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Steven Festa | 4/8/2022
THE IMPORTANCE OF LOCAL VISIBILITY

Alright, I will come clean on something very few people knew about outside my family.  I’m OK with sharing this with the world now as it helps prove a point about the importance of being present in local searches.

Ever since COVID started, my wonderful wife had started cutting my hair rather than me taking a trip to the barber.

I’m pretty low maintenance for haircuts – no scissors needed, just a pair of hair clippers and guards #4 and #6 for the sides and top of my head.  Easy-peasy, right?  Usually, it was -  until this late January night when I officially fired my wife from being my at-home hairstylist.  My wife was distracted by our kids, and I had my head buried in my laptop, watching the New York Rangers hockey game.  Suddenly, my wife flipped on the clippers and held them to the back of my neck to trim.

I immediately felt the cold metal of the clippers on my neck and realized that neither one of us had put the guard on the clippers.  Before I could stop her, she ran the clippers up the back of my head and created a bald spot.

Now, I consider this my fault.  I was the one requesting the haircut, so the right thing to do would be to set my wife up for success and add the guard to the clippers myself.   Whoops!

When this happened, I first thought that IDOC was roughly 4 weeks away from our client conference – The Connection, and my hair doesn’t grow nearly as quickly as it did when I was younger.    It was to be the first time meeting many of the members I had spoken with since I became the IDOC Marketing Consultant in Oct 2021, as well as many of the IDOCers that I don’t get to see very often.

The first thing first was to assess the situation. I had roughly 4 weeks before the Connection to have my hair grow a bit and then find a hairstylist who could make me look presentable.  

As a marketing consultant, I speak to many practices that inquire about being present when someone in their area is looking for a service your practice provides. You need to show up in these situations and show up well. So, I did what I would typically do when I'm looking for a service I need – I went to Google to search for local barber/hairstylist to clean me up. As I tell the IDOC members that I consult with, 46% of all Google searches have local intent, meaning that almost half of the estimated 2 trillion Google searches per year are for local services. You want to be business to be present and accessible to someone who needs what you provide.   

After my Google search and finding several options in my area, I did what most consumers do:

1. I read reviews on the providers through their Google Business Profile. Businesses need to have at least a 4-star rating for me to consider the business.
 
2. I checked out the business's websites to see if I could learn more about them, what the interior looks like, and who works there – I always like to know who I'm going to encounter when I open the door to the business.  
 
3. I connected with someone who works at IDOC and lives locally to see if he had any recommendations. This person recommended a barbershop that he uses and has consistently given him good service.  
 
4. From there, I revisited the business's Google Business profile and website. I had a checklist of things I needed in a business before visiting.
a. Google Reviews – this barbershop had a 4.7 rating with over 150 reviews, so they were clearly in my wheelhouse of review score.  
b. Website – I learned about the full staff and selected a stylist that I was most comfortable with. I used the same stylist that my buddy recommended to me. The website was well put together, so it was easy to navigate the site and find out more about the business.  
c. Cool looking business – I was not interested in going to a stylist at a hair chain – sorry, Supercuts. This business had cool vintage art, a pool table, and a bar area with a tapped keg of local beer. Had it not been 11am, I would’ve enjoyed one of those tasty beers while I waited. 

 

I was able to book my appointment online and was set to have the stylist I chose, Jenn, fix my hair the following Saturday. Walking into the business, I immediately felt comfortable because I was familiar with what I had learned online about the shop. After a quick game of pool, Jenn called me over to her chair and proceeded to show the entire team my hair debacle, and they all poked a little fun at me. I was in stitches because the jokes were so funny, and again it made me feel at ease. 

Jenn proceeded to clean me up well, and you couldn't even tell that my wife had shaved the back of my head. Guess which business now has a new customer?  

 

I would not have been able to have a great experience in an otherwise stressful situation without the provider being present online and able to be found. 

Again, 46% of all Google searches are local, and most people would have followed my checklist when choosing a new provider. It is so essential for practices to be present, like this barbershop, to give their patients a good experience in finding you, learning about you, and ultimately, selecting your business for their service needs.  

Steven Festa
Marketing Services Consultant
Steven Festa has a background in strategic marketing with key focus on creating multi-channel campaigns. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Albertus Magnus College. Steven started his career managing client partnerships, before moving on to digital and print membership marketing, where he worked for companies such as Webloyalty and Affinion Group. Throughout his 20-year career, Steven has created and managed hundreds of campaigns for marketing partners increasing lead acquisition, brand loyalty, and revenue.

Steven enjoys spending time with his family, following the New York Rangers and listening to music. Fun fact – Steven has seen over 400 live concerts beginning with his first show in 1983.
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