Why You Need Google, Even if You’re the Last Coke in the Desert

Recently, I’ve heard variations on the following statement from a a number of small business owners”

If you’re a great {Insert Profession/Trade/Job Title} you don’t need to be on Google. All you need are referrals.

Not only is this statement flat out wrong, it also has the potential to be detrimental to your business. Here’s why.

Google isn’t going anywhere. In fact, the most widely used search engine in the world is only getting bigger, according to its third quarter earnings call. Advertising revenue has grown 18% year over year, topping out at $19.8 billion. That’s right. Billion with a B.

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Google is a bigger part of your life than you realize

But behind those big numbers are what drove the growth to begin with – Google’s users. People like you and I who search for things virtually all day, every day. Google has become such a huge part of our lives that sometimes we don’t even realize we rely on it so much.

Wondering what area attractions to see while you’re visiting New York City? You Google it.

Looking for directions to that great restaurant a friend recommended? You open Google Maps.

Feel like catching a great concert this weekend? You click on Google’s new Events interface.

Want to get in touch with an HVAC specialist who has great reviews? You search Google Home Services.

You may not even realize you’re using Google at any given time. Perhaps you’re on a site that uses Google data, or just opening the navigation app on your phone.  The fact is, even if you’re searching for a company that a friend referred you to, you’re still searching, and statistically speaking, that means you’re probably on Google.

Google plays a vital role in word-of-mouth marketing

Referrals are a powerful thing for small businesses. Cultivating a great reputation and getting positive word-of-mouth recommendations is still one of the best things you can do for your business. But even word-of-mouth marketing, in this digital age, goes hand-in-hand with achieving a great position in Google search results or on local maps.

We know that having your information online can seem like a scary thing, especially these days when the news is filled with stories of hackers and security breaches. But the internet is like the world’s largest, easiest-to-navigate phone book ever. Never before have small business owners had the ability to connect so easily with more new customers who are searching for the products and services they provide.

You may be the best in the business, with hundreds of satisfied customers. But if prospects can’t find you online, or worse – find outdated, incorrect information about your business – then you won’t be adding too many new customers to your list anytime soon.

So yes. You do need to be on Google. Even if you are the last Coca-Cola in the desert.