Last updated 3 days ago
This week, our Board Chair and Interim CEO David Carlick spoke about the digitization of local services at the Churchill Club’s event “The Local Services Economy.” He joined local service entrepreneurs Logan Green, CEO & co-founder of Lyft, Justin Kan, founder of Exec, and Sarah Leary, co-founder of Nextdoor, in an open forum discussion moderated by Doug MacMillan, technology reporter for the Wall Street Journal.
The event focused on the many emerging opportunities that exist to help businesses move various business operations, not just marketing, online. During the panel discussion, Carlick discussed how local services businesses can not only market themselves online, but also help consumers to engage, contact, and transact with them online, too. Similar to the way retail businesses have moved online, home service businesses like plumbers, moving and storage, and remodelers are starting to experience this shift.
“What has been missing in our area for larger contractors and larger businesses is they need to figure out ways to digitally get in touch with people; increasingly, they need ways to figure out ways to digitally attract and retain those people,” Carlick said.
To see the event in its entirety, watch the video below.
At ReachLocal, we are already seeing many home services businesses transition to solutions like ReachCommerce and ClubLocal that help them digitize their business, from getting found by local consumers via Web and mobile, to scheduling and booking appointments, to taking mobile payments. And recently, we have partnered with sites like Yelp and MerchantCircle to more easily connect local service businesses with target consumers who are already searching for their businesses, reading reviews, and getting recommendations online, creating a more streamlined experience for both merchants and consumers.
Learn more about ReachCommerce and ClubLocal, and let us know what you think about this online shift for local services businesses in the comments.
Last updated 5 days ago
The holiday shopping season is in full swing, with reports of record online shopping and mobile shopping up dramatically over the long holiday shopping weekend. Millions shopped over Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.
But the holiday shopping season continues, with some of the biggest shopping days of the year still ahead. So, how can small businesses appeal to holiday shoppers throughout the season? We put together this handy infographic to share about nine types of holiday shoppers so all types of local businesses, from retail to services and more, can better reach these local consumers.
The holiday shopping season is here, and it’s a big one for local businesses.
$5.5 Billion was spent at locally-owned businesses on Small Business Saturday 2012 (That's just one day!)
Experts predict an 11% increase in holiday spending this year.
So, what can you do to capitalize on this shopping trend? Here’s a look at the nine types of holiday shoppers and how your local business can reach them, whether they’re just starting their buying journey or are already a loyal customer.
“May the best deals win!”
Infamous for packing retail stores and malls on Black Friday
Eager for door-busters, discounts, coupons, and offers
Loves to share deals and finds with their friends and family via social media
Will go to great lengths to find great deals, online, in print, on email lists, you name it
Of the 53.9% of shoppers who use social media in-store, 66.4% of them update their status to tell friends about the deals they discover.
Tip: Create and promote deals, offers, and coupons that are designed for deal-seekers to share with other holiday shoppers.
The Online Shopper
“I research and find gift inspiration online and purchase items without leaving home.”
Researches online to find the best gift ideas, prices, and availability
Enjoys the ease and convenience of online shopping
Shops high-volume days like Cyber Monday
Turns to sites like Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram for gift ideas
This year, nearly half of consumers plan to buy holiday gifts online.
Tip: If you aren’t an ecommerce business, offer options to appeal to online shoppers, such as coupons, deals, and gift certificates that can be shared online and redeemed on less busy days. If you’re in ecommerce, offer reduced rate or speedy shipping options and easy returns.
The Shopping Connoisseur
“I want to see, taste, touch, and feel my shopping experience.”
Enjoys the full holiday shopping experience that delights the senses
Does online research to find which local stores carry products they want
Prefers shopping in-store to purchasing items they can’t see or test online
Appreciates thoughtful, helpful customer service
90% of U.S. retail sales are projected to occur in brick-and-mortar stores.
Tip: Appeal to this shopper’s sense of tangibility with beautiful window and product displays, in-store taste testing, complimentary beverages, gift-wrapping services, customer appreciation events, and other thoughtful and customer-centric holiday experiences.
The Do-It-Yourself Consumer
“Adding my own touch is an important holiday tradition for me.”
Takes on DIY projects to prepare for holidays, like home improvements, cooking, and creating gifts or décor
Seeks DIY inspiration from sites like Pinterest and Instagram
Seasonally purchases supplies and help to complete DIY projects
May turn to services to complete some tasks or purchase handmade goods
31% of consumers plan to spend more on home improvements, remodeling, landscaping, and décor than they did this time last year.
Tip: Appeal to DIY shoppers by offering “cheat sheets” on how to create their own recipes, gift baskets, projects, and home décor with the products and services you offer, or offer deals to help them finish up projects they may run out of time to complete.
The Artisan Enthusiast
“Handmade or local purchases are a source of pride for me.”
