Local Search - Why It's Right for Companies Both Big & Small

6/13/2007

- Danielle Leitch, Exec. Vice President

If you haven't downloaded a copy of our latest White Paper, Local and Mobile Search: Concepts for Future Success, now is the time. There is so much progress being made in Local Search, especially relative to Mobile Search, it has become a necessity for every advertisers' marketing plan.

Local Search initially was directed to small advertisers - traditional brick and mortar retailers found in your neighborhood. Over time, it has evolved to a staple that no advertiser should forego. Of course, there is still a tremendous benefit for that localized retailer or service provider, but there is also an upside for a larger advertiser to go Local.

The ability to reach Global scales on a local level can be very advantageous and allows you to have a competitive edge over the others. By creating multiple campaigns geo-targeted to various regions that you serve, it provides an opportunity to target each market individually. This is particularly helpful when it comes to keywords and marketing messages, which may vary slightly, market-to-market, based on regional speaking variations ("pop" versus "soda" - "ya'll" versus "you all"). Another factor is the ability to customize promotions or specials based on certain times of year/seasonality opportunities, which may not exist everywhere or concurrently. (Winter advertising in Minnesota is vastly different than in Florida.)

Our clients have found success targeting very relevant and specific campaigns through Local Search. Of course, Google, Yahoo, MSN and (Verizon) SuperPages are obvious choices to start. However, cost per click marketing is just the beginning. Recent introduction of mapping visuals on all three major Engines allows for a great visual opportunity when you do a have a brick and mortar location to direct someone into. This strategy is equally effective for one storefront as it would be for a national chain with 150 storefronts - each of those 150 stores is an individual opportunity to advertise locally and target a specific audience appropriate to their needs.

The next step is Mobile Search and Local Search combined - known in the industry as MOLO. This will become more prevalent as cell phone users migrate to searching more from their phones. There is also the need for a better/bigger interface or user screens and a partnership with a major cellular carrier. Just think about it, you are driving in a neighborhood and interested in eating Italian food for dinner. Through GPS on your cell phone - and typing in Italian Food - you are given an interactive map with search results positioned for Italian restaurants uniquely based on your current physical location (as determined by the GPS capability of your phone). Take it a step further, with user generated content included - and you can scroll over each location for a customer/diner review. Such a scenario is not that far off - now is the time to prepare. Investigate if your current website will support being displayed in a mobile application...This may be a marketing project (or design) that you'll want to budget for.

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