You should know by now that online marketing is a powerful tool for local businesses to utilize in order to build a brand, connect to consumers and garner leads. The bottom line is this, no matter which way you choose to look at it: Now more than ever, consumers rely on the Internet to get information about businesses, products and services…making it a crucial factor for someone just starting a business as we approach 2016.
To begin with, it’s important to understand that Internet marketing is no longer limited to helping just big Web-wide businesses and brands. With the advent of localized search parameters have come highly localized mobile Web and local social media approaches that create dynamic opportunities for local businesses, as well as local branches or “outposts” of national operations.
The Internet is Here to Stay…Obviously
Let’s be honest here: The Internet is a phenomenon like no other…an active part of our lives that will continue to remain that way for generations to come. Among the bevy of significant changes the Internet has inspired includes the way we view traditional marketing; indeed, if you are seeking a powerful marketing tool for your local business, the Internet is your solution, hands down.
With that said, let’s take a look at five popular statistics surrounding local marketing and how they can possibly change the way you think about online marketing…
1. “85% of Consumers are Searching for Local Businesses Online”
This stat is based on research conducted by Intuit and looks at the way consumer behavior has basically changed since 2010. Quite interestingly, one of the key findings was that most people surveyed said they were just as likely to turn to the Internet as they were to ask for a personal recommendation regarding local businesses. For you, as a business owner, this is a positive indication that now more than ever – as we have been saying – it’s vital to present a strong online presence.
Here are some important takeaways from the research:
- A significant jump in the number of consumers using the Internet to find local businesses has been recorded, with the regularity of their “searches” increasing as well. To be sure, only 15-percent of consumers surveyed claimed they have not used the Internet to find a local business in the past 12 months – a number that is down from 21-percent in 2010.
- The majority of consumers surveyed used online reviews when making decisions about spending; some 27-percent of consumers reported regularly reading online reviews while another 49-percent considered themselves “occasional readers.”
- A single, solitary review isn’t likely to make or break a business’ reputation; in fact, some 65-percent of consumers – as compared to 58-percent in 2010 – reported reading between 2 and 10 reviews when conducting research about local companies.
- According to the survey, appreciation and value of online reviews is growing in response to more consumers trusting online reviews at the same rate as personal recommendations – in other words, 72-percent of consumers are giving the same weight to online reviews as they do to suggestions by friends, colleagues, etc.
2. “60% of All Organic Clicks go to the Organic Top Three Search Results”
As reported by Business2Community, this stat concentrates on organic results – the “non-ad” listings that most people click on – and stresses the importance of a company being mentioned on page one of a search, with positions one through three being a “marketer’s dream.” What we’re talking about here is this: When a search engine returns its search results, it provides two fundamental types: Organic and paid. Organic search results, in addition to representing the aforementioned “non-ad” listings, reflect the Web page listings that most closely match the user’s search query based on relevance. Into this equation come “natural” search results, which rank high in the organic search results and are the most meaningful SEO objective as far as we’re concerned.
Organic search results are accomplished by the magic of SEO – Search Engine Optimization – and there is no paid advertising involved. The statistic as stated by Business2Community indicates that on the first page of search results, 60-percent of the clicks that are made are done so to the first three organic results.
3. “50% of all Mobile Searches are Conducted in Hopes of Finding Local Results”
Keeping in mind just how rabid local consumers’ use of Google has become, Search Engine Watch released this statistic, based on reports conducted by MDG Advertising, to reflect how more local businesses are catching on to the ability of Google+ Local Pages, and how they influence a business’ rank on the local SERP for priority keywords. With small and independent businesses becoming savvier all the time – and yes, we’re talking to you! – and many premium brands increasingly deploying local SEO efforts for hundreds of thousands of locations at scale to create expansive local SERP “footprints,” competition has been heating up, as well. But entities such as Search Engine Watch continue to report the existence of ripe opportunities for small businesses to boost local visibility through focused SEO efforts.
4. “70% of Mobile Searches Have Used the Call Button Directly From Google Ads to Call Businesses”
A new survey conducted by representatives of the search engine giant itself of 3,000 mobile searchers who recently engaged in purchases within seven marketplaces – Travel, Restaurant, Auto, Local Services, Retail, Finance and Technology – revealed that 70% of mobile searchers click to call a business directly from Google’s search results. Across all seven of these categories, which we also call “verticals” in the marketing world, it was determined that click to call was an important feature for people seeking information and looking to make purchases.
To get a greater grip on the scope of this influence, Google Ads generate more than 40 million calls each month – and 75% of those calls last longer than 30 seconds. Further, the majority of calls from ads lasted an average of six minutes, suggesting that most mobile searchers aren’t necessarily looking for quick information, according to Google reps.
5. “61% of all Mobile Searches Result in a Phone Call”
According to Google, again, some 61% of mobile searches result in a phone call – a phenomenon that’s being called a “byproduct” of the mobile marketing explosion. While this statistic, as well as others that suggest most businesses will receive twice as many phone calls as time goes on, sounds staggering, it makes sense. Here are some additional stats regarding conversions resulting from phone calls:
• Inbound phone calls are 10 to 15 times more likely to convert than inbound Web leads.
• Google says that pay-per-call mobile Adwords campaigns have six to eight-percent higher conversion rates than pay-per-click mobile Adwords campaigns, with phrases such as “Call Now” or “Call us Today” in the middle of ad copy improving these conversion stats.
• Some 61-percent of businesses rate their inbound phone calls as “excellent leads” while only 52-percent rate Web leads as “excellent.”
What Does This All Mean for Me and my Local Marketing Efforts?
First and foremost, this data means that a landing page conversion rate is simply not as clear-cut as it used to be – now, actual calls must be factored into the equation. To ignore this fact is to turn your back on the highest-performing element of a landing page…and that would be disastrous for a business owner today.
Secondarily, as a business owner, you need to be staffed and prepared to answer phone calls – and answer them effectively. Why? Because just like with a landing page, small tweaks to a phone pitch approach can make your close rate go up or down.
Finally, the underlying message here is that mobile conversions can’t be measured the same way online conversions have been gauged for the last 10 years; mobile is not about page views and abandon rate. It is our job, as local marketing experts offering you advice, to point out that some businesses will be impacted by mobile more than others…but keep this in mind: If you have a lead type (i.e. an inbound phone call) that is converting 30, 40 or 50% of the time, why wouldn’t you want to generate more leads of this type?