I went to the Google hosted event ' The Digital Garage' in Tamworth yesterday and I was very impressed with both the quality of the presentation and the quality of the audience that turned up for the event.
As a relatively new resident of Tamworth, having moved myself, my family and my internet marketing business from Sydney last year, it's great to see that not only is there is a real appetite to learn, understand and implement internet marketing here in Tamworth, Google can see that there is clearly opportunity for small businesses in rural and regional areas to embrace online marketing strategies.
The event was hosted by Richard Flanagan, head of Business Marketing for Google AU and NZ and the training presentation was delivered by Duncan McGrath, who is the Small Business Marketing Manager for Google. Tamworth Mayor, Col Murray also took to the podium to promote the virtues of embracing the online world.
I was somewhat surprised to learn that according to the Google survey conducted by Deloitte last year, 90% of SME's have not engaged fully online. Thats a pretty staggering number, though I have to also say, in practice, I rarely come across an SME business that is well across online and multi-channel marketing.
I think the big 7 takeaway's for the audience from this event, was the following:
- The growth in smartphone use for local search ( 82% of smartphone users use a search engine when looking for a local business
- There is a 2x increase in 'near me' search interest
- "We don't go online, we live online"
- Being found "in the moment' that someone needs you", is what the online opportunity really represents to SME businesses
- Search is the #1 method of finding a businesses phone number ( not white or yellow pages - which I cant believe people still pay for!!)
- Google my business offers great tools and listings for SME businesses to be found online in those "moments of need"
- Your website needs to be both mobile responsive AND fast to load, if you want to make the best of search actions taken by potential customers online.
There was also a quick cover of Adwords - though I have to say I am no fan of Google Adwords Express ( the full suite of Google Adwords is MUCH better) -and I also don't necessarily agree that you should only use a Google certified Adwords agency - as not all of them are good, despite the volumes they may do on a month to month basis.I guess Google has to draw a line somewhere in that regard - though there are plenty of 'renegade' agencies who have certification....and that is not well understood by many small business owners.
Last but certainly not least, Google was in town to promote their free online training platform called 'the Digital Garage.' I put myself through the entire online training earlier this week and I will dedicate another post to talking about that.