Local Businesses Must Change with the Times

Posted on January 2, 2014

local marketing

For the times, they are a-changin’

The only constant in life is change.

The 21st century, however, has one slight difference: change is not constant. It’s exponential.

The reason?

Easy.

The Internet.

“Duh,” you may interject, “everyone uses the internet. So what’s your point?”

Simple: local businesses must have a digital presence. In other words, how local businesses market must change. Whether you manage your city’s local McDonalds or you own a hardware store or you plan to open a new business, internet marketing is your avenue for future sales.

Statistics Don’t Lie.

Don’t believe me?

Watch this video.

In case you missed that, here’s the highlights:

  • 9 years ago, YouTube, Facebook, and Google Plus did not exist; today, they collectively receive 997,000,000 unique visitors every month.

  • Compare that to the 6,000,000 unique visitors who watch CNN, NBC, and ABC.

  • Now, compare that to the 105,750,00 unique visitors who watch CNN, NBC, and ABC online.

  • Printed newspaper circulation has decreased by 7,000,000 readers over the last 25 years. They are losing to online newspapers, which have increased by 30,000,000 readers in the last 5 years.

  • In 2006, Google had 2.7 billion searches conducted every month. In 2013, Google has 100 billion. That’s 14 times more than the world’s population.

  • “The computer in your cellphone is 1,000,000 times cheaper and 1,000 times more powerful and about 100,000 times smaller than the one computer at MTI in 1965. So what used to fit in a building now fits in your pocket, what fits in your pocket now will fit inside a blood cell in 25 years.” —Ray Kurvweil

Whereas before, flyers, word-of-mouth, and a flashy storefront were your main local marketing tactics, the internet gives you something else: web front. 

Your Website is your #1 Salesperson

You just bought a new JVC stereo for your 2004 Honda Civic.

You have the wires, the crimper, the harness. You’ve spliced the wires, double checked to ensure they are right, installed the stereo. You turn on the car.

Nothing happens.

The stereo fails to turn on. No sound, no lights, nothing.

It’s 11:37 p.m. on New Years Day. Will  JVC  pick up their customer service calls? Of course not. JVC’s office “will be closed, in observance of the holiday.”

What will you do? Easy. You’ve got internet, you can work Google, you know how to ask a question. And unless JVC has an adequate website (or troubleshooting page) to receive you, they will most likely lose your interest.

Your website, then, should be your number one salesperson. You cannot have employees by their phones 24/7, taking calls, answering questions, informing people of specials. That’s why you have a website.

1. Keep it Clean.

Since your website is like your storefront, treat it like a storefront. You don’t want spray paint all over your windows, trash everywhere, ugly mannequins guarding the door. No, you want to look organized, professional, inviting.

According to a study by Stanford University, 46% of Website sales are lost because a website looked unorganized and unprofessional, and 79% of people who don’t like what they find on one site will quickly search for a better one.

Having a cluttered, clumsy website, then, is like having a public bathroom, but not letting customers use it: you’re only going to frustrate them. And they will leave to find another.

2. Keep it Informative.

But aside from cleanliness, keep your website educational. If I have startup questions about JVC stereos, I want troubleshooting answers from JVC professionals. 

And that’s the art of internet marketing: anticipate questions customers will ask.

By answering them on your website, not only do you satisfy a confused person, you earn their trust. Plus, if you are a local stereo shop that sells JVCs, you can easily raise awareness of your business by answering questions.

3. Keep it Mobile Friendly. 

Don’t stop at a desktop site.

Local marketing is quickly being refashioned by mobile devices.

  • 67% of mobile users claim when they visit a mobile-friendly site, they’re more likely to buy a site’s product or service.
  • 50% of people say they won’t even  buy from a business if their website isn’t mobile-friendly, even if they like the product that business offers.

Having a website without mobile accessible, then, is like downloading Minecraft on a Windows 95 computer: it’s just not worth it.

“Do you have an application?” — It’s all online

Kay Adams: Michael, you never told me you knew Johnny Fontane!

Michael: Sure, you want to meet him?

Kay Adams: Well, yeah! Sure.

Michael: My father helped him with his career.

