Local SEO – Still not convinced about internet marketing?

Are you still sitting on the fence waiting on someone to drag you into the world of online marketing? Have you dipped your toes in? Maybe you have a half-ass website which no-one can find, a Facebook fan page that is still wishing everyone Happy New Year or a Google Places page which hasn’t been claimed? Apologies for all the wild generalisations but these are cases that we come across all too often, especially here in rural Ireland (generalisation no.4!). I believe it is actually counter-productive to start trying to market your business online unless you have a clear understanding of what is involved and are at least someway committed to persevering with it to achieve an end goal or target.

As my dear mother often reminds us “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right” (I think the more common version is “……worth doing well” but we live in Donegal!). Anyway, the same applies to a business’ efforts at online marketing. A poor/dated website is a bad reflection on the business itself. Same applies to a stale FB fan page or an only partially complete Google Places page. Likewise, a beautifully designed, interactive and informative website is only beneficial if the people searching for it can find it easily.

Here is a very simple graph which I found on Matt McGee’s blog which demonstrates the correlation between the level of web/online marketing input and growth in sales. Ireland is not one of the respondent nations but the results are plain to be seen.
SMB : Web Engagement Sales growth correlation
I recently conducted a (small!) survey on Facebook asking “How do people search for local products and services?” to which 100% of respondents replied “Google”. Over two thirds of these then went on to say they use Google every day! Admittedly this survey is not entirely conclusive but it at least helps to prove that people here in rural Ireland are no different to our counterparts in Europe and the US.

Although we live in small towns where word of mouth and long-standing reputations are still large influences in the decision making process, people still go online to source more information about the local products and services that are available to them. The harsh fact of the matter is that if your competitor has invested in developing a good online presence, are competitive price-wise and have user generated reviews or testimonials clearly visible, there is every likelihood that customer will be attracted elsewhere.

If those aren’t reason enough to convince business owners of the importance of getting online, Google’s recent study titled: “Our Mobile Planet: Ireland, Understanding the Mobile Consumer” should make every business owner sit up and take notice. Smartphone penetration is currently at 43% of the entire population, 61% of these access the internet every day and most never leave home without it.

Ireland smartphone usage 2012

Local Business Implications
89% of smartphone users look for local information on their phone and 90% take action as a result, such as making a purchase or contacting the business. If your business isn’t visible in these searches,  you might as well not exist! (ok maybe a slight over-dramatisation but not by much!).

Smartphone local offline sales correlation Ireland 2012

If you are a business owner….Get your ass online! It’s not even a matter of choice any more, it’s a necessity!

It doesn’t need to cost you a fortune. In fact it doesn’t need to cost you a penny, there’s enough information in my Google Places set up guide to help anyone claim and optimise their own Google Places listing if you’d like to do it yourself.

Are you a business owner who has dabbled with internet marketing without success? Are you aware of the possible benefits but unsure what approach to take? Maybe you think online marketing is a complete waste of time…whatever your views, feel free to ask questions, leave your opinions and share if you liked it. Thank you.

SEO & Local Online Marketing Consultant 

SEO, local search marketing consultant & search geek from Donegal, Ireland. Love gadgets, keeping up to date with Google's algorithm changes & all things internet.

Sean P. Fullerton

SEO, local search marketing consultant & search geek from Donegal, Ireland. Love gadgets, keeping up to date with Google's algorithm changes & all things internet.

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