Local businesses need a different kind of web strategy.
When you are developing your web strategy, you need to ask this crucial question:
How important is the geographic proximity of your business location for the ability of customers to purchase or otherwise consume your product or service?
Examples of local businesses
A dine-in restaurant is a great example of a local business. People need to physically transport themselves to your restaurant in order to pay you money to eat your yummy food.
Similarly, chiropractic care is a local business: Your chiropractor can’t adjust your spine over the Internet or over the phone.
Nursing homes are also local businesses: Your children have to bring you there so that nurses, doctors, and physical therapists can take care of you.
Amazon, Facebook, and Google need local businesses — and vice versa
It is important to distinguish the products and services these kinds of local businesses provide from the products and services provided by companies such as Amazon, Google, or Facebook. These businesses would not be possible without the enormous innovations in logistics and telecommunications made during the 20th century.
Google and Facebook provide primarily intangible products and services which anyone who has a web-enabled computer can access. Indeed, Google and Facebook make the lion’s share of their revenue from advertising, which is itself an intangible service.
Amazon sells primarily tangible products (from books to bathrobes to brake systems). But they have figured out how to use telecommunications (mainly the Internet) and logistics (“the management of the flow of resources between the point of origin and the point of destination”) to make it incredibly convenient for their customers to buy whatever they need, whenever they need it, wherever they are.
But as you know, Google, Facebook, and Amazon have far from eliminated the need for local businesses. As long as people value food, drink, shelter, health, safety, and companionship, local businesses will continue to flourish. Only local businesses and organizations can provide the products and services necessary to allow people to fulfill these needs.
Is your business a local business?
So when I ask if your business is a “local business,” I really asking “what kind of product or service does your business provide?” If you routinely interact with customers at your place of business, your business is a local business.
This means that your local business might be a “mom and pop” locally owned and operated, such as Adams Chiropractic in Roanoke, VA or Rochester Plumbing and Heating in Rochester, MI. Or your local business might be a part of a regional or national chain, such as:
- Biggby Coffee in Dearborn, MI (a franchise primarily in the Great Lakes region of the US)
- GreatClips at Southwest Plaza in Roanoke, VA (an international franchise in the US and Canada)
- Chesapeake Health & Rehabilitation Center in Chesapeake, VA (owned by Medical Facilities of America, which has centers throughout Virginia and North Carolina)
- The Roanoke Valley Campus of American National University in Roanoke, VA (a chain of campuses throughout Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana)
Each of the six organizations I have mentioned above is a “local business” in the sense that it relies on interaction with customers at the physical place of business. In other words, people need to be able to find that business on a map.
Let’s sit down over coffee this month to discuss how you can get more customers by refining your web marketing strategy
Here’s the take-away for all you local business owners:
As I’ve shown previously, the web is becoming increasingly important for local businesses, because advances in computer hardware — i.e., smartphones and other mobile devices — make it possible for people to research local businesses anywhere, anytime.
If your business is a local business, and you want to get results from the web, you need to approach your web strategy differently than if you are a company such as Google or Facebook or Amazon.com.
Local search optimization is becoming one of our new core competencies here at IX Publishing. So if you are trying to get new customers at your local business, give us a phone call or send us an email, and we can sit down over coffee to talk about it.