Have you ever been traveling abroad somewhere where you don’t understand the language and are looking for a bite to eat or a quick cup of coffee? You tap into that hotel Wi-Fi you are so grateful for and Google “coffee near me.” Of the top results that come up, you struggle between the choice to try something local and new, and the comfort and familiarity of Starbucks.

Now, ignoring what your ultimate decision was and whether you got two sugars or one, this scenario poses an important question. What is Starbucks doing on your search results, miles away from their starting place in Seattle? Why is it that Starbucks comes up on your mobile device no matter where you are–in Mexico, Germany or Japan?

It’s because of local search marketing.

Many people think of local search as something only for small businesses that are operating mainly in only a couple of cities. However, local search marketing is something that all businesses need to know how to do–even national and global businesses.

Here Are the Facts

The fact is that there are over 100 billion Google searches a month. Of these Google searches, more take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries, including the U.S. and Japan. And of THOSE mobile searches, 32% are related to location!

These are all key findings in a recent infographic posted below by Boostability and Navads.

Further stats from the infographic about the effects of local search for businesses basically can be summed up with one word: Great. 50% of local searches lead to an in-store visit within one day and 28% result in an immediate purchase.

Another Look at Starbucks

Let’s go back to that Starbucks example one more time. Starbucks opened its first store in 1971. In 1987 it had grown to 17 stores. 1996 was a big year as it opened its first store outside of North America in Japan and their total store count had risen to 1,015. Fast forward ten years and their total store count was 12,440. And nowadays? Well, as of 2015 Starbucks lists the store count at a whopping 22,519.

What is Starbucks doing right locally that has helped them get big globally? A couple of things.

One thing they are doing for their local visibility is consistency. Referring to a business name online in many different ways (like “Starbucks, Inc.” vs. “Starbucks Coffee”) can really mess up local SEO. They stick to “Starbucks” and let the internet work its magic.

Starbucks also lists correct phone numbers and opening hours. You would think that is a no-brainer, but it turns out that 67% of local search results have a mistake with their phone number and 75% have errors in opening hours.

Starbucks is on the right maps and on the right business listing pages. 50% of smartphone users are using Google Maps, 30% Apple Maps and 10% use Waze. Without being on those maps, or the dozens of local listing platforms, they would be missing hundreds (at least) of potential customers.

What Does This Mean for Your Business?

If you have a business with a physical location, you need to jump on board with local search marketing. Don’t ignore the trends of local searching and mobile usage. Get with it or get left behind.

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