A survey of small businesses by Uberall has found that 81% of local searches for small businesses are unbranded. This is compared with 19% of queries that feature a branded term.
According to the survey titled ‘Branded vs Unbranded Search’ it is important for local small businesses to fill out their online profiles with services like Google My Business, which typically drive local businesses to the top of “near me” searches.
Uberall Local Search Survey
Uberall examined 22 global brands, with 48,000 locations and more than 450,000 SMBs, between August 2018 and August 2019. The goal was to determine the relationship and frequency of branded and unbranded search.
The report says consumers discover global brands more often through unbranded queries (58%). This puts businesses in a highly competitive footing as they are lumped together with others not based on their unique offering but on their particular product or service offering. The search queries range from the extremely general to the very specific businesses that try to balance these two extremes so they can have more chances of being picked.
However, during the survey, the study’s one-year period found that branded search had increased by 136%, while unbranded searches grew 75%. This is in part Google prioritizing growing local search on its platform for the growth in visibility.
“Companies need to optimize for both types of search and especially unbranded queries. If you’re Bank of America, for example, you need to rank for your own terms but also for searches like ‘best 0% APR credit cards’ or ‘lowest mortgage rates,” said Greg Sterling, Uberall’s VP of Insights.
Navigating the Changing Consumer Journey
Consumers today find their information online using mobile phones to source what they need at the moment they need it. And in the report, 90% of these consumers are not sure which brand they want when they begin their search. A huge portion of these (88%) will go online to search for a location that sells the items they need. And when they’re ready to buy, almost three-quarters of the purchases (76%) take place within 24 hours of the query.
As such the survey points out the need to ensure businesses provide accurate information for their store locations.
Responsiveness to customer reviews is also important. In terms of average review reply rate, small businesses do reply more than their larger counterparts. Small businesses reply by an average of 25% compared to enterprises (12%) and global businesses (9%).
The study also found branded search rates vary considerably by industry. For example, 88% of searches in the business-to-business (B2B) segment were unbranded. This indicates buyers are higher in the funnel and potentially more open to discovery and persuasion.
Conversely, for the hospitality and travel industry more than half of the queries (62%) feature a brand term. The case for the industry stems from the high degree of brand familiarity and loyalty among those searching for travel.
Irrespective of the industry, businesses will need to gather insights on customers’ query processes. For example, they have to determine what queries consumers are fielding and tweak their descriptions to meet those queries. Furthermore, working with third-party providers can help businesses boost their ratings on both unbranded and branded queries.
Getting Your Brand Recognized, Even as a Small Business
Branding is an important component of your company’s image and competitiveness. Businesses of all sizes use branding to help them recommend their products over others by laying out the reasons why theirs’s is better. Branding is what makes a product or service stand out in a crowd of similar products and services. The right branding can easily get you noticed, remembered and purchased from.
Your brand whether it is a logo, name or acronym by the attributes you attach to it is making a promise to your customers both new and old. Because of the emotional, psychological or functionality of your brand’s promise, in essence, it makes pre-sales of your products and services.
Besides selling products and services through your brand you are creating trust, improving your recognition and adding value to your marketing mix. With your brand you allow people to refer you to others and help you generate more revenue.
Behind any great brand lies a great branding strategy. An effective branding strategy should always have the customer in mind. It should align itself with the customers’ needs and wants and importantly deliver on them.
Through its messaging, it should clearly underline why your businesses should matter to your customers. It should in essence answer why they should try your offerings. This will help you and your employees design ways where you can build a consistent and valuable experience for all your customers.
A successful branding effort can even lead one to transform your customers to be your very own brand ambassadors. This means you have succeeded in getting enough levels of buy-in from your clients that they have voluntarily opted to be your spokespersons.
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