If you’re a local business, you want to know where people go to find your business and other businesses like yours online. According to a research study conducted by CityGrid Media and Harris Interactive, Google continues to be the top place on the web that US consumers look to find local business information. In fact, 43% of US consumers turn to local search to find local businesses, while BrightLocal found that a staggering 59% of internet users in general search on Google at least once a month to find a business.
In addition, the study found that:
- At 43%, Google Places beat out Yellow Pages (30%), Review Sites (13%), Facebook (12%) and Twitter (2%) as the top online source US consumers check before visiting a business.
- A recommendation from a friend influenced 52% of US consumers to try a local business.
- The location of the business was a factor for 10% of US consumers in deciding whether or not to visit a business, while 8% said that a deal influenced their decision.
What this means for Local Businesses
While Google Places is a hugely important place for local businesses to be in order to be found online, it’s the word-of-mouth (friend) recommendations that have the ability to influence 52% of US consumers to visit a particular business. First, in order to be found on Google, a business needs to address local SEO opportunities such as claiming and optimizing their Google Place Page, and a myriad of other items which this local SEO presentation outlines.
Secondarily, a local business needs to focus their attention on creating and retaining happy, loyal customers, who will become word-of-mouth marketers for the company (and pass along their recommendation to a friend). And, if you take leaf out of this business’s book, as noted in Andy Sernovitz’s blog, they actually educate their customers on how to become word-of-mouth marketers for the company. Either way, it’s a process that should become a core piece of any local business’s online strategy – the numbers speak for themselves.