Local search is powerful. We talked about the statistics recently that show that 25% of people who search for a product or service near them purchase something. That’s a super high conversion rate compared to the percent of people who click through an ad. But let’s carve that local search demographic out and focus specifically on non-locals who travel to your town. It came to my attention when I read this case study from the Local Search Association regarding how non-locals find businesses near them when they are traveling. The article highlights a few interesting statistics:
- Visitors (on average) spend 2x as much as locals for products and services
- Visitors overwhelmingly (as much as 94%) find places to go via mobile search
If you are a local business, think about your current marketing strategy as it relates to this demographic. Especially if you are a restaurant or bar, where as much as 33% of your daily traffic is likely visitors and not locals.
- Are you advertising in local news sites? It’s likely that these visitors will never see your ad, since they don’t know who the local news sites are.
- Do you advertise on table mats in diners? These visitors will see your ad, but since they are already eating, they certainly aren’t looking for a place to eat. And given the short amount of time they are staying in town, what’s the likelihood they will need your product or service?
Do you advertise on Yelp or TripAdvisor? Unless the visitor is a power user of those sites, they’d have to do a search, click on a Yelp or TripAdvisor page, and then see your ad.
None of these are bad per se, but the likelihood of engaging a visitor is very low. However, given that a large majority of these visitors do their discovery via mobile search, have you thought about how to show up in the organic search results? That is where their eyeballs are going.
One of the suggestions in the article is to make sure your citations are up to date. We’ll go a step further – make sure you are listed on your local digital publisher’s site, and that you are keeping that content current and fresh. Your local publisher has all the information that these visitors could need – information about events, products, services and businesses. And the likelihood that your business will show up for a “near me” search on that local publisher’s site is higher if you have an active presence.
The best part is that this strategy works for the locals too – because they do “near me” searches as well. It’s a highly complementary strategy to your current advertising and the “hit rate” is much higher. This isn’t even a matter of suggesting you cover all the bases to bring new customers into your business; it’s a matter of covering the highest percentage opportunity to attract visitors. What are you waiting for?