Every Business Is A Local Business

by Dr. Peter J. Meyers March 9th, 2009 

Im embarrassed to say that, after 3-1/2 years in business and almost 12 as an internet professional, Ive only recently made sure my company was listed in local search. Sure, some of it was the usual problem of the cobblers children going shoeless, but its more than that. As an internet consultant, I just dont think of myself as a local business. After all, my online reach is global, right? Sure, in theory, but here are 5 reasons why, in practice, were all still local businesses:

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1. Your Reach Is Limited

Unless your product is 100%, completely virtual, you still have barriers. Its easier and cheaper to sell to your local market. Even if you have a virtual product or sell services, that product will likely be affected by cultural differences, language barriers, time zones, etc. Your site may be available globally, 24/7, but that doesnt mean you have a global audience.

2. Your Network Is Local

Lets say, for arguments sake, that you do have a global product, or at least a national one. What about the other aspects of your business? When you go looking for talent, word-of-mouth, funding, and even your first few customers, where are you going to start? You start with your network, and more than likely that has a huge local component. If location were irrelevant to the internet, there would be no Silicon Valley as we know it.

3. Presence Builds Trust

Building a website is relatively easy, at least when it comes to the basics. Anyone can set up shop and put up a veneer of credibility, but having a real, physical location is still vital to gaining trust. Even if you sell a global product, you have an office and a phone number, and that real-world presence matters to customers.

4. Local Search Is Growing

Search is evolving, and local search, with the advent of smart-phones and GPS, is changing rapidly. If you havent established yourself in local search, youre probably missing out, no matter how big you think your market is.

5. Virtual Beer Sucks

Sorry, but getting a virtual beer on Facebook is just plain lame, even if it is free. We wouldnt still have conferences and tradeshows if face-to-face contact didnt matter. No matter how virtual your business is, its still ultimately about people, and (for now, at least) youre more likely to do business with the person you had lunch with than the one you met on LinkedIn.

Dr. Peter J. Meyers

Dr. Peter J. Meyers ("Dr. Pete") is the President of User Effect, a cognitive psychologist, and an accidental entrepreneur. In his spare time, he raises a daughter and writes about procrastination at 30GO30.

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11 Responses to “Every Business Is A Local Business”

  1. Good post, Peter. I find argument #5 particularly persuasive. :)

  2. Nice post.If someone wants to buy me a virtual beer in the form of a paypal donation I let them do so :)

  3. Good post. Just attended the Search Engine Strategies in London and Local search was one of hot topics.

    But the grey/black hats are already talking about exploiting local search by getting a “fake” local address for a national companies and hereby getting high rankings locally.

  4. Local search is such a simple concept and I think so many people pass it up assuming they're already listed locally. Your points are very true. Additionally: most basic local search is free, why not take advantage?

  5. MiriamEllis says:

    Nice one, Dr. Pete,

    Now make sure you keep an eye on those local listings you've created, especially in light of Google's recent decision to let competitors attempt to shut you down!

    Enjoyed this piece.
    Miriam

  6. Leanie Belle says:

    Yes, very agreeable. Every Business is a local business but there is still always an advantage. Keep it up.

  7. Ryan says:

    Very interesting. Although as an attorney, I am limited by the geographic region in which I may practice, I can definitely see how certain services miss out on local marketing opportunities.

  8. Leanne says:

    We have a lot of b2b customers who rarely sell their products locally but we still insist that they take care of their local listings. Like others have said, it's free *and* it gives you the opportunity to write your own description so that you're represented accurately. Even if they don't get much (any) walk-in business, you never know when a customer from miles away will have a look, just to see where you're at. You want to be sure that you show up.

  9. Most companies need to take advantage of local search
    and it is quite easy to get listed in local search. Its easy and will get you easy penetration into search engines with out lots of technical know how.

  10. Sarah says:

    It is best to target the local market before moving on to International audience. I do agree that the Local Search is increasingly important and popular. However, if it is an ebook or something I guess it would not be a problem to target international audience. Even webinar is available now.

  11. Kai Lo says:

    I'm not a big fan of Facebook apps. Good point about local businesses. Too many people are focusing on search engines like Google and Yahoo, and forget that if you have a local business, you need local search engines too.