The Ghost Of Present Local Web Marketing

The Past is done. Move on already. Local Web Marketing was and is a simultaneously compelling and confusing opportunity for small business marketers. Some present-day stats to consider – courtesy of BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor study released earlier this month at the ILM West conference:

SMBs Are Spending An Increasing Amount Of Marketing Budgets OnlineSEL Post Slides.001 600x450 The Ghost Of Present Local Web Marketing


87% of SMBs surveyed are spending 24% of their marketing budgets online. In a recession/post-recession/whatever you want to call this thing we’re in. Where do you think that number is heading? Certainly not down (ok it went down this year, but the long term trend is up).

If you are not focused on the Web not only are you missing out on a lot of the action, you are getting totally served by your competition who is already there.

But SMB Websites Suck!SEL Post Slides.002 600x450 The Ghost Of Present Local Web Marketing

Can you believe only 13% of SMB websites have a local phone number on their home page? I sure can. Think of all the missed opportunities. I often hear SMBs say that they don’t care about clicks to their website, all they care about is calls and people walking in the door. Well, this stat, along with the general crappiness of most SMB sitesS says that they really don’t care about any of it.

Forget about SEO, social media and other fancy-pants ways to get customers online. Spend a little time on your website, figure out what it is you want the customer to do there (e.g., call you) and make sure the primary thing it does is help the customer do it (e.g. put your frigging phone number on the home page).

So the Present is a bit bleak. But again, let’s move on and focus on the future:

“Ghost of the Future, I fear you more than any spectre I have seen.” – Ebenezer Scrooge

The Future Is Mobile Baby

When it comes to local search, mobile is quickly becoming where it’s at. Cases in point:

…and on and on and on.

Now I know what you’re thinking. It’s too early. It’s not for my type of business. There’s not enough volume, etc. Well, in a sense that all may be true. The mobile marketing biz is in its infancy, but out of the mouths of babes consider the following:

1. As mentioned above, mobile search volume continues to grow at an astronomical pace, and the new smartphones unleashed over the holidays should keep that trend going.

2. Mobile-optimized websites should have a natural advantage in mobile SEO. Why wouldn’t Google and Bing want to send a mobile phone user to a mobile site instead of a normal website?

3. The competition for mobile advertising at a local level is low. Most of your competition can barely wrap their heads around standard search advertising, let alone mobile advertising. This means that a mobile AdWords campaign are cheaper on a per-click basis.

Check out the following list of common local search keywords and the comparison of their CPC for desktop queries v. mobile queries:Screen Shot 2011 12 22 at 1.00.52 PM The Ghost Of Present Local Web Marketing

According to AppStackK, a SMB mobile marketing start-up (Full disclosure: I am an advisor to AppStack), local mobile advertisers are currently saving about 50% on cost-per-click via Mobile AdWords on a consistent basis. Now I don’t know about you, but when I see I can save 50% off my ad budget and get the same clicks, I pay attention.

Mobile-optimized websites can convert mobile traffic at much higher rate. According to GoogleE, mobile optimized ad campaigns can see a 49% increase in conversions. Combine this with a lower cost-per-lead and you are looking at big potential savings on your cost-per-conversion.

So my advice to you, dear reader, is to explore mobile this year. See if it works for you. At the very least, optimize your site for mobile traffic. Make sure your phone number is displayed prominently and offer a limited set of options for visitors that will look good on a phone browser.

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