Local Shoppers Depend on Online Media

The internet is truly becoming part of everyday life.  According to a tracking study done by BIA/Kelsey and Conmstat, nearly 97 percent use online media when researching products or services in their local area.  This is broken down further to the types of media that consumers are using.  90 percent use search engines, 48 percent are using internet Yellow pages, 24 percent are using vertical sites and 42 percent use comparison shopping sites.

Even more telling is the number of places a consumer will search online.  The average number of places a customer searches is up to 7.9 sources when shopping for products or services in their local area.  That’s grown from 6.5 sources in 2009.  So, it looks like consumers are taking more time to make a buying decision.  This makes sense in today’s economy, with consumers holding onto their money more and wanting to make the right decision with whatever cash they choose to spend.  Showing up in multiple search engine results is key to getting more leads.   Optimizing your site for multiple keywords is essential.  No more than three keywords per page.  Look for another post on that.  But, it’s also important to have a presence in the local directories as well.

Local business need to keep these results in mind when developing their local marketing plan both online and offline.  Obviously, it’s a mistake to ignore the online marketing potential.  In fact, not developing an online presence can put a business at a significant disadvantage.  Customers are looking for different ways to interact with businesses.  According to the same survey, 58% of respondents are using online coupons.  Even making appointments online is increasing, with 19% booking and appointment other than a restaurant reservation.

This is developing into significant opportunities to get your local business in the minds of potential customers.  By using coupons and making available a booking engine on your site, you can increase customer interaction and improve lead capture.  By utilizing numerous avenues online to list your business, you will show up more in the Search Engine Results Pages and more times on each page if you are diligent.

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