Local and Mobile Search

“To facilitate any transition, a critical success factor is understanding your target market.”

As brands realize the power mobile serves as a personal productivity device (PPD), the investment they make in reaching this group shifts. According to comScore, as of March 2011, there are 72.5M US owned smartphones, up 15% from last year. That’s a lot of people that have changed, or are changing, their search habits!

We know as consumers how we find information. The way each person searches for information is as unique as they are. What’s important from a business standpoint is to understand how to find that group of ideal customers. For a company to capitalize on this they need to market their brand in various ways in an effort to be where the seeker is. Here’s an interesting article from ClickZ that shows “mobile movement” as of April 2011.

Searching from a computer (work or at home)
Primary source: using a search engine; secondary source: Facebook, email.

  • Situation:  Local search, whether using Google, Bing or Yahoo! “how” a search occurs is very personal. The way I think to find information isn’t the same as how you think to find the same thing.
  • Solution:  Embrace the uniqueness of how people think, act and find information. Number of scenarios far outweigh any company’s budget. Through analytics select long tail keywords which are very targeted and although will result in less traffic, will be less expensive, have a higher CTR and generate a more relevant audience to engage in your brand afterwards through email subscription or Facebook “likes”. Money saved can then be moved to other forms of lead generating tools such as LBSs, Facebook ads, “daily” savings companies like Groupon or Daily Deals.

Businesses: Reach audience by geo targeted and/or keywords business established
Shoppers: Find information with long tail keywords, Facebook, email

Searching from a mobile device (anywhere, anytime)
Primary source: app; secondary source: mobile web (post coming soon on this)

  • Situation: My search habits aren’t the same on my iPhone as on my laptop which makes targeting me different throughout the day, every day. I’m a moving target, literally. And I’m complicating the process and keeping businesses guessing. It can be fun :-).
  • Solution: Stop what you’re doing, how you’re investing in your brand and the tools you’re using. Ask these questions:1.  What am I trying to accomplish?
    2.  Who is my target audience?
    3.  Where is my target audience finding what I offer?The answers to these questions determine where you invest marketing $$ and the most efficient ways to be found.

Personal example:
I actually use apps and Safari depending on what I’m looking for. If I seek information, I use Safari. If I’m looking for a specific brand or location, I’ll use Foursquare or Yelp. Sounds crazy, but true. I was in an unfamiliar area for a sporting event and needed to get rid of my headache. I used Foursquare to locate a nearby pharmacy. I was going to check in there anyway so as a time saver, I streamlined my efforts. I’ve also used Yelp to find a particular restaurant. I was looking for my latest favorite Hot Head Burritos and had no idea where the nearest location was. Yelp helped.

Businesses: The “how” to find new customers is not as obvious as it use to be. Why the 3 questions above are so important.
Shoppers: So many options that we use what we’re comfortable with. Such diversity and is constantly changing, i.e. moving target.

Next steps
Refer to the solution above, reflect on the three questions then have a team of people in your company (or subject matter experts) to develop the strategy. Assign tasks to people who are stakeholders who understand and want to be part of the success.

Hardest step to accept is change. Change is good if it’s carefully evaluated and decisions made to support the questions above. Trying something new like Foursquare and offering specials, may surprise you at who’s using this and the value they know in your brand and seek in your offers.

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