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Marketing

How Can Local Businesses Attract More Customers?

image of barista pouring coffee
Jessica Bernabe

With consumer intention moving more towards supporting local businesses and shopping locally, it’s more important than ever to ensure your business is showing up in Google search results so you can start converting prospects into paying customers.

But what do you need to do to get started? It all starts with improving your online presence and optimizing your website for local searches, utilizing strategies like SEO, Google My Business, and targeted advertising.

More importantly, you need to make sure you’re appealing to your audience. And there’s more to it than making sure you’re found on the front page.

How Consumers Perform Local Searches Today

They use mobile devices

More than half of all searches are performed on mobile devices.

Why? Because people expect to have access to the information they need anytime, anywhere and their phones are what make that possible. 93% of consumers utilize the internet when they want to find a local business. And another 63% are shown to be willing to shop with that business if their site is mobile-friendly.

Further research from Google shows:

  • 30% of mobile searches are related to location.

  • Including “where to buy” and “near me” in searches have gone up by 200% since 2017

  • 76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within a day.

  • 78% of location-based mobile searches result in a purchase

All of this is great news for your business, as mobile users tend to be driven by “local intent,” and are more likely to pull out their wallets and become paying customers after performing a local search.

The Main Types of Search Queries Target Audiences Are Performing

As you continue to do market research about your consumers, it’s a good idea to pay attention to how Google and other popular search engines are evolving. Why? Because they’re one of the key indicators of how consumers are searching for products and services. Search engine companies pay attention to trends and consumer preferences and work to make sure they’re meeting the needs of the many.

As of right now, there are generally three types of search queries that your target audience is performing to shop.

  • Navigational

  • Informational

  • Transactional

Navigational: This type of search query is utilized when the searcher knows exactly what website they want to go to but they use the search engine bar to locate it rather than the URL. Make sure your business website is easy to remember so customers can find it easily using either avenue.

Informational: When someone types into the search bar “Ergot” or “Oregon” that searcher is looking for information under broad topics. Usually, an inquiry like the two listed will result in thousands of hits. While you can’t predict all the terms a consumer may use to try and find your product or service, utilizing marketing methods like SEO will help narrow down the main ones so you can use them throughout your sites.

Transactional: Transactional is the bread and butter for consumers looking to make a purchase. For the most part, the searcher will provide the exact name, such as “Logitech mouse M100” or something a little broader like, “white bookcase.” This is where targeted advertising such as PPC campaigns can get your business in front of the right people.

With those facts in mind, you need to optimize your business’ website to send the right local cues to search engines to maximize your exposure to potential customers.

They’re asking Siri

The reports are in. Thanks to the advances in voice search, an estimated 135.6 million people in just the U.S. alone use this technology when searching the internet. To put it in an even better perspective, that means 40% of Americans use voice search.

And these voice searches make it easier than ever for potential customers to get connected to local businesses like yours in their moment of need.

Therefore, your website and your online content need to be optimized to reflect natural language patterns that answer the everyday questions consumers are likely to ask.

To help your business attract more local customers, follow these 7 Strategies for Getting Found in Local Searches

  1. Ensure you’re using a responsive design on your website.

    • Code your website to automatically adjust to the size of the user’s screen, ensuring your website delivers the best experience possible for potential customers looking at your business on a mobile device.

  2. Make sure your website is fast.

    • A survey showed that 70% of consumers reported that page speed affects their willingness to buy from an online retailer. Page speed is also now a ranking factor for Google mobile searches, which means your site needs to load as quickly as possible.

  3. Use paid search advertising to increase your visibility on the search engine results page.

    • Paid ads can get your business to the top of page one on Google search results, which is especially important on smartphones where users have to do a lot of scrolling to get to the organic (unpaid) results.

  4. Keep your online business listings up-to-date with accurate information about your business—especially your name, address, and phone number (NAP).

    • This allows the search engine to detect your business as a match for nearby consumers and list it in the “local pack,” or the results that show with the map on the search results page.

  5. Monitor your online reviews and work on getting 5-star ratings.

    • Reviews play an important role in local rankings in search engines and can even help your business make it into the local search results.

  6. Optimize your website with long-tail keywords, or keywords that better match natural language.

    • For example, a personal dog trainer might use terms like “one on one dog training” or “dog trainers that come to your home.” This will make it easier for your website and business to get found in voice searches.

  7. Use FAQ pages that answer common questions from consumers.

    • Think of the types of questions a consumer might ask Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant.

Search engines and consumers’ search behaviors are always evolving, so it’s important to stay on top of the latest developments within the industry.

Our Internet marketing experts are always ahead of the curve, so we can help you create a competitive online strategy that gets your business found in search engines and brings new customers through the door.

Talk to a member of our team for help with your search engine strategy!