You’ve just bought a beautiful house and are keen on making a few improvements that will give the new place a homely feel. Is there anyone in the area that builds fireplaces? There probably is, but who? You are most likely thinking – Easy! I can just take out my phone and Google “Fireplaces Nottingham”.
That would certainly be the first instinct for many people. But, what happens to the fireplace companies in Nottingham that aren’t listed on the first page of Google or simply don’t have an online presence? Well, they can’t be chosen if they are nowhere to be found.
If I’m looking for a service you provide, would I find your business online? Whether you install fireplaces or change tyres it is of the utmost importance that you are aware of how your customers are finding your business. But how many businesses are actually monitoring this and how many are taking full advantage of that data? We were extremely curious to find out.
Then on Friday 17th May, the perfect opportunity presented itself. The Success Local team attended the Midlands Business Network in Leicester at the King Power Stadium. The event featured a variety of like-minded local businesses who share the desire to grow and connect with their audience. It was wonderful to meet each and every one of them and to learn all about their journey and goals.
We believed the Expo was the ideal setting to explore how many local businesses tracked their leads, so we went around and surveyed them.
How Many Believed They Would Be Found Online?
If I’m looking for a service you provide, would I find your business online? In this day and age, given the importance of having an online presence, it was of no surprise that around 88% of the businesses we surveyed said yes.
Some businesses were more confident than others, however, ultimately when we asked “are you sure?” they all answered, “I hope so”. This leads us to believe that they were all in common agreement in regards to the importance of having a strong online presence.
This belief was even shared by the 12% who immediately answered: “no, you wouldn’t find us”. Some added that it was the next step in their business plan and one respondent argued that it would harm their brand positioning.
How? You may be asking. Well, it is actually quite interesting. This particular participant worked in the print industry and their lead generation efforts were solely focused on referrals. They didn’t want to be found online by queries such as “Cheap Printing services Loughborough” as they felt it didn’t represent their brand. On the other hand, who better to promote quality than a satisfied client? This is a brilliant strategy, however, we can’t help to think that after a friend’s recommendation most people would still go looking for the business online even if it is just to see the address. So in this case, we would still recommend having an online presence that is optimised for referral traffic.
It is also important to mention that we ensured all of the data we collated related to local SMEs in a development stage. We did ask a bewildered business representative if we would find his business online, but that was before we realised that we were talking to Lloyd’s Bank. Of course we would, and of course, he was very surprised, after all, he did have the company’s logo embroidered in his shirt, we just failed to spot it!
Lloyd’s Bank is a household name and most users wouldn’t even google “Banks London” they would just search for the brand’s name. As Lloyd’s is a large organisation, they have completely different goals to a local SME, which is why their digital marketing efforts also follow a much broader strategy. On the other hand, local SEO is a powerful tool that uses a tailored approach that can give local businesses a competitive edge.
How Many Of Them Did We Find?
Once we knew if the respondent believed that his business would be found online we moved on to a testing stage. We inserted a service they provide and the area in which they operate into the Google search bar and searched for them on the first page of Google.
If we exclude the 12% who immediately replied that they wouldn’t be found (we checked and they indeed didn’t), out of all of the participants, who said yes we only found 67% of them online. This means that 33% of the businesses who believe they would be found weren’t found. The ones who knew that their business didn’t use digital services weren’t very surprised, while the others seemed confused and expressed concern.
Furthermore, if we look even closer at the data, only 59% of the businesses we surveyed appeared on either the first or the second page of Google.
How Did We Find Them?
When a search engine returns its search results, it gives you three main types:
To have your business listed in the organic results you could be using professional digital services, such as SEO, which was a case for 24% of the businesses, or not doing any marketing like 6% admitted. In total, including the one who weren’t sure if they were using digital services, 47% of businesses were found in the organic results. Organic search results are essentially unpaid listings. The results shown by the search engine depend on how closely they match the user’s query and how relevant it can be. If you have a quality website, that provides a fantastic user experience and contains relevant content – you are on the right track.
When done correctly, PPC (pay-per-click) can significantly increase your conversions, however, only 6% of the businesses were found in the paid section of the search results. Paid results as you must have already guessed, are paid. They work via an auction system and can be told apart from organic results by visual clues such as their position above or to the right of the organic results.
You may have noticed that there is another section, in the middle of the search results, that doesn’t quite look the same as the other results. It shows three businesses listings within a box and features their address, phone and website with buttons linking to the relevant actions. This is named the map pack and it provides a great opportunity to local businesses to stand out. It is also not a simple process and it involves a well-defined strategy. We found 12% of the survey’s participants on the map pack.
The survey’s results exposed that most of the local businesses believed they were being found online by their potential customers. However, even though almost all of them seemed to agree on the importance of a strong online presence, only a few were correct. Tracking your leads is extremely important as it is the first step to find out what works for your business and what doesn’t.
This especially curious when comparing the results of this survey with the data we collected on a previous Midlands Business Networking Expo at the Ricoh Arena. We discovered that over 70% of the participants found their website to be either important or very important in the process of generating new leads. However, for new leads to be generated, your website needs to be found first. Take a look through the full article to find out more.
For further information and advice on how you can further your business with digital marketing please feel free to get in touch with our friendly team. If you want to find out more about local SEO, paid ads, web design and much more make sure to check out our Marketing Mondays posts and Web Wednesdays for useful tips and hints.