Kay Adams: How did he do that?

….

Michael: My father made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

The Godfather can’t help everyone with hiring, which may be good. But the mobster mentality—minus the violence—is not altogether outlandish: employers want to find the right people, and they want to make them irrefutable offers.

But with floods of applications full of information about faceless people, with 78% of resumes containing misleading details, with 70% of college students willing to lie to get a desired job, employers can easily lapse into desperation.

The Godfather may not help, but cyberspace certainly will.

1. Online Applications are a Must.

With 100 million “job” related searches on Google, with 92% of Gen. Y searching for jobs online, with 427,000 weekly resume postings in Monster.com, many franchises have moved to online hiring: Burger King, McDonalds, Target, Valvoline.

The reason is simple: online hiring narrows applicants. You’re an employer, and you’re looking for the most qualified people. So, if you can’t use basic technology, you can’t get this job.

Online hiring, then, helps get the right people without the threats, tommy guns, and bludgeons of mobsters.

2. Know Who You’re Hiring Before You Hire 

If you want to make potential employees an offer they can’t refuse, you’re going to have to know them first. And that’s a second benefit of online hiring. Employers should have no problem researching their prospective employees.

In fact, 91% of recruiters already use social media to screen potential employees, and 69% reject a candidate solely because of what they see on his or her social media profile. Once you’ve narrowed applicants to those who can use the internet, narrow them further through social media sites.

Active hiring implies searching for the perfect employee for your position. But, no matter what, the application is the thing. And, while desktop job applications are important, they are slowly falling behind the times. What’s new?

Txt Msg Hiring: Mobile Job Applications

 Make your mobile presence known. 

“It’s easier,” says Vera Nazarian, in her blog, “for a rich man to ride that camel through the eye of a need into the Kingdom of Heaven, than for some of us to give up our cell phones.”

  • 91.4 million U.S citizens owning a smartphone (285 million own a cellphone)
  • 1.08 billion smartphones in the world (5.1 billion cellphones)
  • 89% of people using their smartphone throughout the day, mobile is rapidly replacing desktops.

Unless Jesus comes back to stop this madness, in 2015, mobile devices will replace laptop computers in online activity.

What does this mean for your hiring? Simple. Build a mobile presence.

Think about this: in March 2013, 9.3 million people searched for jobs using their mobile device. That’s quite a lot. Now compare that to the 2.3 million who searched for jobs in March 2012, and you will quickly realize the rapidity of mobile use.

And, with several companies creating unique mobile job apps, such as GE, PepsiCo, GM, and Aramco, businesses must take mobile hiring serious.

But some oppose mobile hiring. They claim that hiring is a crucial process, something too serious for smartphones. They claim that job applications cannot be reduced to a 2-3 inch digital screen. They claim that the cell phone is for talking, for listening, for communicating, and they’d be damned before they text their job application to some hipster with a trendy iPhone.

Mobile hiring, however, is already taking over.

In January 2013, 28.8 percent of jobsite’s traffic came from a mobile device, and 76,219 applications were applied through a smartphone.  Nearly 60 percent of job seekers are asking for mobile job boards, and one in five employers with mobile career sites report that 20 percent of applications come through a handheld.

Mobile hiring, then, is not to be taken lightly.

Local Marketing in the 21st Century 

Think of Back to the Future II: the DeLorean, the flux capacitor, the hover boards. Now think of that crazy 3-D shark that emerged from the bill board.

In 1989, when the movie was produced, the screen writers imagined a time (October 2015) when local marketing would involve 3-D touchpoints.

While not quite 3-D, the internet is a nice comparison: you want to involve your customers, grab their attention, bring them into an experience with your business. You want to hire good employees, create an accessible mobile layout, sell from the desktop and the phone. And, you want to do it even before they step inside your business. That is the power of local marketing in the 21st century.

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We have worked with some great brands. Just a few are:

  • Mike Patton Auto
  • Shell
  • Best Western
  • Lincoln
  • Summit Food Stores
  • Ford
  • Honda

In 2013, our clients received a combined:

55,000,000+
unique visitors

15,000,000+
job applications

16,000+
publicized events