The Power of Using Google to Market Your Business

The Power of Using Google to Market Your Business

On June 14th, the Longview Chamber of Commerce and Advocate Digital Media hosted a workshop for small businesses looking for a digital advantage over their competitors. Over 30 business professionals attended and we don’t think it was just for the free lunch (although a pepperoni Pizza King would be reason enough!)

What these professionals were hoping to get from this lunch & learn were tips on how to market their business in this digital age; specifically, how to harness the power of the 800-pound gorilla that is Google. Here is a synopsis of what we learned during the live-streamed webinar from Mountain View, California:

Buyers are No Longer Delaying Purchases

The days of walking aimlessly from store-to-store in the local shopping center are over. How many times have you yourself researched a product or service online before handing over your hard-earned cash to someone behind a counter? It happens with most purchases these days. Google provided some very interesting stats that opened more that a few eyes in the darkened room on Wednesday.

  • 84% of “near me” searches on Google happen on a smartphone. That means that people are looking for stores nearby while they are out-and-about.
  • 3 out of every 4 local searches from a mobile device will result in visit to a local store within 24 hours.
  • One-quarter of those visits will result in a purchase.
  • Even though ecommerce is very popular with shoppers, 85% of all transactions still happen at the local retailer.

There has been a 53% decrease in store foot traffic over the past several years. However, the value of each store visit has doubled because shoppers have done their homework before visiting the store! Given these facts, it is imperative that businesses engage with these smartphone users. If your website, SEO, and/or Google listing aren’t optimized for mobile searches, you are losing the sale.

One Minute and Ten Seconds

Another interesting stat from the workshop is that the typical mobile session happens within one minute and ten seconds. That means that a business website must be able to get a visitor from the moment they visit the web to complete a transaction, be it an online shopping cart or filling out a form for lead generation, in about the amount of time it takes to microwave a burrito. Speed is the new SEO!

How Smart Businesses Compete

People are checking their smartphones 150 times per day, therefore you must stand out when these people are comparing your business with your competitors online. Here’s how to do just that:

  1. Have a compelling website. Make sure that it is updated to work on all screens. A “responsive designed” site will allow people on their mobile devices to be able to utilize your website just as easily as those dinosaurs on their desktop computers.
  2. Create a free business listing on Google. It will often be the first thing that comes up in a Google search when people search for your business. With a validated free business listing, the business owner gets full control over the information, such as address, phone, website link, hours of operation, photos, responding to reviews, and more.
  3. Get free organic results on a Google search by making sure that your site has undergone “Search Engine Optimization” or SEO. Make use of important keywords on your site that people would use when searching for your product or service. Don’t forget to include your location, since many people use the term “near me” in their mobile searches.
  4. Make use of Google AdWords to show up in a paid placement at the top of search results. Bidding on keywords that you and your competitors use will give your business an advantage. Use keywords that define a “micro-moment” - a few words that someone would use when trying to solve an immediate problem or need. As an added bonus, AdWords is “Pay Per Click” marketing so you only pay for the advertising when someone clicks on the ad.
  5. Find a Google Partner. There are several local Google Partners in each community who work closely with Google in helping SMBs in their cities. Don’t be overwhelmed by all there is to know. Take advantage of the knowledge and experience of a valid Google Partner.

As a Google Partner, we at Advocate Digital Media are here to help local small and medium-sized businesses with their marketing. ADM plans to have more of these Google workshops in the future and we would be very interested in seeing even more businesses participate.

More by Mark Bianchi