What Does ‘Near Me’ Mean For Your Business?
Online Channels and Goals and How to Make Them Work For Your Business
What do people do online? Which of those activities should you pay most attention to? Let’s take a quick look at common apps and the user goals they support best.
- Facebook/YouTube/Pinterest/TikTok = Browsers seeking casual information consumption and learning. Great to communicate and build brand awareness.
- Amazon/Walmart/eBay/etsy/Shopify = Shoppers looking at price/availability for product purchase decisions. Competitors or distribution channels for your products.
- Google Search = Users looking for solutions to problems and answers to questions. Very focused audience for your relevant services.
As a small or medium-size business (SMB), one of the above scenarios is likely much more important to your core business. The other two channels can’t be ignored and should be developed to support the business as much as possible, but let’s look a little closer at how businesses can and should be using Google Search and their business website to improve their company’s performance.
Almost by definition, SMB’s rely on local communities and potential customers ‘near’ them for their success. When you search on Google for your business or business category, just as a potential customer would, you’ll see something like the ‘autocompleted’ results below.
Google Search shows you the most common phrases from people who have been searching on that topic. When a business owner enters the first few words to describe their business, most are surprised to see that ‘near me’ is first or very high on the list. The same goes for Bing.com search, so it’s not just a quirk of Google, as you can see in the second screenshot.
How can you use this information to enhance the visibility of your business?
There are three primary activities that will help get your business show up on the results page when a users conducts a ‘Near Me’ search.
1 – Register, and develop a very clear, descriptive and regularly updated listing on Google My Business.
2 – Register the same way for Bing Places for Business and be sure to include any information you can about specific changes or steps you’re taking to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Bing and Google both reward consistent and relevant updates, so be sure to adjust your listings whenever you make a change.
You obviously can’t use the exact term ‘near me’ on your website to try and match a user’s search. Search engines replace the ‘near me’ with a user’s current location if it’s known. On a cell phone it’s easy since the GPS in the phone is usually available to the browser. On a PC, search engines can get an approximate location based on your internet service provide and computer’s address and other facts.
3 – The third way to leverage the ‘near me’ search trend is to be sure your company name and location are listed together wherever possible.
Confirm your business is listed, with as much detail as possible, in every directory you can find. Adding a slogan to your marketing like ‘Serving Rockville since 2002‘ or ‘Silver Spring’s Premier Tailor‘ can help as long as it’s true and relevant and consistently used across all marketing.
There are also many other effective ways to improve your online presence for local customers ranging from creating Facebook Groups up to running paid advertising, online and offline, to just your target zip codes.
Understanding how your prospective customers look for products or services you provide is always the first step in maximizing your chances of landing them as a new customer. Being found and then exceeding their expectations is how you will be able to keep them for years to come.
We, at DMV Thrives, can help local businesses make the most of their marketing budgets to have the best chance to remain open through these unprecedented challenges. Let us know if you’d like to learn more.