I’m writing this post while visiting my parent’s home in Canada for the Christmas holidays in 2010. While I’m reflecting on our accomplishments of 2010, our vision for 2011, the changes in 2010 and what the future might hold, I was surprised when my father picked up the phone book to find the phone number to a local establishment to order some grub. I let him find the right page in the yellow pages before I opened my computer screen, and the race was on. It took me less than 15 seconds to open my computer, navigate to Google.com and type in the name of the business, hit enter and read the information out loud before he could find the listing on the page, that he was already on.
Why in 2010, someone who was managing a Computerland retail chain in 1984, owns a brand spankin new iMac and MacBook Pro, an XP laptop and XP desktop and a windows 7 laptop….still uses the darn phone book! Oh yeah, they’re owners of some fancy wireless devices as well. So the question becomes, why are we moving into 2011, 19 years after the inception of the public Internet, that it’s still so common to use the phone book? Even worse, why are less than 10% of SME’s in North America adopting Internet Marketing practices? What’s even more surprising, a recent study by BIA/Kelsey reveals that, get this
97% of consumers research products online
Sure, these are people that are already online, but 77% of Americans are online, increasing at an average rate of almost 5% increase year over year for the last 10 years. Yet it still gets better! Kelsey has also reported, in 2010, that 90% on local consumers are using search engines (Google has a whooping 66%) 48% use Online Yellow Pages, 42% use comparison shopping and 25% are using vertical websites.
In addition, over the years, consumers are using 7.9 different sources to find information about local products and services! To add to this, the Google-Groupon failed deal of $6 billion left many people wonder what the heck Groupon knew that other’s didn’t, why they’d turn away $6 billion for a two year old company generating $600 million in revenue. What the heck is going on??? Are you seeing what’s going on here? This reminds me of the milk industry in the early 80’s. Farmers around the country needed to sell more milk, so they created a demand for calcium.
Still in 2010, most offline business owners are clueless to the opportunities online.
They may not be an online business, but their customers are online! Plain and simple. There are tremendous opportunities online for SME, small business, local business, brick and mortars, whatever you want to call them. This is definitely a surprise for me though. Why did we have to wait until 2011 for this to be the top rated trend of 2011 by one of the top leading Search Marketing websites? yeah, our friends at Search Engine Land rated this. I would say they are right, by a long shot.
However, as a brick and mortar myself, I reflect back to 6 years ago when I got my first brick and mortar to #1 for a lucrative keyword with a geomod. I mean, concepts like NAPAREX emerged in many local markets quickly even in 2008. What about 2011? Well, open up the Yellow Pages in my town in Lake in the Hills, IL and I find two full pages for a local dentist…hmmm, maybe $1500 a month for this ad? How come if they are reviewed online, searched online and decided upon online, they don’t show up on the first SERP for their top keyword (Dentist) with their Geomods? Bottom line is that local companies are operating in the most dangerous quadrant of the circle of knowledge.
These business owners DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW! That is scary! So what is being done? Well, let’s consider the behemoth of Internet Marketers…Google! In mid 2010, the Google Small Business Blog was introduced.
The fourth quarter we saw Google Boost introduced. We saw the integration of Google Places into the main SERPs. We saw test after test after test after test in the local SERPs (follow Mike Blumenthals). We saw Yelp saw a 50% increase in traffic and practically DOUBLED the number of reviews in one year. We witnessed the previously mentioned company called Groupon, who generated more than $600M in revenue in 2010 (prorated for 12/10).
We saw the introduction of Local Internet Marketing education like Local Marketing Source, Nitro Marketing, Traffic Geyser and IM leadership among several others emerge. We saw introductions of new advertising mediums like Google TV in our living rooms, Mobile OS’s skyrockets and smartphone usage exploded past laptop usage among executives!
We learned Google was actually calling local businesses to verify listings! Google couldn’t even crack the automated local business code and needed to get some human power in to garner the best online database. To your left, was a Google employee I met on a business trip in Buffalo, when I learned in October 2010 that they were taking pictures of companies on the inside. Here’s a link to get them to come to your local business.
I could go on with the changes in 2010, but this one is the blatantly obvious move by the 800 pound gorilla as to what is really going on here. Check this out, our favorite Internet Marketer resorts to direct mail!!! Google mails 50,000 businesses information about being a favorite place! Alright, so is the picture being painted here? I hope I’ve provided enough evidence to demonstrate exactly what the message is here.
Local Business don’t yet get it, but the rest of the world does!
For a variety of reasons, many of which could take up a entire post, brick and mortars haven’t yet jumped on. This is great, adoption or change takes time, right? Well, this is the perfect storm for local Internet Marketing. There is no doubt that 2011 and 2012 are going to be massive years for brick and mortars getting online to gain more business.
Oh yeah, aren’t we in the greatest recession of our lifetime? Isn’t that further motivation for a local company to explore a new avenue of revenue in Q1 2011?
You decide, I’m already convinced.
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