How your Business can take advantage of the Buy Local Trend
Attitudes towards supporting our local businesses and local communities have strengthened since the pandemic, with more consumers making a conscious effort to buy more from businesses local to them.
This trend has been exacerbated by the fact that there are many more of us working from home as a result of the lockdowns here in the UK, resulting in a higher demand for services local to us.
Google Search Trends in the UK
The Buy Local trend has been evidenced by consumers searching more on Google for specific products and services NEAR where they are and especially since the lockdown started in March 2020.
More consumers are looking to shop locally using search terms such as ‘nearby’ or ‘near me’ as the screenshot below shows:
Screenshot from UK Google Trends comparing search phrases “what is open” and “open near me” from September 2019 – August 2020 shows a marked increase in searches for “open near me”
How to take advantage of this trend if you’re a Small Business or Startup
The Buy Local trend is great news for you, if you’re a business owner serving your local community.
As a local business, how do you become more visible online, to your local consumers?
Remember the consumers who conduct these Google searches do have an intention to buy what local businesses have to offer.
Whether you’re a law firm, accountant, local club or a shop, if you want more local customers you’ll need to be more searchable, locally.
Google my Business
One effective way of gaining local visibility and searchability is to make sure your Google my Business (GMB) profile is set up and optimised.
GMB is a free advertising tool that allows you to create, verify and edit a business listing in Google, without needing to do extra work to your website, be a technology wizzard or an SEO expert.
Google developed GMB as a way to make it easier for searchers to get the information they need about local products and services, quickly.
Depending on your industry category, Google allows you to include a call to action device such as an external appointment booking or food ordering feature which can be easily plugged into your GMB page.
These features are designed to make it all the more convenient for searchers to buy from the business. As an example, you may have noticed that, when you google a restaurant local to you, that restaurant’s GMB page has a button linked to Deliveroo, an online food delivery service.
Within seconds and a few clicks, Google brings up that restaurant’s GMB page, displays the menu and offers a food delivery service to your door. Great if you’re hungry and are in a hurry!
How will Google my Business help you?
GMB allows your business to be discoverable locally – your customers and prospects are online so Google is where they’ll typically start their search for your product or service.
It also allows you to keep your customers informed of your business’ availability i.e. your opening hours and how to reach you.
Google prioritises Covid-19 related announcements ahead of other content you post on your GMB page – a good opportunity to reassure your customers of procedures you’ve put in place to be Covid-safe
GMB helps you build consumer confidence and trust with your customers and does this through reviews that others post about your business. To anticipate commonly asked questions from your customers, you can also set up an FAQ section on your account
Speaking of FAQs, here are 3 questions I’m often confronted with at my GMB webinars, which may help if you’re still skeptical…
But what if…
“My office or shop is shut due to the lockdown, I don’t need this now”
Answer: if you do have a shop or office which is temporarily shut or your opening hours are restricted, this is a good time to work on your GMB. As with most Marketing activities, it’ll take time and in this case, several weeks to months for your efforts to start bearing results.
“My business operates from home, will Google my Business be able to help me?”
Answer: home-based businesses, like any traditional location-based business, can benefit from a GMB account
“My business address is my home address but I don’t want to publish this on Google”
Answer: you can benefit from setting up and optimising your GMB account without publishing your home address.
As a business owner, have you taken full advantage of this free advertising tool to attract new enquiries from local customers?
If you haven’t already, you’ll need to include GMB in your marketing toolkit.
Don’t miss this opportunity and let your local competitors get ahead of you because they’ve optimised their business listings on GMB.
Find out where your Business stands on Google
If you’d like to get started, whether it’s to set up a GMB account, optimising your account or checking your account to see what needs to be done, you can get a quick snapshot of where your business stands on Google. And get in touch with us if you need help or have a question.
This is a machine generated report that will:
- benchmark your website against the top 10 ranked businesses in your area so you’ll know where you stand
- audit the most powerful online directories and reports back on whether you do or don’t have a business listing there. If you do, we check if your information is complete and consistent, and highlight any errors so you know what needs fixing.
- provide key SEO indicators that play a big part in how high your business ranks in search engine results.
There’s more to the report too – to find out more, download the Local Search Audit Report now. And don’t forget to let me know how you get on with it.
This is a guest post from Joyce Ong
About Joyce Ong
Joyce runs Marketing Tech, a Marketing Consultancy for small and medium sized businesses. Together with technology partners in the UK, they deliver solutions such as App, Web and Search Engine Optimisation services.
Marketing Tech is more than an app developer, web developer, or SEO provider – they work with the business providing 360 degree Marketing Advice to ensure you and your team will generate results from your marketing investment.
Joyce has more than twenty-five years of Corporate and SME marketing experience in Singapore, Zurich and London, a passion for marketing technology and uses her experience and skills to champion SMEs and facilitate digital transformation within organisations.