fundamentally, we look for lifestyle because it is a continuous, positive and engaging experience. Many local businesses fear that consumers aren’t interested in spending and buying, but nearly a majority are in an active weekly, if not daily, process of looking for goods and services that will improve their homes and their lives. Being proactive in response to this is necessary for small and local businesses, and as a majority of consumers continue to search online for the best deals when shopping, being the business with whom customers choose to sate their needs requires an online presence that not only is apparent on search engines, but creates relationships with customers and drives sales as a result.
To Capitalize on Local Search, Use the Right Tools
To create these relationships, certain simple but fundamental tools are needed to manage and condition engagement, while the right software is also needed to manage the new inputs a business gets from customers discovering them online. There are generally two ways in which an engagement tool can accomplish this – either by acting as a simple conversation-starter, or by boiling down a more complex interaction into a simple, fun and direct interface.
In the first category, businesses should consider the advantage of Click-to-Call and Live Chat. By either enabling customers to receive a free call back from simply typing their phone number into a website, or opening a chat window with a business’ employee or customer service representative, customers can get well on their way to asking the crucial questions they want answered about a business’ availability, products, services and other conditions.
In the second category, Online Scheduling and Form Builders carry the burden of ensuring clients get exactly the interactions they want, the way they want them. Whether it’s scheduling an appointment with all the right details (staff, service, time and more) accounted for, or responding to flexible forms that both profile them and gather their contact information to further a sale.
Well-designed tools can help you follow your customers through their entire experience of your business, both online and off, and with a dedicated CRM to manage every tool from one place, businesses can have the power to not only convert the web traffic they win, but win new sales time and again by being able to reach out to their customers and continually manage the relationships their online tools help build!