When I moved recently from California to Oregon, I needed to find everything all over again — stores and services where I could spend money. Some of the retailers I used in California aren’t in Oregon, so I needed to search out new options. Very few of the services were in both locations.
Where did I go for information? My new phone service (a triple play service, which might be another post) duly delivered Yellow Pages directories, but they sit here untouched. Instead, I have spent loads of time on the Internet with search engines, online directories and map services.
I was reminded of all this by a post from Janet Meiners Thaeler at Small Business Trends. She cites these statistis from Comscore as the top ways people find local businesses:
- 31% Visit a search engine – most research without a specific brand
or business name in mind and a specific location (i.e. a plumber in
- 30% Look up a business in print in the Yellow Pages or White Pages.
- 19% Use Internet directories – often to find a phone number.
- 11% Look at local search sites like Google Maps or Yahoo Local (usually to get driving directions).
- 3% Get information from a newspaper or magazine
Three out of the five ways, representing 61% of the findings, use the Internet. (The numbers don’t total 100% — I’m not sure what the remaining options were.) If you aim to get new business by any means other than referrals or cold-calling, you need to take another look at your website and make sure you are findable by and attractive to people who are looking for what you do.
I’m often surprised when someone starts a new business, and the launch of their website is somewhere down the list of priorities. It really needs to be up at the top, one of the very first things you do as you “open the doors” for business. Be sure to include an easy-to-find Contact link that leads to your phone number and address and a link to a map that shows people how to find you.