If you are like most people and you are looking for “Bars in Bay Head,” “Restaurants in Red Bank,” or “Hair Salons in 07710” you’ll turn to Google. And I bet, when you get that list of names, you will look to see what others are saying before you make your choice.
In fact, virtually all of us will turn to the Internet – be it social media sites, search engines or directories to find businesses and reviews. None of this should come as a surprise. But with nearly 80 percent of us with smartphones, there is an emergence of what we call near-me searches.
With a near-me search people don’t even bother with putting in the location name. Think about when you were last driving around the Jersey Shore and you wanted to find something … now! So you typed in “restaurants near me.” This type of search has been growing in popularity over the last couple years, so much so that now, according to Google Trends, one in five searches ends in “near me.”
So if someone is searching for your type of business “near me,” will they find you? They will if you follow the tenants of near-me marketing.
Google Knows Where Consumers Are
First let’s do a quick review of how near-me search works. Your phone has a GPS chip inside of it that when enabled is constantly transmitting geolocation coordinates that say “hey, this is where I am.”
You do have the ability to say whether or not location services are enabled. On the iPhone you can manage this by going under Settings à Privacy à Location Services. I’ve highlighted how it is On for my phone. (And yes, in case you were wondering, your battery drains more quickly with services running for all those apps.)
And even if services aren’t on, your smartphone can figure out to within a couple miles approximately where you are by triangulating cell towers, routers, etc.
So that’s how Google knows where consumers are. So how do they match buyers up with businesses?
Near-Me Marketing in 6 Steps
Unless you are a mobile food truck, your business is probably anchored to a physical address, and every one of those addresses is tied to a geo-coordinate. So your job is to let Google know exactly where your business is – and what services or products you offer.
There are six essential steps you have to do to have consumers find you, and we call this Near-Me Marketing.
- Strong Web Presence (mobile too) – You need a site built around specific key words that sets your business apart from others. Example if you are a bistro that also offers gluten-free items – you probably want to call it out in case someone is looking for a “gluten-free restaurant.” And don’t forget your site HAS to be mobile optimized. If Google a mobile operating system, it won’t bother to show a site that isn’t mobile friendly.
- SEO – As we said above, you need to have a site that focuses on keywords – and key trends in order for Google to put you on the first page of results. To get there requires discipline and know-how, and being meaningful specific (like the gluten-free example above).
- Google Mapping – Google My Business is the secret on how your business gets mapped by Google, no matter whether it is West Long Branch, Asbury Park, Mantaloking, or wherever!
- Social Media Management – Sites like Facebook, Yelp and Angies’s list are awesome places to begin promote your business, encourage engagement and solicit reviews. But don’t let these posts get out of date! You have to keep at it to stay relevant.
- Local Video – Video is hot – and yet another way to distinguish your business. And while it sounds expensive, there are some really affordable ways to get video onto your site quickly!
- Online Chat – When a person does a Near-Me search, you better be ready to ring up a sale. In fact 80 percent of the time when people are looking local, they are looking to buy. Having a lead gathering mechanism like an online chat, can take some of the burden off you – while being responsive to your shopper.
Local Experts to Help You
Knowing what you have to do is half the battle, but getting it done when you are focused on your day job is hard. That’s why Scott Hall and I started . We’ve both been around digital marketing since the 1990s (in fact I started New Jersey’s first web development company IN Jersey in 1995. Scott’s a video maven, and he started a global streaming media search service right about the same time.
Since then we have each worked for Silicon Valley-based companies and have seen first-hand what the big guys are doing to grab consumers. They spend big dollars on big technologies. Yet here’s the deal: They can’t compete with you when it comes to near-me search — if you do the essential steps we outlined above.
As small business owners we know that budgets and resources are limited. That’s why we started a specialized agency that focuses and provides all the essentials on near-me marketing.
You have a lot on your plate just running your business. Let Scott and I run your near-me marketing – and lead those motivated buyers to you.Read More
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