Will pay a premium for locally-made or hand-crafted goods, food, and services
Enjoys getting to know or meet the artisan, owner, or creator of purchases
Shops both in person and online for unique items, experiences, and services
Likes discovering and promoting new artisans and local businesses
Often seen as tastemakers or influencers in the community
With over $117.8 million in goods sold, December 2012 was a record-breaking month for Etsy, an online marketplace to buy and sell handmade goods.
Tip: Attract and entice these enthusiastic shoppers with exclusive “sneak peek” holiday shopping events, or partner with other local businesses, products, and services to offer “taste of local” gift packages.
The Conscious Consumer
“I want to know my shopping makes a difference.”
Supports causes, charities, and community groups
Chooses stores supporting charities through proceeds or matching gifts
Enjoys giving gifts that make a lasting impact
Thoughtful and intentional in their shopping and purchases
Charity giving is highest at the end of the year, with some organizations reporting 30% of annual gifts being given in December.
Tip: Encourage these conscious shoppers by supporting a social good, charity, or community group or partnering with one on an event or fundraiser.
The Holiday Over-Achiever
“Don’t worry, I’ve got gift giving and décor months ahead of time.”
Meticulously selects just the right gift for everyone on their list
Continues holiday shopping into the season with a focus on food and events
Takes time for planning, order, and organization
40% of people start shopping for the holidays in October.
Tip: Appeal to this shopper’s love of order by offering checklists, recipes, and organizational tips, and incentivize them to choose you with early-shopper discounts or frequent shopper rewards.
The Last-Minute Shopper
“Oops, I forgot!”
Forgoes shopping for gifts and food until the last possible minute
Rushes to the most convenient locations at less-than-convenient times
May not have a list or plan and often over-purchases due to poor planning
Relies on mobile device to discover stores, locations, and service hours
Mobile is expected to have an impact on 87% of holiday purchases.
Tip: Make sure your local listings are claimed and your site is mobile-ready so you show up well on smart phones. Offer extended hours and convenience in the form of delivery, customization, or other ways to make the consumer’s last-minute thoughtlessness appear more thoughtful (at a premium).
The Holiday Entertainer
“’Tis the season to entertain!”
Hosts holiday gatherings for colleagues, groups, friends, and family
Appreciates a well-decked holiday home for guests to enjoy
Searches online for party themes, décor, food, and beverage ideas to delight
A busy social calendar means less time for shopping and errands
91% of Americans made festivity-related purchases during the holidays for items such as holiday food, décor, or alcoholic beverages.
Tip: Appeal to these shoppers by offering seasonal services like Christmas light hanging, valet services, party catering, and maid services. Target online shopping and convenience offers to these time-strapped shoppers to help them stay on top of gift giving.
About the Author
Tiffany Monhollon shares practical tips and insights about reaching consumers across the web as a blogger for ReachLocal. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.
Last updated 12 days ago
As a business owner, you know first hand how much effort it takes to keep your business running smoothly. And we get it. But if there’s one thing that can take a little bit off of your plate, it’s your website. How? Here are three great reasons. Plus, in this Leaks on the Street video, see what these everyday consumers told us matters most to them when visiting a small business website.
You Own It
Unlike review sites, local listings, and social media pages where you can only populate a certain amount and type of content about your business, you have complete ownership over your business website, which is the single most important place you want to send your online traffic to. That’s because you can fill it with content like images, video, and copy that tells visitors everything they need to know about your business in order to make an informed decision about whether or not they want to do business with you. And the more professional and engaging your site is, the more prospects are likely to stay on your site and decide to contact you. Use this to your advantage by having a well-designed layout with images that represent your brand and making sure important information, like your phone number and address, is easy to find.
It Gets You Discovered When People Search
Your pages and places across the Web can appear in the search results when someone searches for your business name as well as for your products and services, but which of these sites should you focus on the most? When you have a business website, you don’t have to choose. There’s only so much optimization you can do on a social media or local listing site, but you can optimize the structure, meta data, content, and much more on your website to help it gain visibility on search engines. So, make sure you optimize your website for all your core topics and keywords, promote fresh and relevant content, and drive relevant links back to it from across the Web so more people will discover and click to visit your website when they search for you.
It Drives Conversions from Interested Consumers
When consumers discover your website from the search results, it can really get to work. A significant difference between a website and a social media page or local listing is that primary goal of your website is getting a conversion like a call, email, or completed contact form from an interested prospect. An effective website not only contains critical information that convinces prospects to contact you, but it also makes it easy for them to do so. This means including prominent contact details (like a phone number) and clearly stated call to action on every page of your site.
This is all great in theory, but does it really matter to the average consumer? If the answers we received are any indication, the answer is yes. To hear what more consumers have to say about small businesses, check out our “Leaks on the Street” video series on dontleakleads.com
What do you think is the most important part of your website? Let us know with a comment!
About the Author
Tara Banda writes about how small business owners can reach local customers through online marketing for the ReachLocal blog. You can connect with her on Twitter.
