"Near Me" Searches Have Increased 33x In 4 Years: Are You Reaching Potential Customers?

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Using relevant, local search ads is just one way to attract a greater mobile consumer base to your business.

Reaching local consumers has always been an important goal for local businesses. And today, there is an incredible opportunity to connect with consumers nearby. According to Google, the use of the term “near me” in searches has increased 33 times in the last 4 years

Reaching the right local audience is growing increasingly complex, especially as consumer buying and media behaviors continue to evolve. Consumers now consult an average of 10.7 sources of information before making a purchase decision. That’s 10 opportunities for your business has to get in front of a consumer before they buy—wherever and whenever they are looking for information.

So, how can you reach nearby consumers through today’s digital marketing opportunities? Here are five important ways local businesses can reach nearby consumers. 

Related Article: Local Online Marketing Strategies That Your Business Should Be Doing

1. Leverage Google Ad Extensions to Attract Searches with “Nearby” Ads

Research shows that mobile users prefer to use search engines when they are actively looking for a local business. So, it’s important to make sure that your business appears and appeals to nearby searchers.

One way to do this is with targeted, relevant local search ads. A new Google ad format called Nearby Ads is available for mobile search ads. It makes sure that ads which show up on mobile devices when users type local search queries show important details for mobile users, including how close the searcher is to the business, as well as a click to call button and link to open directions. 

To take advantage of these nearby ad formats, you need to make sure you are using location extensions, including your phone number in your search advertising campaign. This will help you drive nearby searchers to take action right from your ad and generate calls, leads and even foot traffic to your business.  

2. Claim Your Company in Google My Business to Get Found in Google Maps & Listings

The second most popular place mobile consumers are actively looking for local businesses is in maps, including Google Maps. It’s important to make sure your business shows up in this app, that the information displayed there is accurate, complete and updated.

local businesses, near me; Google Maps

If you haven’t, make sure your business information is updated and claimed via Google My Business. This will help ensure that your business information is accurate in Google listings and Google Maps which in turn provides nearby consumers—on both Web and mobile—have the right details about your business.

3. Advertise Real-Time, Nearby Offers in Apps

In addition to ensuring your business shows up in search when consumers are actively searching for a nearby company, make sure your business is seen by consumers on their mobile devices through mobile apps. In fact, 86 percent of smartphone time is spent in apps. So you need to make sure you’re reaching consumers in their favorite apps.

But how can you ensure your efforts there are really appealing to nearby customers?

Through in-app advertising, local businesses have the opportunity to deliver targeted, real-time offers to consumers in very close proximity to their businesses. You want to look for an in-app advertising solution that shows app users who see your ads their distance from your business in real time and that enables you to communicate a compelling message, like an offer or coupon. This can help you drive actual visits and sales to your business.

Related Article: 6 Reasons Mobile Apps Are Here to Stay

4. Optimize Your Website for Mobile & Drive Nearby Conversions

It’s also critical to have a mobile optimized website that is useful and appealing to nearby consumers who find your business when they search for you on a mobile device. One report showed that 61 percent of mobile users were more likely to contact a local business with a mobile site.

61% of mobile users statistic

Not only should your website look fantastic on a smartphone or tablet, but it should also readily display the information nearby consumers are looking for—your physical address, directions, hours and phone number. Plus, it should be built to capture leads from all your marketing efforts so you can get more than just clicks from your advertising.  

Related Article: M-Day is Almost Here: Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly Yet?

5. Develop Relevant Content that Connects to Consumers Micro-Moments of Need

Another opportunity businesses have to reach nearby consumers is through developing useful, relevant content that consumers are looking for in their daily lives. Google calls these “micro-moments,” and they represent a huge opportunity for businesses who are investing in creating the type of content consumers are looking for. Today, nearby consumers are using their smartphones to evaluate purchase decisions on the fly, to learn how to do things or use products, and to solve problems they face. Businesses that invest in creating and optimizing relevant content to reach these consumers in their moments of need have an incredible opportunity to influence the buying decision.

How Are You Reaching Nearby Customers?

In today’s digital landscape, it’s more important than ever for local businesses to think about how they’re reaching nearby customers. Thankfully, as the consumer buying journey continues to evolve, so do the methods and tools you can use to reach local customers. Are you using any of these tactics to build local awareness and drive traffic and leads to your business?

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