Small businesses across the world all share one common need to sustain growth; new customers.
Communicating with these potential and existing customers within their local community seems to still be in the dark ages.
At least the analog ages.
Or, more often than not most small businesses rely on existing customer word of mouth to generate new customer referrals.
Never mind wasting unbelievable amounts of money on local newspaper, Pennysaver ads, or 15 different yellow pages books that find their way immediately to the recycle bin.
But we got lazy.
This is tried and true methodology that still works today, and is more than likely one of the top new customer referral sources for the average Carlsbad small business.
Would you agree?
With technology advancing faster than we can keep up, word of mouth is still a proven new customer acquisition avenue, but we can certainly amplify that word of mouth to go digital – and social, local, and mobile.
How can your Carlsbad small business take advantage of an easy to manage, automatically administered, SoLoMo new customer acquisition system?
Get social. Think Local. Go Mobile.
Social Media (So)
Forget all the stats, figures, case studies, and IPOs – they’ll be more, and they’ll all become more defined and easier to decipher as it relates to our local small businesses.
One thing is certain with social media marketing; our participation will immediately increase online business visibility.
People search online.
People will continue to do so, in different ways. Our businesses need to have local + social + mobile representation.
We’ve heard it before, and it bears repeating – Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are three of the ten most popular websites on the planet. Google is tops. And LinkedIn is not too far behind at #16.*
For a lot of us, we’re still wishing Google would somehow recognize our beautiful little website enough to rank it in the first few pages of search results when someone searches for products or services we offer in the respective local area.
And we all know what they say about wishes…
Social media for our local small businesses will not only complement our existing website SEO efforts by building quality backlinks, driving traffic to our website(s), and increasing keyword influence; it will also allow our local small businesses to stake a claim on (at least 4) of the 16 most popular websites in the world.
Yes, it’s the whole world, and what does that have to do with our local neighborhood, we know.
Here’s the answer, as these social communities-come-local news outlets, develop into full-on social local search engines in and of themselves, our Carlsbad small businesses can actually have a highly visible representation within these environments.
Can we say the same about Google placement for your primary targeted keyword(s) with your existing website?
How many reviews of our business are available through our Google Places page?
Local Search (Lo)
Local search is not some esoteric term resigned for the tech geeks and internet marketing mavens.
Local search is the biggest change to positively affect the neighborhood small business community – take an active role or sit on the bench.
The search engines – generally the Big 3 of Google, Yahoo, and Bing – have virtually changed the local online landscape when it comes to the search engine results pages.
We’ve seen it already, Google Places, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local. An over-simplified explanation of this is how the search engine results pages now base results off not only they keywords we type in, but also the location from which we are searching.
They (search engines) know where we’re searching from just like they know what product, information, or service for which we’re searching. And in time, the search engines will also know what we buy, from whom, and how we feel about it.
How does our local small business get in the game?
First, by confirming and controlling our local search engine environment profiles; that is our Carlsbad local search foundation.
Second, we need to build local online visibility on top of that foundation by incorporating website links, business photos and videos, customer reviews…and social media.
But this is just the beginning, with the search engines changing how they rank these independent profiles within these digitally localized environments, a boatload of time and analysis is paramount to our businesses realizing local search optimization results.
Results in this case being top of the first page placement for desired keyword local searches.
That and increased customer flow through our local profiles, connecting through to your website, or contacting us for information.
Mobile Visibility (Mo)
What is your Carlsbad small business mobile identity?
Smartphones, mobile phones, cell phones, crackberrys, ipood’s, whatever you call them; we better have a digital business identity accessible through these devices if we want to keep pace with digital marketing technology.
And our customers.
Second that for the expanding ultra-portable phylum of devices.
It is estimated that in less than five years, mobile access (including tablet computers) will be the preferred mode of choice for us to connect with the Internet. To see a recent article from the NY Times you can read here, a Google representative puts it succinctly.
“Mobile search is definitely going to surpass desktop search,” said Scott B. Huffman, who works on mobile search at Google and leads its search evaluation team. “The lines will pass, and I think they’ll pass before anyone thought they would.”
Is your Carlsbad small business prepared to deal with this shift in accessibility?
The time to not be concerned with such trivial affairs has passed, the science is evident and the people (and Google) are defining the landscape.
Action is required on our behalf if we’d like retirement to look as we envision.
The shift into mobile search optimization, geo-location applications, user-generated content, QR codes, and mobile marketing trends as they relate to the local neighborhood small business should be mandatory components of any dynamic digital marketing plan.
If we’re not digitally visible, accessible, and relatable, our business will suffer.
Besides time, what prevents you from taking your Carlsbad small business digital identity Social, Local, and Mobile?
*Source: Alexa.com TopSites