Business Development Consultant, Steve Pohlit, advises all companies to have a website with local search information now. The trends are clear. Conduct this experiment on your own. Simply ask 10 people how they would locate an apparel store, car wash, CPA, shoe repair shop, dry cleaner, attorney, etc. Even if they know the name of the business but do not know the address, ask them how they would find the address. There is a good chance 70% or more of the people you ask will say they search on-line.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Google and Yahoo are making major investments in local search “rushing to add more consumer information about local businesses”. Yahoo has www.local.yahoo.com and Google recently changed from Local to Maps which can be found at www.maps.google.com
Yahoo is building local town squares where users share information about local businesses. Google is accumulating local business information that is already posted elsewhere on line.
If you have a business, you must have domain name and at least one page that provides information on the type of business, products and services offered, location and contact information. Information about your business is going to be available on-line soon, if it is not already there. It is better for you to be in the driver seat as to what is published.
The cost of having an on line presence is no longer an excuse. The entire process can be accomplished for much less than the cost of a yellow page listing. In fact, I am registering domain names for $8.00 a year and hosting a web site can be done for $100 a year or less plus most hosting packages include an email and the ability to set up a blog. Essential design can be done less than $100 assuming the business owner gives the designer basic information. If you need additional information on setting up websites or hosting websites, email me and I will help you.
I have discussed the major opportunity for most companies is previous articles, but here it is again: use your website to provide detailed information about your business, offer visitors a reason to register with your business and then develop a communication strategy with your subscribers. This process will increase revenue and profits. It will dramatically increase revenue and profits when you also capture the contact information of people physically visiting your business and people buying from you. That is the entire basis for the business model presented at www.localretailmarketing.com The principle applies to national companies as most market to their customers in local communities.
Here is one example of a national restaurant business headquartered in Tampa, Florida. Most people are familiar with the name Outback Steakhouse. You may not know the names of their other divisions which include: Carrabbaâ€™s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, Roy’s and more. The St. Petersburg Times reported that Outback was concerned about the performance trends of their flagship business, Outback Steakhouse. To further understand the basis for these trends, the company hired a consulting firm to study trends and evaluate customer perception of the business. It was not reported how long this study took or cost. It simply said it was conducted in 2005 and the results are being reported in 2006.
You can monitor customer reaction to your business daily without any special studies when you have a communication program in place. For example, in the restaurant business you could offer an incentive to come in and eat. That incentive can be tracked. When the customer who received the incentive in their email, redeems it you can link it to a survey. The survey can be conducted while they are in the restaurant or afterwards with a follow-up message that includes a big, warm thank you for your visit. This is not hard to do. What must be in place is a culture that reacts to what the your customers are telling you. They will spend money with you when they know you care.
Steve Pohlit is a CPA,MBA and has been the CFO of several major domestic and international companies. Today Steve is an expert business consultant focused on helping companies improve their business performance including growing profits, revenues and customers. For a FREE 6 week mini course where you will receive 10 easy to implement action steps guaranteed to increase business revenue and profits by at least 30% in the next 90 days, please visit www.StevePohlit.com All articles published by Steve unless specifically restricted may be freely published with this resource information.