Listening to “The Voice of the Customer” has always been an earmark that separates super successful companies from mediocre players. eCommerce website’s have been tracking user behavior and personalizing the customer experience for years. Top eCommerce websites that have stood the test of time like Amazon.com, Land’s End, FogDog and QVC push products to your own personal home page based upon previous purchases, customer reviews and the recommendations of others. Paying attention to “Social Commerce” influences drive top converting websites.
Secrets of Top Converting Websites with Bryan Eisenberg: YouTube Video
The same hold true for the local business landscape. Localization is a way of personalizing search. Google and Bing have been peppering search results with local business results based upon a user’s GPS data for most of 2010 and we will see those ratios’s increase in the months to come. Most internet service providers (ISP) include the GPS data to enhance their network and a search engine uses this information from the ISP to deliver some of their results based upon your locality, and search history. How well your websites are optimized for local search will dictate if you are included in those results. The Contact Us page of your website should always be optimized with City, State, County and Zip code information. Linking to a GPS enhanced mapping software on this page has proven important on countless occasions. Managing client reviews online can be a powerful persuasion over who gets the business and who does not.
Most online business directories are a waste of time with a few exceptions. Obviously the DMOZ.org directory has great SEO value although the approval process is long. Google Places on the other hand is a must for every local business. The approval process once the profile is complete is instantaneous and hands down this listing offers tremendous value. There is an art to optimizing these profiles and penalties for those that try to manipulate the profile. Google places listings when done right dominate a search result page. Positive reviews will catapult your listing and negative reviews found in Google HotPot will spread even faster through social networks. I do also recommend optimizing Bing Local Listings, Yellow Pages and SuperPages for a number of Local SEO related reasons, not because consumers are using these resources to find what they seek.
Nielsen has projected that Smartphone’s will reach 51% penetration in the US market by Q3 of 2011.The primary reason why local search optimization is so important is how it impacts searches conducted from smart phones, iPads and all the latest gadgets yet to be introduced. The writing has been on the wall for some time and for smart phone owners, you know this to be true…Mobile Search is already influencing your buying habits. You are making decisions on the run based upon a quick search on your iPhone or Blackberry smart phones. Intelligent mobile applications are using your GPS position to provide you with local solutions. As an Android user, Google Local maps are infused into 85% of my mobile search results. The time to optimize for mobile is now.
SMS text marketing has also proved to have great response rates although the tactic can be tricky. The key components of a successful campaign are choosing the right audience, short easy to understand messages and using a short URL for the call to action. The landing page must be designed for a mobile user to take immediate action on the offer. I hope to be testing my first Bluetooth Proximity campaign in Q1…so stay tuned for a future post on Mobile Marketing with e-Xplorations Marketing, Inc.