All of the Vivid Image folks have areas of expertise, which makes us a well-balanced team of professionals. I don’t profess to be a huge local marketing expert, but by reading some of the blogs that Jackie and Beth have put together, I have learned a lot. Little did I know how local search would literally “save” a summer roadtrip.
Last week the family and I packed ourselves into our mini-van and started a roadtrip to South Dakota. My mother-in-law lived in the eastern part of the state and we were moving her to Rapid City – 6 hours west. She would be closer to more family and access to facilities (think dorms for the older generation). So we planned on packing up a U-Haul and get her moved, caravan-style.
The current heat wave we are experiencing in MN started the day we left for the trip and as we were traveling on MN Hwy 15 South towards New Ulm, I saw the road buckle. I started slowing down, but it was too late and we hit the vertical concrete at more than 40 mph. It wasn’t quite this bad:
But, the back tire got a big hole in it…yep, one of those new tires we bought on Black Friday, with plenty of wear and tread. So, after the tire blew, we got out of the vehicle and assessed the situation. The next thing I did was conduct a local search on my phone. “Tire+New Ulm”. The first site that came up was Royal Tire; complete with a map AND hours listed in their description. It was a no-brainer choice. In fact, I don’t even know who came up #2. So I called them and made sure that there would be a tire waiting for us when we arrived after we put spare tire on the van. Thankfully, both my hubby and I kept our cool, which was remarkable difficult to do when:
- The 7 and 8 year olds had to get out of the A/C van to stand outside (96 degrees+ tropical humidity), while we got the van up on the jack
- We had never changed the tire on the van, because the tire was in the center console accessed under the middle of the van and hubby had to lie on the gravel shoulder to help pry out the spare tire
- Local law enforcement was there after 15 minutes and were directing traffic around the buckle.
The blown tire took over an hour and a half off of our drive time, but the incident occurred when it was still daylight, it wasn’t 20 degrees below zero and Royal Tire was still open. We got to our hotel later and grimier than we had planned, but if we didn’t have smartphones and their website hadn’t been optimized for search and mobile capabilities, we would have spent more time trying to hunt down a place to fix or replace the tire and taken more time. The rest of the trip had no more issues, but the heat certainly did plague us all of the way to Rapid City and back to MN.
The lesson learned: Look up your website on a smartphone. Could your business “rescue” a potential customer? Would they be able to find you on their smartphone? If you need to understand mobile websites and local search better, call Vivid Image. We can help you help any customer who may be in need and I know I won’t be taking local search for granted again, especially on “vacation”.