Many small business owners may count on word of mouth as their primary form of marketing, but it probably shouldn’t be. When it comes to making big purchases, 81 percent of consumers go online before heading out to a store and may even spend two to three months gathering the information they need to make a decision, according to GE Capital Retail Bank’s second annual Major Purchase Shopper Study.
Even when it comes to small-ticket items or the type of small businesses a consumer is likely to buy from on a daily basis, the Internet is often the starting point that leads to a buying decision. In fact, for mobile searches, more than half (55 percent) resulted in conversions within one hour, according to a Mobile Search Moments report. (That’s another great argument for investing in mobile-friendly web design.)
Whether your products or services would be classified as big-ticket or extremely affordable, the conclusion is the same: Small business owners and entrepreneurs who do keyword research and build out their web sites in accordance with best practices in search engine optimization (SEO) will likely be rewarded with more favorable placement in organic search results. In other words, they should receive more website traffic because their business listings will be placed directly in the path of prospective buyers.