Where do New Customers Come from in the Era of Search Engine Marketing?
Your competitors may not be who you think they are. That’s right – those businesses you frequently bump into in sales situations may not be the competition you should be focused on. Sure, they do no doubt represent some level of competition. Customers who know you may be routinely going back and forth between you and your traditional competitors to get the best price or may make a choice based on the attractiveness of your signage or the location of your storefront, but do you know where most new prospects are going to find goods and services?
Everyone’s Researching the Internet for Businesses, Products, and Services They Need First!
The reality is that you are competing not just against local competitors, but with everyone on the internet as well.
Local service-oriented companies may believe they are immune. After all, how can an internet-based business compete with a plumbing, HVAC repair, or even a lawn care company? Internet marketing expert Lisa Barone of SmallBizTrends.com notes that 70% of consumers search the web first, even for local business information. Other studies claim numbers greater than 80%. While the true extent of that trend depends on the source you examine, you can realistically assume most consumers are looking for what they need online first.
You Can Ignore These Trends or You Can Adapt
So who are you competing with? Try a few searches in Google (If your email address is in the upper right hand corner of Google’s screen be sure and log out to eliminate whatever ‘personalized’ search results they may be serving first). Put on the hat of a potential customer, and leave out brand names and industry jargon. If the business you are researching relies on local customers, tack on “in cityname” to your search. Then, perform the same searches on Microsoft’s Bing.
What did you find? In a nutshell, those are the companies you are competing with for new business. Is your business on page one of the results?
If people can’t find your business for common search phrases, we can help!