Right now, more than 60% of internet searches are being completed on mobile devices – and this number is steadily climbing. For the consumer, this is great – we can quickly find businesses in our local communities that provide the products and services we want. But what does this mean for local business owners (especially small business owners) who depend on their communities?
Mobile search has “changed the game” for local businesses in 5 key ways:
1. Location, Location, Location
This old adage was used to express the belief that a business could be successful if in the right location simply because it was more accessible to potential customers. Thanks to mobile search, having a great location is no longer enough. Customers no longer have to go out hunting for local businesses because they’re right at their fingertips.
2. Evolution of Word of Mouth
Depending on what applications consumers are using to search, they can also see customer reviews and recommendations. Customers no longer have to take a risk on a new business when they can rely on the opinions found in local search results. This has meant that business owners have needed to shift their focus to managing their online reputations.
3. Digital Natives Dominate The Market
Generation Y, also known as Millennials or Digital Natives, have been raised to rely on the internet – so much so that it’s rare to come across one who doesn’t own a smartphone. When these individuals are looking for a local business, they’re not simply going to walk into one or talk to their neighbours – instead, they’re going to their phones.
4. Conversions Come Easy
Even if people don’t end up buying, they will usually follow up with local businesses – 3 out of 4 mobile searches generally trigger some kind of follow up action. Whether this action is to call the business or to make an appointment, 75% of the people performing mobile searches are going to reach out to you in some way.
5. Online Presence is Essential
Small business owners are no longer immune to the need to manage their businesses online. In the past, it was not uncommon for these businesses to have little to no online presence – 50% didn’t even have websites – but the same practices today will mean that you’re losing out on customers. If you don’t have a local internet presence, your competitors will.