Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ebay and Many Others Are Positioning Local Search and Local Promotion. Be Prepared and Gain Market Share.
Seems like Google started this. I first noticed the change when testing a Google Ad Words campaign. When setting up the campaign, I found I could select specific markets where I wanted to promote a product or service. Since then, I have noticed more and more people are simply going on line for local search. Have you heard the term "Just Google It"?
Last night I was interested in finding the closest branch of a particular bank. I simply typed in the name of the bank and the area I wanted to research. Just like that, I had the locations and even a map of the closest branches. If I had used the yellow pages, this would have taken 10 times longer and the answer still would not have been as clear. Why? Because I don't know the precise location of an address in the yellow book. However, I sure can easily tell where it is with a quick look on a map especially when I have the addresses on the same page of the map. (Yes ladies..I do stop for directions.)
If you do the research I am sure you will find like I did that the major engines and services are rapidly moving in the direction of local search and local listings. This is another compelling reason for every business to have its own domain name and web site. Look at me! Well I mean look at my site www.stevepohlit.com . I think it is clear what I do and over time my site should rank well naturally for the keyword phrase Tampa Bay Business Consultant plus a few others.
Now let's say you are a local dry cleaner, car wash, shoe repair, restaurant, or one of a host of other local retail establishments. As an owner, you advertise in the neighborhood paper, maybe have tested door hangers, post card or other print media. Or maybe you have spent money on radio and TV advertising. Certainly you are in the yellow book or yellow pages. You have done all these things and you are saying "I don't see any value in having a web site." OK my view is that it is invaluable because even if local search isn't immediately beneficial it will be and the web site serves as the foundation for capturing the contact information of the people who visit your business.
The value of your business is not the land or the building or your systems and equipment. Although those things may have some value to somebody else. The real value is in your customer list. The people who buy from you. When you have this data and you capture the response to promotions you send them, you will deepen their loyalty to you, they will spend more money at your business which will drive up your profits.
For an example of a business doing this very well, please visit www.carwashandspa.com and for a detailed explanation of the program. please visit www.localretailmarketing.com
Those companies bringing marketing to the local level on a personalized basis with email and at times direct mail, will be far ahead of the pack this Christmas selling season who are fighting to be seen among the clutter of flyers, ads and other promotions that everyone always does this time of year.