How Local Search Can Drive Your Business

February 17, 2012

Local Search

If you have a local business or local branches across the country, it is crucial that you are found in local search results and on Google Maps. The Yellow Pages are extinct and have been replaced by local search results on Google. To succeed in today’s competitive market, it requires an agile marketing plan that makes your local business stand out from the crowd. How important is local search? There are 4 Billion local searches on Google every month. 61% of all local searches result in a purchase, 55% of people use their mobile device to search for local products/services and 90% of mobile local prospects take action within 24 hours. So more people are using the web to find local products/services and are buying them immediately after searching.

The Opportunity

In many ways, Local Search is what SEO was about 4-5 years ago. While universal search results and paid results have become incredibly competitive, not that many companies have optimized for local results. In fact, many of the biggest chain businesses in the world have NOT even optimized for local business, so there’s a huge opportunity to capture the local online market before it is over-saturated.

Investment

The opportunity for local search is huge, but the cost of investment is minimal compared to universal SEO and PPC. Remember that a local search campaign is scaled to the number of local branches, so if your company has 20 branches you’ll need to optimize 20 local campaigns. Also, the cost will depend on how densely populated the area and how competitive the market.

Risk

The risk is very small, which is another reason why you really should optimize your business for local search.

Return

The ROI is strong, but it depends on your business. If your business does sales online (ecommerce) as well as in-store, then the ROI is good but not great. (Remember, it’s all about understanding your goals.) But if you are a local business that does all sales in store and relies on customer loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing, the local search can definitely transform your business. The ROI for, say, a personal injury lawyer, pediatrician or a restaurant is fantastic.

Tracking

We have developed software that will show you where your business and/or branches rank on Google, where your Google Places page ranks (if you have one) and how many customer reviews accompany your local listing, letting you track everything from the start. Once the campaign is kicked off, you can use Google Analytics to measure the traffic for each branch, but if you rely on in-store local sales, you might not be able to track all leads and sales without independent customer surveys.

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