Local businesses MUST be online! The time is coming when either a business will be online, or they will get dominated by their competitors. Why is this do you ask? Because the search engines are the new yellow pages. Going to the computer, loading up Google, and typing in a phrase like “Lansing, MI Plumber” takes 30 seconds and makes flipping through the phone book seem like an eternity.
The search engines are also now displaying maps that show the addresses and geographic location of these local businesses. And as if instant results weren’t enough, the search engines are allowing people to give reviews of these companies right there in the search results where anyone can see them. This allows a consumer to quickly and effortlessly determine whether or not this particular company is trustworthy or does a good job. Search engines aren’t just like the yellow pages, they are like the yellow pages on steroids times 1000. They are just common sense.
But all this “common sense” would be meaningless if there were not statistics to back it up. Fortunately, these stats have been around for a long, long time. For example, an article that I found on smallbusinesssem.com quotes the Kelsey Group as saying, “97% of consumers use the Internet to research products or services in their local area.” This statistic alone should SCREAM to local business owners that they need to get in the game. How long can you expect to NOT be where 97% of your customers are looking for you and still be in business long term?
Now is the time for small businesses to get involved online, before their competitors all figure it out. The internet is the California Gold Rush all over again… the first one there can strike it rich. Will you be there first? Or will your competitors? You can’t both rank number one…