Two words that go together like sand and jam, for many small businesses. To get jam tomorrow, most are struggling through the sand today, hoping not to drop the lot. In a presentation for a Networking Group in Gerrards Cross, I spoke about how many small business creators were once corporate specialists carving great bread and butter careers. Of course, on stepping out of the firm’s dining rooms, they find sandwiching the elements of a small business around their skills is a serious challenge.
Suppose you want a slice of internet marketing to layer into your hero sandwich. Well, you’re going to find yourself standing at a big deli bar, with an overwhelming choice of specialities from far and wide that promise to make you fat and content. Naturally your eyes goggle and blink, and by the time you’ve taken a taste of everything continental you’ve lost your appetite, and your lunch money.
An uncle of mine has an expression for this sort of uneducated, or in hindsight unwise spend on ineffective activity: School Fees.
Definitely try using it yourself, it takes the sting away.
Look around and you’ll see that in the last three years there has been a big shift in how people think and behave when shopping for services and products. Now that everyone has a computer in their pocket to shrink the web and go anywhere, they choose to go just around the corner.
Over 20% of all Google searches are localised, i.e. they have a postcode, town or other local intent. Think of mobile search and that percentage rises to at least a third. Smartphones like iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices are outselling regular mobiles, and the numbers of mobiles selling are at least three times the number of PCs.
Google has been factoring location when returning results for years, matching our desire for relevant, local information as more and more of it is put on the web - in all searches, location is factored. For the bulk of local businesses, especially in B2B sales, this is a meal deal that business owners don’t tend to think about. You see, because Google want to provide accessible results to searchers they will often prefer local companies and information.
Think about real life. Small businesses find the bulk of their income comes from local customers, and when businesses network, it’s usually at groups in their local vicinity. The truth is, most business, even global business, happens locally, so you’ve no immunity from community.
Here’s some other tasty morsels to help fill your sandwich with local flavour:
You know this. Look at your own family, friends and colleagues comparing prices online to buy locally at the best price, or weekend window shopping to buy online later with free delivery, and we all know people who are online all the time, but never on their computer.
People don’t behave like this all weekend, then start using Yellow Pages, Newspapers, etc., when they get to the office. They look for business services they need in the same way, with the same expectations. Now all businesses need local presence, because Google and other search engines are going to prefer those that do.
When a local search is done, the searcher is close to buying.
When a mobile search is done, the searcher is ready to buy.
We’re back at the deli bar, now with not a lot of money and wanting something, well, real. What to choose? My suggestion is whatever you layer up, make local internet marketing the thickest slice. You see, you haven’t much time before everyone realises buyers love local, and that maybe they should be paying attention to their (your) local market.
I’ve given many presentations on tips and techniques for small businesses to improve the way they work and think, including how local really is for most businesses where one’s head and heart should be. But I know it is really hard to follow up and follow through. So for this one, critical part of a small business’ business a new service has been developed, taking one type of business and promoting them exclusively ahead of their local competition.
Place Me! is a monthly service to get the phone ringing with more local enquiries, and it’s a competitive service too: if you’re not seen now in your local market, you’ll need to displace those that are.
Place Me! concentrates on increasing business enquiries from your local market. It should be obvious from this post that those enquiries are likely to be of quality, so we’ve added these benefits for members of networking groups we have connections with. I’m the Hub Director for Refer-On for example, we meet once a week, I’d rather not be working for a colleague’s competition.
If you’d like more information about Place Me!, what it is, how it works, and how it can put the jam back in your sandwich, just add your details. Then while you decide if you want to take advantage, we will have locked out competitors from your sector and locations for you.