In this digital age we’re all obsessed with driving traffic. Our twitter feed, part of our ‘must have’ social media presence, drives traffic to our website; we seek out likes on facebook.
We’re all part of the urgent rush of brand polishing and placement on what we sometimes forget is the ‘worldwide’ web.
How does our brand awareness work when, if like me only 56% of my twitter audience is based in an area it makes sense for me to trade in?
I get that we live in an era of online ordering and delivery has become free shipping but for a business that doesn’t offer ecommerce is it worth cultivating that level of awareness?
I understand the AIDA marketing model but how does it actually help me in real terms when people are aware of my business in America?
True their re-tweet might make its way back across the pond and raise my profile amongst some of their UK followers but it’s all a bit random and haphazard isn’t it?
The mantra Location, Location, Location was first coined in the Chicago Tribune in 1926, but it carried great importance long before that amongst business owners.
Way back in the day, before the internet existed indeed before the telephone had made great inroads into popular use, the usual or only method of advertising other than word of mouth (referral) was print.
Be it on a sandwich board, billboard or a handbill the one thing that was of paramount importance was the location of the business, not just the street address but the location.
It was usual to see a business give its address as Fred Bloggs, cabinet maker, 19 Main Road, ‘next to the Town Hall’.
This was the only method of ‘driving traffic’ and if there was another cabinet maker in town you didn’t want any confusion.
Business was a local affair; your catchment area was defined by how far your message travelled and how many customers lived near enough to visit your premises. Your reputation and your well advertised location were key to your success.
Strangely or maybe not so, Google have over recent years been playing with their algorithms and the way their search results are displayed.
Way back in the day when the internet was shiny and Google only had ambitions to own our thoughts, if you searched for tumble dryers without location the majority of your results were American based so, we got into the habit of adding uk, you got way less results but at least there was a chance you could buy one without importing it.
One consistent is, then as now you were very unlikely to look beyond the first page of results that your search engine turned up.
The thing is now, with the mobile view of a search you only get three results and they are underneath the paid advertising, they are however marked on the map and there is the ever useful direction button, there is also the Google review score.
Although desk top searches are still growing month on month mobile is outstripping them with Google confirming in October 2015 that over 50% of searches worldwide were carried out on a mobile device.
Interestingly, like a lot of twitter users I have found myself being most active during the local ‘hour’ sessions, such as ‘#LancashireHour’ when I know that people viewing the hash tag are likely to be geographically in the area it makes sense for me to do business in.
95% of smart phone users say they use local search (1) with 88% of them saying they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (2) add to that word of mouth referrals travelling very quickly on twitter and it’s almost like things have gone full circle and our location and reputation go a long way to determining the success of a ‘local’ business.
I can hear some of you remonstrating that I have trivialised, or maybe localised a very important issue, and it’s true there are many things to consider one of which is supply chain.
I may not trade in Europe, but do my customers? If the answer to this is yes, then obviously you have to understand the issues facing your client should the ‘leave’ vote win, they may have a contingency plan, or more likely they have no real handle on what will happen going forward, how can anyone? It’s never happened before.
There are also many other future ramifications awaiting the result of June’s referendum, but that’s the thing with the future it’s open to prediction but by the very nature of it unknowable.
Meanwhile whilst you’re waiting for all that future dust to settle here is something worthwhile for you to be getting on with, ensure you turn up in local searches by visiting Google my business here!. Make sure everything is filled in and correct. I know that sounds a little patronising however we are by nature busy people but by spending a little time here you will get far better results, add opening hours, logos and photographs.
Categorize your business correctly but don’t fall into the trap of attempting to cover too many categories as Google specifically warns against this, the more complete your listing the better Google will like you.
Remember – Fred Bloggs, cabinet maker, 19 Main Road, ‘next to the Town Hall’.
The next thing to do is to actively ask your customers to leave Google reviews of their experience when trading with you, if you’re doing your stuff right you should get some of the coveted five star ones.
No matter what happens in June no Son of France will ever local search you on his smart phone with a view to nipping round and making a purchase, however you can be sure that many hundreds of ‘local’ folk are doing that right now.
And I never mentioned Agincourt once.