I had an interesting experience at a business networking meeting. The keynote speaker was Sandy Poolevorde from Boyd's Funeral Services in Campbell River, @funeralscr on Twitter. As part of her presentation, she split the room into three groups of people and challenged them to find cremation pricing from different companies in the area. In the five minutes allotted, only one group was able to find out pricing from one area business.
The thing that really affirmed what I have been talking about with my clients for a long time, is the method that everybody in the group of about 20 people used to find the information they wanted. The guidelines were simple, we could use any means possible with the resources we had in the same room, to find out the information we needed. In the end, all but one person searched on Google, with that one exception searching Yahoo (Bing). Nobody searched social media, nobody used a phone book. Without even thinking about what they were doing, pretty much the entire room reached for their phones to search on Google. This group of people was from many different demographics. There were 30-somethings who were very tech & social savvy, to almost-retired folks who don't do much online.
Be Where Your Customers Are Looking
A common theme I hear with many of my clients is they are not sure if their marketing is working. These are people who often utilize a broad range of traditional media and are seeing declining sales over the long term. My question to those businesses is usually, "Where are your customers looking for you?". The exercise at the networking event today demonstrated really well that consumers are looking on Google for what they want. A business that isn't showing up on the first page of a Google search for terms relevant to a consumer is quite simply leaving money on the table. A business that can put themselves in front of consumers who are actively searching for those products and services makes it easier for people to buy from them, and this is reflected on the bottom line.
My Challenge to You: Google Your Business
Search for your business name and see where you place in the results.
Search for products or services your company offers with a variety of search phrases.
How does your business measure up in Google?
What a Good Job Looks Like
Your search results are "above the fold" meaning visible without scrolling down.
Local business listings above traditional results display your business (for bricks & mortar businesses).
All your products and services are highly visible in the search results for all your target demographics.
Your website is the most prominent search result for your company, not social media pages, phone listing sites, or other directories.
What About Social?
Social media is a great way to build credibility, grow relationships, and stay in the forefront of people's mind, even when they are not searching for your business. However, as demonstrated today, the natural instinct of most people who want information, is to use Google.