While geo-marketing’s definition is the association of data and maps in the traditional sense, the added convergence of local business listings, mobile marketing, and social media makes this method of marketing more powerful than ever before. This marketing tool is no longer just a large business marketing tool, but is available to small and medium size businesses too.
We should define what we mean by local business. A local business is any sized business dependent on the local consumer for its revenue. This means you could be a national company like Home Depot, U-Haul, or Best Buy or you could be a local florist or independent store only known to your local geography.
From a technical standpoint an Internet users IP address is tied to GPS data, like longitudes and latitudes, which are mapped with technology to geographies around the world down to the city and street level. While all this data may seem overwhelming, the good news is that most businesses do not need to concern themselves with this part of geo-marketing. Many of the tools already have all of this information built into their software or hardware technology so we can stay focused on how we will use geo-marketing tools.
The difficulty with any new marketing tool is a business’s inability to adopt the methodology early. When it comes to technologies and the Internet, in the past, by the time most businesses are ready to adopt a marketing tool, the industry has already moved on to something new. Being an early or at least an earlier adopter of marketing methods on the Internet and through digital devices can only benefit the business.
We have seen many signs over the past two years regarding the evolution of geographic marketing. When companies like Google, Apple, and the investment community of Wall Street start to put $100+ million and more behind a technology it will become part of our daily lives whether a business wants it or not. Consumers have and will be using more of these geo-marketing tools to find a business, service or products near them.
Let’s take a look at the three main tools that consumers are using to find a business, products or services close their geography.
- Web searches are the first and most obvious, however, these are web searches in which a map displays with targets of businesses that match the search criteria. Unlike the traditional yellow pages, these geo-listings (a.k.a. Local Business Listings) can be claimed and updated with your business marketing information in order to meet these search criteria.
While this may sound relatively easy, geo-listings also include consumer reviews that need to be managed, the clean-up of duplicate listings, coupons, offers, discounts, offers, video, photos, citations, QR bar codes and hyper local websites. Understanding what to start with and how to strategically use these components can be done by a professional marketing firm that specializes in this area. You can read more about these components in one of our previous articles on local business marketing.
- Mobile Marketing is the next most significant geo-marketing tool in which SMS Texting, Mobile Applications, Mobile version of your website, and Mobile advertising are your key components. The starting point in this process will be with SMS Texting to get your alerts out to customers that subscribe to your short bursts of information. The reason why this is your starting point is that it will take time to build your list of subscribers.
- Social Media Marketing continues to evolve and is, also, geographic in its targeting ability. Consumers are using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Wiki sites, Four Square, Instant Messaging and other social community tools on their mobile devices. While they use it mostly to find business, products and services, in the social communities they are seeking recommendations from their friends (near and far). They are, also, using these social communities to post their experiences with a business, product or service. For this reason you have to monitor the social communities in order to embrace any potential problem situations and work with them.
These three geo-marketing components are important to any business size – large or small – and each have their own sub-components that need to be well understood in order to succeed. Understanding the strategy amongst them; the acceptance and embracing them early; and, finally planning on a 3-year return will put you on the right path of geo-marketing.