Local Services Businesses: Why You MUST Have a Web Presence
Much of the material I’ve covered on here to date has focused on higher level concepts such as social media, marketing, public relations, entrepreneurship, etc. However, in recent discussions with local services businesses (electricians, auto mechanics, etc.), I learned than many of them do not truly understand the power of the internet over old contact methods such as the Yellow Pages.
Now, for those of us who are comfortable with and well versed in the online world, this may seem like a surprise. If you work in a high tech hardware or software company, a Fortune 2000 enterprise, or any profession that relies on the exchange of data or information, your business simply cannot operate without an online presence. But for local services businesses, the most common sources of leads mentioned to me were the phone book, word of mouth, and local advertising.
So, if these businesses are seeing success with the old school, tried and true methods, why am I insisting they go online?
Forget the Past; This is About Tomorrow
Sometimes, a change happens and we simply need to be on top of it. That’s what is happening now.
20 years ago, you could do everything in print. Word of mouth was offline, typically in the form of verbal referrals from one customer to another prospect. There was no simple way to scale this process, and most certainly no way to push yourself to the forefront of the yellow pages, except for buying premium space in the print publication. In the end, everything was based on purchasing ad space, and then hoping you did good enough work for your customers to pass along the word.
Now, there is a wellspring of opportunity before us. Your website can be set up and left to gather leads on your behalf. Potential customers are out there searching for the services that you do…when they are already ready to buy and interested. And those searches are moving online at an alarming rate, as evidenced by the financial difficulties we are seeing with many of the providers of business phone books / yellow pages.
You have the opportunity to help them fix whatever problem they have that suits your skill set. All you need to do is find a way to get in front of them at this important time.
What Does a Web Presence Give You?
The vast majority of these types of searches have already moved online. But Google is getting smart and starting to parse out search results based on where you are or where you want to find a service provider. There are a variety of ways to get your business listed in the local search results, and there are proven methods to move yourself to the first page of the rankings. That is where nearly all of the leads go – to the vendors who show up on page one.
The trick is not just to launch a website blindly and hope it works. If you go about that incorrectly, very few people will find the site without you providing them the URL. Considering this is a way to generate new business, that’s clearly not how you want it to work.
What you need is a properly structured and built website, with everything optimized for the search engines to place you among the top results in your locale. You need to be included in the right online services and directories. Other websites must link to you, but only the right websites with relevant content to your topic area or profession. And you need a supporting marketing strategy to harvest the leads from the website, nurture them along until ready to hire you, and close the deal.
This is the first in a series of posts I will be authoring, all focused on the opportunity available today for local services businesses. In this series, I will dig into many of the topics that need to be addressed in detail to get this right. Bookmark Return On Now today (or sign up for the RSS or email list), and come back to follow along with the series as it plays out.
I am also available to help you implement the strategies I’m about to lay out for you. If you want to investigate working together, please contact me directly via email: tommy (at) returnonnow (dot) com.
- Yellow Pages do battle with Google in local search (usatoday.com)
- The State of the Yellow Pages Print Industry (webpronews.com)
- Yellow Page Industry Sets Up “Do Not Deliver” Site (mikemoran.com)
- Which One is Better Between SEO and Yellow Pages (ronmedlin.com)