This week, we had the opportunity to speak with Adam Boote – the Director of Digital & Growth at Localsearch. We discussed the very beginnings of the company, the main differences between Localsearch and other similar companies, as well as the most intriguing trends and technologies of the modern era.
Please describe the story behind the company. What sparked the idea? How has it evolved so far?
Localsearch is more than 28 years old, so you can imagine the changes in marketing and technology we’ve seen over the years. We now help more than 28,000 Australian businesses, from your local corner café, hairdressers and mechanics, to nation-wide electricians, plumbers and skin care professionals.
For us, it’s always been about bridging the gap between big-business technology and boutique-business service. It’s been that way in the start, offering advertising from only $1 a day, but still giving businesses the results and transparency they need.
What services do you offer?
Localsearch is a full-suite digital marketing in Australia. Essentially, we can help businesses of any size — from the sole trader to national brands — be found everywhere online. We’re talking websites, search engine optimisation, search engine marketing (i.e. Google Ads), social media marketing (like Facebook Ads), Google My Business help, and of course, localsearch.com.au. Our services start from only $1 a day, so they’re attainable for businesses at any size.
What separates Localsearch from other similar websites/companies?
Having been in business for more than 28 years, we are clearly doing something right. Our core priority has always been to put the needs and best interests of the businesses we help first, and it shows. We now have more than 500 reviews online, averaging at 4.9 stars, and growing, so we know we’re on the right path.
One way we’re able to help businesses where others tend to not be able to is by combining the power of the more than 28,000 businesses we help. It allows us to build and attain technology previously only accessible to big businesses, and give it to those starting out and regional businesses.
We have our own developers, designers, writers, social media specialists, Google Ads experts, SEO gurus and more. And everyone works together. The holistic approach to digital marketing helps make what a business has online work more efficiently, saving and making them money.
How do you envision the future of your industry?
Before 2020, I would have said the future of marketing is all in technology. It’s changing so fast and it’s important for businesses to either be keeping up or be partnering with someone who can for them. And this is still important, but last year really shook things up.
We’ve been saying for years that digital marketing is a non-negotiable for businesses, but 2020 really woke up those who may have still been hesitant to it before. What this has done though is created this super competitive marketplace. Everyone is getting a website, doing SEO and running ads, so you’re going to need to stand out.
And what is easy to forget is the numbers you see in your reports are all people. Every single number is a mother, father, daughter, son, etc. connecting with your business. This is where we’re going to see the change in the marketing industry — how we connect is going to become real.
What makes you stand out? Why is your business truly different? People want to connect with how your business suits their values, as well as what you can do for them.
Which trends and technologies do you find to be particularly intriguing these days?
Technology changes so fast. I’ve actually got five recommendations for marketing trends that will be important for businesses to either get involved with or keep an eye on in 2021:
- Video and phone appointments and quotes. Most businesses can incorporate phone or video appointments and quotes into their schedules. It allows them to save their staff time and work anywhere at any time, which is obviously huge when we can’t travel.
- Vlogging. People want to feel personally connected with the brands and businesses they use more than ever before. Vlogging is a super easy way to do this, showing behind-the-scenes of production, customer stories, etc. You don’t even need a professional camera when there is Facebook and Instagram Live, stories, etc. you can use with only your phone.
- Community involvement and partnerships. Businesses should also be connecting directly through their communities. This can be done in so many ways, from sponsoring sporting clubs and charity events to volunteering time. It shows what you care about and helps connect with your audience.
- Live chat. Stats are showing people expect a faster response from businesses than ever before — I’m talking within hours, even minutes. Live chat is an easy way to communicate with enquiries pretty much instantly. The Facebook Live Chat Plugin is one of the many free ways you can integrate live chat into a website. It even allows you to set up auto-responders, so you can handle enquiries even while you’re not available.
- Automation technology/software. The right software is going to save a business owner so much time, money and stress. Some of my top recommendations to any business is a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) and booking system, workflow automation software, accounting software and an all-in-one reporting tool.
How has COVID impacted your customers and business?
Up until COVID, we thought we’d seen it all — cyclones, floods, fires, droughts, etc. Australian businesses have been through a lot, and we’ve always been committed to helping regional communities, whatever they’re facing, and getting them through it — COVID was no different.
We were sending constant communication through email, our website, blogs and social media about support available to businesses. Our team was trained on how to help businesses shift how they were operating to keep operating, and we ran multiple free online events to help educate the public too. Then, we also had our COVID-19 digital marketing support package, which enabled businesses not yet online from only $1 a day.
Looking back, we are so proud at how our team took on the challenge and all the businesses we were able to help. So many of them even came out of 2020 in a better position than when they came into it. Thank you to all of our team who put their all into supporting small businesses in a time hard for everyone.