What do Google Glass and Facebook Nearby have in common? If you don’t know the answer, or worse, you don’t know what either of them are, it’s time for you to take a serious look at the way your business uses local search and mobile optimization to attract customers. Why are local and mobile so important to your marketing strategy? Consider these facts:
According to Google, 50% of all searches have local intent, that is, the searcher is looking for a local business or product, and that percentage is growing.
- In 2012, mobile searches for retail products more than doubled – up 132% from 2011.
- 95% of smartphone users use their phones to find local information
- 88% of them take action on their search within a day
- 90% of smartphone searches trigger users to take an action such as purchasing a product or visiting a business
- 79% of smartphone owners use their phones to compare prices, find product information and locate a local retailer
- 88% of searches for the keyword “restaurants” come from mobile devices, but only 5% of independent restaurants and bars have websites optimized for mobile
- The keyword “restaurants near me” gets more than 40,000 searches per month
So here’s the question every business owner should consider: if someone standing outside your door searched for “restaurants near me” or “movie theaters near me,” would your business show up in their search results? If you’re not optimizing your business for mobile and local searches, chances are they won’t find you.
Not sure how to mobilize and localize your business? Here are five vital factors that you need to incorporate into your local/mobile marketing strategy.
A Mobile Website
Mobilizing your website means more than just making it look good on a smaller screen. People use the Web differently on their mobile devices than they do on their desktops and laptops. Your mobile website needs to make it easy for your users to accomplish things, and that means mobile functionality. Visitors to your mobile business website should be able to touch, swipe, pinch and flick their way through your website and find everything they need. If they can’t, they’re likely to leave and find a business that’s more user-friendly.
Before you implement anything, dive into research mode. Survey your customers and explore competitor’s websites to understand what your customers expect to find on your website. For example, research shows that when customers search for restaurants on mobile devices, they’re looking for menus and business hours above all else. The ability to order food from a mobile device may be important to you, but your customers want to know what you’re serving so they can decide whether to drop by for a meal. Retail shoppers want prices for comparisons, so give them to them.
Local Search Strategy
If you build it, they will come – but only if they find it when they search. Mobile search optimization, local search optimization and local pay per click advertising can all play a key role in helping potential customers find you when they’re looking for a pizza, a fab new outfit or anything else you sell.
PPC or mobile SEO should definitely play a role in your local mobile search strategy. Display advertising for mobile is a growing business. In 2012, mobile ads brought in $9.6 billion. Gartner Research projects that volume will grow by 18% in 2013, to $11.4 billion, and more than 400% by 2016, when the company predicts it will reach $24.5 billion. Businesses are finding that mobile advertising pays off, with higher conversion rates than online advertising for desktop search.
Local SEO also plays a key role in bringing customers to local businesses. Maps, reviews and local contact information all play a part, along with long-tail keywords to help search engines classify and discover your site.
Integrating your website and your mobile site with Facebook, Google+ and other social sharing sites makes your business more discoverable and gives you more tools for promoting it. Three new Facebook features have rolled out over the past several months that make it easier than ever to make sure your business is seen by local customers.
- Facebook Recommend: In 2011, Facebook started letting users Recommend local businesses who list a street address on their Facebook Page. “Recommend This Place” lets you get positive testimonials and connections with Facebook users within 12 miles of your address.
- Facebook Nearby: In December 2012, Facebook announced new functionality for the Nearby tab on Facebook mobile apps. Facebook users can now search for nearby businesses by category, connect directly to local businesses via mobile on Facebook, rate Nearby places and share Recommendations with friends. It’s powered by Likes, Recommendations, Check-ins and other Facebook data.
- Facebook Graph Search: In January 2012, Facebook started rolling out Graph Search, which takes the game to a whole new level. Graph Search lets users search for things like “stores near me that sell pink dresses” or “restaurant recommended by my mother” – something you can’t do on just about any other platform.
The final link in your mobile marketing strategy is integration with local promotion. Use in-store marketing to encourage your customers to engage with your mobile website and help promote your business to their friends. Your promotions can take the form of discounts for customers who check in at your location, a gift for those who write a recommendation for your Facebook Page or invitations to share photos of themselves with your location included to Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram and other social sharing sites.
The most important thing to keep in mind when creating a local and mobile marketing strategy these days is integration. The whole package is so much more powerful than the sum of its parts. When you implement a fully integrated mobile, local and social marketing strategy, you’ll be leveraging all the power mobile and local web has to offer.