Increasingly, we’re seeing directories and listings services offer services such as click-to-call, click-to-directions, and other features that are clearly targeted for a mobile-first audience. Mobile is the ultimate in local search; with geocoding and location-based services dominating the app market, marketers must take location and mobile into account.
We’ve been noticing that nearly every local marketing site seems to have callouts for searching users to call or get directions to a location directly from the listing/search result itself. This is part of a much broader effort on the part of the local search ecosystem. With partnerships between companies like YP and Grubhub or Mapquest and Urgent.ly, and Zomato acquiring Urbanspoon, the market is speak — nay, shouting! — and the message is clear: you can’t have listings without business services.
This intertwining of location data and customer servicing, however, creates an opportunity for marketers. As small businesses are inundated and overwhelmed with services and options, many will opt out of integrating well with the transactional tools available on these varied directories. Marketers can fill this gap for their SMB clients, turning what could be another burden for the SMB into a value-added for the marketer’s service.
Just as a customer on a store location page demonstrates high purchasing intent, so does a customer seeking location information while “on the move,” i.e. on mobile. The proliferance of “click to call” services solidifies the long-held understanding that mobile is centered around location-based servicing.
To that end, advertising and marketing efforts built around local must take location information into account. A recent article from Search Engine Land made an excellent point:
…[The] data from Thinknear confirm what other studies have shown: campaigns involving location consistently outperform campaigns without location targeting…
These efforts put consumer benefits and satisfaction at the center of their strategy. Street Fight Magazine had a post from Joe Morsello that framed local advertising (and, by extension, local marketing at large) with this in mind:
From the consumer perspective, [the] movement from simple search results to transactional tools and services is great for those ready-to-buy. [These provide] better functionality, improved ease of use, and an overall better experience.
While measuring online impressions to offline purchases is still murky, integrating listings with transactional tools on behalf of the SMB gives local marketers more of an opportunity to quantify these conversations. (After all, who could have a higher purchasing intent than someone trying to contact — or even get to — a brick-and-mortar location?) Moreover, handling this integration on behalf of the SMB client opens up a new revenue channel for local marketers, further diversifying service offerings.
As mobile continues to take an ever-larger percentage of consumers’ attention, keeping its opportunities in the forefront of their minds is how local marketers will take advantage of the changing tides.
With Yext, Partners already have a significant portion of the work — the business listing claim, audit, and correction — completed. Since Yext makes having listing information accurate and consistent across numerous publishers as simple as three clicks, local marketers have the bandwidth to deliver these transaction integrations to their SMB clients.
Put differently: the listing already has the best information it can. Instead, Partners can refocus their energies on providing the “tap to directions’ tracking and information collection to not only prove to the SMB that local marketing is worthwhile, but also show how good, consistent location information provides real lift to businesses.