Although many small-business owners claim that word of mouth is their best marketing, 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 spend from 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 low-ticket items or the type of small businesses a consumer is likely to buy on a daily basis, the Internet, accessed via desktop, tablet or mobile, is often the starting point that leads to a buying decision. In fact, when it comes to mobile searches, more than half (55 percent) resulted in conversions within one hour, according to a Mobile Search Moments report, (which is also 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 that do keyword research and build out their web sites in accordance with best practices in search engine optimization (SEO) will be rewarded by search engines with more favorable SERP (search engine result placement) in organic search results. In other words, they will get more website traffic because their business listings will be placed directly in the path of prospective buyers who are researching products or services, or who are looking for a business online.