image of mobile phoneMobile local search is a key part of online marketing strategy for small business owners. As search engines and social media become more integrated, it’s getting easier (and faster) for consumers to make purchases.

And search isn’t just for Google anymore. Consumers can search directly on their Amazon or Pinterest apps for local businesses and buy directly from them with a minimum number of clicks.

And the number of clicks matters. In web design we already see how business owners are trying to help consumers get to the point of purchase in only one or two clicks. And for local mobile search – the fewer clicks the better for those consumers who are actively trying to reach your destination, or purchase something from you online, while they are literally on-the-go.

As ease of use becomes paramount to the mobile consumer, improvements in the integration between search and apps on both iOS and Android systems are moving quickly. And this means that small business owners need to think about how easy it is for someone to access their online information via mobile.

Mobile Makes it Easy
People are searching all day long – and they are using mobile to do most of it. Let’s face it – not everyone is tied to a desktop or laptop anymore. Apps on a smartphone are one of the quickest ways for a consumer to gain immediate access to a local business.

In a YP National interview with BIA/Kelsey’s Abid Chaudry, he noted that:

“…half of mobile searches possess intent to find local information or products, compared with 20 percent of desktop searches carrying comparative local intent.”

Evolution of Search
Of course, local search isn’t just happening on mobile – it’s happening everywhere – both online and offline. But the evolution of the phone, from an item tying you to your home to an item that frees you to go places while staying connected, means that local search will keep evolving to meet consumers wherever they are, not just where they live.

Which means that your small business marketing needs to evolve as well.

One thing small business owners can think about doing is improving their SEM (Search Engine Marketing). SEM consists of paid advertising. Google Adwords is the most well-known platform for this. Your ads will show up as “sponsored” listings (or banner ads) that consumers see on their search results page. These sponsored listings are related to the information in the consumer’s search. If you have an advertising budget then start exploring ways to improve your online SEM.

Online brick-and-mortar
Do you have a website? Consumers still like to see a website – it’s the online version of your brick-and-mortar location and still gives a sense of “this is a real business”. A well-designed, and responsive website is important in local mobile search.

Technology, technology, technology
The internet changed how people shop and how they gather information. Now, advances in mobile technology are giving users even greater flexibility. And once someone discovers your business via a local search – they will be thrilled to find that you offer online bookings, accept mobile payments or you have staff who can answer questions quickly via messaging.

The Future of Local Mobile is Already Here
What mobile has done is help make local search easier for consumers and more important for small business owners to incorporate into their marketing strategies. It has also given users the expectation that they can search for you on their laptop and then later, while they’re out, be able to book a dinner reservation at your restaurant through their smartphone. Or use that same smartphone to search for your location, place their order, pay for their order and then swing by to pick it up (or have it delivered).

As mobile and local search evolve together it’s smart for small business owners to incorporate both in their marketing. The fewer steps it takes for a mobile-user to get to you and your products, the more likely they are to purchase from you again and recommend you to all the people they know.

image of mobile phone