Managing location data across hundreds and thousands of locations requires dedicated resources to scale the data and change it. Just as importantly, a business must treat location data as a competitive asset, organized and managed like inventory.
A lot of local marketing companies are operating in the shadow of prior practices and companies that created a lot of distrust in the market, says Moz CEO Sarah Bird, who will be a speaker at Street Fight Summit West next week: “Part of the vision of online-to-offline attribution is to overcome that snake oil effect and build trust so you can point to data.”
Merchants and marketers have to be findable and present useful information regardless of the searcher’s context. And that’s where the mechanics of local search marketing get messy. It feels like a great opportunity for tools and managed services that help break down those silos, and measure effectiveness across or between them.
It turns out reports of voice calling’s death are greatly exaggerated. Despite an explosion in data usage and mobile messaging, voice calling — facilitated by search and virtual assistants — remains a popular activity among mobile users. A lot of those calls are going to local businesses, where they are more likely to convert to revenue than web forms or emails.
The importance of relevant searches extends beyond search engines. For publishers, custom site search that helps make better decisions about how to maximize the impact of their content, know and understand the likes of their users, and increase their level of engagement can make a material difference in their business. “The key to building a relevant search experience is blending complex signals together and ensuring your site search algorithm is always improving,” said Swiftype co-founder Matt Riley.
Microsoft recently announced that Bing turned its first profit since being launched in 2009. The company continues to extend its reach, grow its share of the search market, and add features that make it a stronger commerce tool. The question businesses should be asking is not whether Bing will catch up to Google, but whether they view Bing as a critical publisher to improve the reach of their location data.
Small businesses continue to be in love with social media. In the first in a series of surveys Street Fight will be conducting with Alignable, we asked approximately 100 small business owners to rate their most effective marketing tools and tactics among a list of a dozen. Two-thirds of respondents selected social media as one of their top three. SEO and email rounded out the list of leading techniques.