If you are a small business you can’t afford to miss the promising results of the recent study by Yodle on What Consumers Want from Local Businesses.
Guess what? People love local businesses!
Four out of five respondents use local businesses and nearly half say they shopped at local businesses more this year than last.
Your entire marketing budget may not even be a tenth or hundredth of your National Brand competitors but you do hold a Search Advantage in that people in your area want to shop at true local businesses. And Search Engines recognize this and are now showing more localized results than ever before.
In response to the new study Search Engine Land columnist Wesley Young discusses the results of the Yodle study in detail and helps us understand how to use what consumers want in order to boost your local SEO strategy.
Here are the key takeaways you can apply to your local business:
- Highlight the competitive advantages people automatically attach to local businesses, such as personalization, trustworthiness, customer service, quality, and reliability. Do this throughout your website text and the Meta Data that appears beside your website in Search Results. You can also let this seep into your offline marketing!
- Highlight that you’re locally owned and operated. We already know that people like to shop local and apply certain characteristics (like personalization and trustworthiness) to local businesses. Use your website to tell your story, explain your local heritage, and entice people to shop local.
- Play to their emotions. People like the idea of keeping their business local and supporting their economy. Make the benefits of doing business with you clear and your customers won’t have trouble justifying shopping local over National Brands (even if they do pay a little more).
- Ask for reviews. If your customers are like the respondents to the Yodle study, 90% would write a review for you if asked them … but only 7% have been asked. Don’t be bashful. Reviews are displayed in Search Results and used by potential customers each and every day to evaluate a business.
- Get a website if you don’t already have one. Your website not only increases your visibility but establishes your credibility as a real business. Studies show that nearly half of sole-proprietors don’t have a website and over one third of small businesses with 25 or less employees do not have a website.
- Stop turning potential customers away with an outdated, stale, or boring website. The majority of small businesses wait 6 months or more before making any updates which is far too long for most.
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly and easy for your local visitors to view on their phone. Many local businesses now see 20-50% of their website traffic visiting from mobile devices.
- Connect with visitors how they want. Yodle discovered that nearly 70% of respondents preferred email communications over phone or mail. Does your website clearly present your contact email address? Do you respond to emails in a timely matter? Do you send appointment reminders or service updates through email?
If you are a local business check out our Local SEO Services to further advance your visibility in the Search Engines and ability to attract even more local customers.