Google has started a marketing campaign around mobile devices, local business listing, Google maps and the centerpiece of all of this is something called QR-Codes. The QR-Codes will allow a consumer to scan the code from their mobile devices and retrieve information on your business. The program from Google has started with 100,000 businesses across the U.S. and will roll out to the larger group in the upcoming year.
You would think that it is natural to think about local search from mobile devices while consumers are on the road. Unfortunately, the only people that are really in tuned to this are those in the industry. The local business owner (and I’m not referring to small business only. This is for any size business dependent upon the local market for revenue) is not up to date how fast the industry is changing and how much local search as well as local search on mobile devices may or may not affect them if they are not involved in local listings.
A new study distributed by TMP Directional Marketing looks at the growth of local search and how consumer usage of media is changing. The study shows how mobile search in particular is increasing. The total search market grew to almost 22 billion total U.S. searches in June 2009, which is a 31% increase from the previous year.
The study showed the 22 million consumers using mobile Internet through June 2009, preferred to access local business information through their mobile browser. Additionally 127% more consumers access local information via mobile applications they downloaded compared to June 2008.
Now that we understand the increase in consumer usage of their mobile devices for local business, products and services, let’s revisit the QR-Code. When scanned, the QR code retrieves your map, your phone number, directions, address, a link to your local business website and previous consumer reviews. The only way to get this process to work for you will be to engage in local listing so that you can update your coupon offer for your QR-Code.
Effectively your local business yellow pages is now on the road, allows you to update them anytime, allows you to manage offers regularly and also allows your customers to submit testimonials right into your local listing. The local listing (at any website, Google, Yahoo, Ask, Bing, Local.com, Yelp, etc.) gives you the most control over the way your information appears on the mobile devices. When your business information is submitted through the local listing websites, you are giving the local consumers what they need to walk through your doors and spend money at your location.
Managing your local listings through these various websites will require time that most local businesses do not have. There are almost 30 locations that we have identified that require updates. Six we found to be primary and more will become important as time passes along. Each location requires an initial update followed by regular maintenance of your products, services, coupons, offers, discounts, videos and photos. Aside from the ongoing maintenance, you have to also watch consumer reviews and insure only the positive information is available.
For this reason, the local business (large or small) will want to seek out service providers that understand how to update and manage these local listings in your favor. There are many do’s and don’ts in this process, which is entirely different than search engine optimization of a website. A process we anticipate will become equally complicated over time.
The search market has been changing with the ever -evolving platforms and now devices that are used to perform searches. Mobile searches will continue to grow while your customers are driving around town. Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft will undoubtedly help facilitate getting the information into the consumer’s hands. Are you ready to have your information put into the consumer’s hands?