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Google, local search, and Social CRM
by Karl Mamer - Published on 4/25/2013 10:00

Last month Team Camroo attended WSI's Excellence and Innovation conference in Paris. Google offered a talk on the importance of search to small business. From an SCRM perspective, Google's talk provided some interesting stats that reveal there's a big disconnect between the way local consumers find products/services and the way small businesses try to connect (and fail to connect) with these consumers.

Today 97% of customers research local purchases online. Amazingly 63% of small businesses don't have a website. That means 37% of businesses with something as basic and simple as a web site get a first crack at those local consumer dollars. Those people out there that think selling simple web sites to businesses is a saturated market are dead wrong.

Google's mobile stats were similarly startling. Some 92% of smartphone users use their smartphone to make local purchasing decisions. A purchase resulted one quarter of the time from that search. When was the last time you were looking for a restaurant, googled or Yelped it, and then made a snap decision?

From a social CRM perspective, it's critical to keep an eye on the online buzz about your company. Where are people talking about the products you sell? Where are they finding out the best place in their community to buy your product? An extra Yelp star can result in about 20% more business for an independent restaurant (oddly national chains are immune … stay calm Sizzler franchisees). Losing a Yelp star can negatively affect your business.

Another fascinating stat revealed during the talk was YouTube's growth as a tool for business promotion. YouTube just isn't for cat videos these days. It's rare I make an electronic purchase without watching two or three Youtube reviews, unboxings, etc. I do this in particular for online purchases. If you have the kind of product people want to pick up and turn around in their hands, a Youtube video does the heavy lifting for you.

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