Everybody knows that everybody is using their mobile devices all the time. What everybody doesn't seem to know is how to reach these people through discovery engines and local searches. Therefore, here are some tools to making your life easier.
The History & Evolution of Search
The way in which consumers discover businesses has changed drastically throughout the years. Search itself hasn’t gone an unwieldy amount of iterations. Rather, the evolution of search has gone through a small number of major changes. Print directories such as the Yellow Pages were the go-to method of search and discovery for several generations of consumers. Unfortunately, this option provided only limited options for consumers and businesses could in only a few print directories. With the advent of the Internet came the introduction of search engines. Users had the option to use a few different search engines these were essentially glorified Yellow Pages. The real evolution in search came with the development and implementation of discovery engines. Consumers are now able to discover local businesses on hundreds of sites, search engines and apps in a much simpler manner. In addition, these engines are helping people to make decisions based upon rich content from photographs, ratings and reviews from sites and apps such as Yelp, Foursquare and Google Places. Making things even easier for potential guests, people no longer need to know who they’re looking for, just what they’re looking for. For example, simple searches for terms like “best bar” and “best nightclub” yield localized, usable results.
Rich Data & Smartphones
Today, consumers have access to huge amounts of information available to them at any time. Discovery searches have evolved into incredibly effective location-based searches. These days, consumer mobile searches are focusing on location-based results rather than specific queries. Again, not who they’re looking for specifically but what. As of last year, 60% of consumers were performing local searches without a specific business in mind and that number has been growing. As should be no surprise, consumers are mostly using their mobile devices. In the past 6 months, 81% of consumers have searched for a restaurant or bar on their mobile device. Simply put, mobile devices offer the convenience of real-time searches on the go and today’s consumer is all about convenience. It seems that everyone is busy and feels that they have less and less time to actually make plans. Therefore, they’re searching on the fly with their mobile devices. Mobile search contributes to more and faster conversions by online consumers with 90% of mobile restaurant searches ending in a conversion. Of those conversions, 64% happen within 1 hour of such a search. Today’s consumer is the most engaged audience the industry has seen; they’re either ready to buy or they’re buying.
Make the Most of Changing Consumer Behavior
Search behavior has evolved from print to desktop to discovery engines to mobile devices. Today, consumers aren’t thinking about your specific business when thinking about where they want to go so what do you do to be discovered? It may sound flippant but you cast a wide net. Think like a consumer and search for your own business using social media platforms, location-based apps and online directories and listings. Make certain the information about your business is correct and look beyond the standards that are Google and Bing. In terms of rich content, always use images as they’re essential for engaging consumers who are overloaded with information in the always on, always available time in which we live. Including images of products and menu items in online directories can increase click-through rates by 30% so consider posting your menu online. A staggering 80% of consumers think that it’s important to view a restaurant or bar menu before making their decision and 62% of them are less likely to visit if they can’t view the menu on a mobile device. Ratings and reviews are important but menus are absolutely critical. When it comes to menus, it isn’t good enough to just have the menu items listed: consumers want descriptions of ingredients, particularly those with allergies, and want to read about preparations and prices. On the technical side of things, having a menu available helps discovery engines find your business since they search for that information. Your website also needs to be mobile optimized. Tell yourself the following and take it to heart: Mobile first. Consumers are attached to their phones and they want a good end user experience. Mobile devices have small screens so rich content needs to be optimized in order to be viewed properly. Otherwise, consumers will pass you by. Pull up your website on your mobile device to see what consumers will see and see how it looks. It’s a changing world – everyone is on their mobile device. Don’t make it a struggle for them to choose you; make the decision easy for them.
Don’t Miss Out
Only 25% of business owners have a mobile optimized website and only 51% of business owners have ever updated their online business listings and menus. From a consumer perspective, the best information from searches isn’t being discovered and that means they’re not necessarily making the best decisions for bars, restaurants and nightclubs. It all boils down to customer experience. While it’s great that new sites and apps are being created and launched all the time, upkeep can be difficult and time consuming for business owners. Fortunately, listings sites and apps partner with services that provide business information and enhanced content. These third-party listings services can help businesses manage, distribute and enhance their information without taking time away from daily operations.
The new landscape can be confusing but don’t be afraid of the change. As Stewart Brand, the author and editor most famous for creating Whole Earth Catalog said, “Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.”
You’ll have the chance to attend education sessions such as the one at the 2016 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show. Registration Now Open!