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How Serving the “Me” Generation in Real-Time is a Win for Local Businesses

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It’s no secret that local businesses rely heavily on the online world – or if they don’t already, they should. How else could they capitalize on all the potential customers searching every day for local, nearby places to do everything from eating to shopping to buying goods and services?

Having a great storefront at a busy location or an ad in the local newspaper used to be the best ways to attract the attention of potential customers. However, the world is certainly changing, and the way we advertise for local businesses should change as well.

Small and local business owners who are not yet optimizing or fully leveraging their local presence online are losing out to the competition. So how are you helping them?

Think about it – would you buy shoes from that shady store ’round the corner? It’s a bit dirty – plus it continuously changes its prices, refuses to honor its promotions, and they’re closed when it says they’re open! Hmm, you probably wouldn’t. Precisely the same thing happens with online presence for local businesses. If it’s not pristine, potential customers are going to choose the competition.

As Google has directly pointed out, today’s super-empowered consumer is curious, demanding, and impatient. They want what they want, exactly when they want it – and they want it right. But it’s not just about being the best – it’s also about being the first, and as real-time as is possible.

Let’s look at how serving this consumer, the “me” consumer in real-time, can equal real results.

A Look at the Evidence

As you know, each year Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins (formerly Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, aka KPCB), shares her 2018 Internet Trends Report. It always includes so much helpful information and data, collected and neatly organized to make the lives of all local marketers easier. Today, I want to explore three of the trends she revealed that impact the way local businesses should be positioned online.

1. The “Me” Revolution

Well, it’s no secret that the younger generations are more self-involved than older ones. Dissing the millennials, or should I say mellenials? Not at all – it’s simply the result of being born to Baby Boomer parents that focused on improving their “kids’ chances of success by instilling self-esteem.”

This is further evidenced by the data collected from the Internet Trends Report. Did you know that “near me” searches are up 900 percent from 2015? Search terms like “for me” and “should I” are also up 60 and 65 percent, respectively. So what does this mean?

Me_Revolution

It means that people are getting used to having their online and offline experiences tailor-made to their demographic, location, gender, school and, well, to everything that relates to them. From students searching for the closest Chinese restaurant, to a couple looking to buy a baby crib from a local vendor, people are looking online for the best experience offline.

How can a local business capitalize on this? By optimizing their online presence, of course! Their information should be easy to find, accurate, and related to what the customer is looking for. You’re in this space, so you know this already. But, what about your customers? Do they realize how important this is, or why you do what you do?

2. Peak Mobility

It’s been over 10 years since the first iPhone was released, and a plethora of other smartphones followed suit. We suddenly had a world of information available via the internet in the palms of our hands. Was that too much to handle? Possibly, in the beginning. Many people were still hesitant to use smartphones when they made their debut, but now, having a mobile device (or two) near you is not only convenient, it’s expected.

Did you know that the average user spends approximately 6 hours every day on a digital device? This is huge! With the newest iOS release from Apple, you can track how much time you spend staring at your screen. Try it for a week, if you dare. (You might be shocked by the results.)

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Here’s the reality: People are no longer using their smartphones just for playing games and checking their social media profiles. There’s a very high chance that for at least a couple of those hours spent staring at your screen, you’re getting work done, or purchasing goods or services. In fact, 60 percent of all payment transactions are now done digitally. While some of those take place on a desktop computer, the simplicity of applications like Apple Pay, Venmo and PayPal makes it easy and convenient to pay using your smartphone.

But how does this affect the local businesses you help? If the website is not optimized for mobile, or if the images are too big and make the website inefficient when using a data plan, potential customers will go to the competition.

3. “I Want It Now”

I talked already about millennials wanting things to be personalized, but that’s not the only thing they want. They want personalized results ASAP – as soon as possible. This is something else that came with smartphone use. People are now dedicated to the concept of “instant gratification.”

This is why having content in real-time works so well for companies like Waze and Nextdoor. Over 100 million users prefer Waze over other maps because they provide real-time traffic updates. Users want to make decisions on the spot based on the data provided by their apps and services.

Me_Revolution_3

Nobody is waiting for a homing pigeon to deliver a letter to a loved one! They want to say it as soon as possible – ideally with a designer flower bouquet hand-delivered to the door of their significant other within 30 minutes.

Local Business Can Get Real Results With Real-Time

Businesses in general – but mostly local businesses – benefit from real-time updates to their online presence. Here are a few examples:

  • Is the business phone down? Post an update so people know how to reach the biz in the meantime.
  • Did the business just get a review? Reply to it ASAP to show appreciation – or to give the business’ version of the story.
  • Last-minute Cyber Monday coupon? No problem. Just set up the offer in real-time within the Google My Business listing via a GMB post.

Just these three actions alone could be game-changers for local business owners.

But Wait, There’s More…

Today I’ve only tapped into three of the insights that Mary Meeker revealed in the 2018 Internet Trends Report. Here’s a detailed infographic based on the 2018 Internet Trends Report that depicts other powerful local, mobile, social and voice stats to consider, too.

What steps are you going to take next for your local business customers? Comment below and let’s discuss.

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