Last updated 14 days ago
With the number of people who own smartphones and tablets continuously growing, it’s no wonder why mobile marketing is such a valuable tool in a business’ arsenal. So if you don’t already have a mobile strategy, what are you waiting for? These latest mobile stats make the case for using mobile to market your business this holiday season. Take advantage of these trends and tips so you don’t miss out on any more opportunities from consumers using mobile devices to look for, research, and buy from local businesses.
Mobile Holiday Shopping Trends
Consumers Rely on Tablets and Smartphones
If you don’t already have a mobile-optimized business website, it’s time to factor one in to your marketing budget. That’s because smartphone penetration is at nearly 65% in the U.S., up from 54% only a few months ago. And, today 35% of Americans now own a tablet, up 17% from last year. It’s no secret that consumers are relying on mobile more than ever to access the Internet, but did you also know that 46% of consumers reportedly use a mobile device exclusively when conducting shopping research online? Without a mobile presence, you’re potentially missing out on reaching these consumers.
Shoppers On the Go Look for Local Information
You might be saying to yourself: “Consumers are looking to buy from big brands, not my business.” But in fact, nearly one out of three smartphone users and one out of four tablet users use their mobile device specifically for business contact information such as a phone number, address, and map or driving directions. And, 55% of smartphone conversions happened within an hour of a mobile search.
It doesn’t matter if your business is large or small; if it’s local, consumers are using mobile search to look for it. And what better way to compete with big brands than by making key business information like your phone number, hours, and map location accessible for consumers searching on a mobile device? Make sure your local listings are up to date so consumers searching via Apple Maps or Google Maps can quickly find you and contact you. Then, put all these details front and center on your mobile website.
Mobile Searchers Make More Calls
Recently, Google announced ad extensions including functionality like click-to-call that are now of great importance when it comes to mobile paid search results. According to a Google study, 70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from the search results. While most businesses capture the phone call once the consumer lands on their website, having the ability to call directly from search results could provide an advantage, especially for urgent services. If you do include click-to-call in your mobile search ads, it’s important to take advantage of call tracking and call recording technologies so you can tie any calls you receive back to your search ads.
Consumers Want Holiday Deals
Did you know that 81% of people surveyed rely on discounts from businesses during the holidays? If you’re offering special holiday pricing or seasonal promotions, make sure they’re featured in your mobile advertising and email marketing as well as on your website or landing page. And with the holidays just weeks away, make sure your website is mobile-ready and contains not just your special offers, but other relevant information that consumers may need when making a purchase decision, like product and service details, pricing information, and customer reviews.
Shoppers Use Multiple Devices
While nearly half of consumers used mobile devices exclusively when conducting online research, it’s more common for them to use multiple screens throughout their path to purchase. In fact, 80% of consumers will use more than one device simultaneously, and 84% will start researching products on one device and complete the purchase on another. So, make sure consumers get the same information no matter how they find your business, whether it's on your website, social media pages, directories, map listings, or review sites, across both desktop and mobile. Take the time to audit your pages and ensure all your business details, including special holiday hours, promotions, images, and more, are consistent across them all.
Consumers Read Branded Emails on Mobile
A new report from Movable Ink states that more emails from brands are opened on a smartphone or tablet – 61% – than on a desktop computer. Think about it—how often do you personally check your email on your mobile device? And if you’re doing it, your consumers probably are too. This means that any email communications your business is sending to your prospects and customers during the holidays should be optimized for a mobile device, whether it is a regular communication, a seasonal promotion, or a special holiday greeting. And, make sure that any links you include in your emails send your prospects to a mobile-optimized website to ensure a consistent and satisfactory mobile experience.
What mobile marketing tactics are most important to your business? Let us know with a comment.
About the Author
Tamara Weintraub helps equip small business owners with information about local online advertising, social media, and content marketing as a writer for the ReachLocal blog.
Last updated 18 days ago
ReachLocal proudly announces our ranking on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500TM list for the fifth year in a row. The list is a prestigious annual ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, and life sciences companies in North America based on percentage revenue growth over five-year periods.
In 2009, we topped the Technology Fast 500 list at No. 1 with over 146,050% growth since our company began in 2003.
This year, we’re celebrating our tenth year in business, and we’ve hit numerous milestones since our beginnings as a small search engine advertising firm. Over these past ten years, our company has seen tremendous growth and innovation as our product, technology, and service teams develop and deliver integrated marketing solutions for more than 20,000 clients on five continents around the world.
"This year's list is a who's who of companies behind the most exciting and innovative products and services in the technology space. We congratulate the Fast 500 companies and look forward to what they do next," said Eric Openshaw, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP.
We are honored to be recognized for our growth and achievements by Deloitte and we send our sincerest thanks to our teams across the globe who make it happen.
About Deloitte's 2013 Technology Fast 500
The Technology Fast 500 list, conducted by Deloitte LLP, provides a ranking of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies — both public and private — in North America. Technology Fast 500 award winners are selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth from 2008 to 2012.