Mobile: The Ghost Of Future Local SMB Marketing

“If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with ‘Local Online Marketing” on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!” – Ebenezer Scrooge

Tis the season to contemplate the future of the local Web marketing for small businesses (SMBs) my friends. For all of you tight-fisted hands at the grindstone, 2012 is loaded with opportunity. But are you going to be a Marley, the walking dead bogged down by the chains of your past, or a reborn Scrooge, dancing in the streets in your pajamas?

“There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you’re not here any more.” – The Ghost of Xmas Present

The Ghost Of Present Local Web Marketing

I know, I forgot the Past. The Past is done. Move on already. Local Web Marketing was and is a simultaneously compelling and confusing opportunity for small business marketers. Some present-day stats to consider – courtesy of BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor study released earlier this month at the ILM West conference:

SMBs Are Spending An Increasing Amount Of Marketing Budgets Online


87% of SMBs surveyed are spending 24% of their marketing budgets online. In a recession/post-recession/whatever you want to call this thing we’re in. Where do you think that number is heading? Certainly not down (ok it went down this year, but the long term trend is up).

If you are not focused on the Web not only are you missing out on a lot of the action, you are getting totally served by your competition who is already there.

But SMB Websites Suck!

Can you believe only 13% of SMB websites have a local phone number on their home page? I sure can. Think of all the missed opportunities. I often hear SMBs say that they don’t care about clicks to their website, all they care about is calls and people walking in the door. Well, this stat, along with the general crappiness of most SMB sites says that they really don’t care about any of it.

Forget about SEO, social media and other fancy-pants ways to get customers online. Spend a little time on your website, figure out what it is you want the customer to do there (e.g., call you) and make sure the primary thing it does is help the customer do it (e.g. put your frigging phone number on the home page).

So the Present is a bit bleak. But again, let’s move on and focus on the future:

“Ghost of the Future, I fear you more than any spectre I have seen.” – Ebenezer Scrooge

The Future Is Mobile Baby

When it comes to local search, mobile is quickly becoming where it’s at. Cases in point:

…and on and on and on.

Now I know what you’re thinking. It’s too early. It’s not for my type of business. There’s not enough volume, etc. Well, in a sense that all may be true. The mobile marketing biz is in its infancy, but out of the mouths of babes consider the following:

1. As mentioned above, mobile search volume continues to grow at an astronomical pace, and the new smartphones unleashed over the holidays should keep that trend going.

2. Mobile-optimized websites should have a natural advantage in mobile SEO. Why wouldn’t Google and Bing want to send a mobile phone user to a mobile site instead of a normal website?

3. The competition for mobile advertising at a local level is low. Most of your competition can barely wrap their heads around standard search advertising, let alone mobile advertising. This means that a mobile AdWords campaign are cheaper on a per-click basis.

Check out the following list of common local search keywords and the comparison of their CPC for desktop queries v. mobile queries:

According to AppStack, a SMB mobile marketing start-up (Full disclosure: I am an advisor to AppStack), local mobile advertisers are currently saving about 50% on cost-per-click via Mobile AdWords on a consistent basis. Now I don’t know about you, but when I see I can save 50% off my ad budget and get the same clicks, I pay attention.

Mobile-optimized websites can convert mobile traffic at much higher rate. According to Google, mobile optimized ad campaigns can see a 49% increase in conversions. Combine this with a lower cost-per-lead and you are looking at big potential savings on your cost-per-conversion.

So my advice to you, dear reader, is to explore mobile this year. See if it works for you. At the very least, optimize your site for mobile traffic. Make sure your phone number is displayed prominently and offer a limited set of options for visitors that will look good on a phone browser.

And for those of you who choose to ignore the mobile in 2012 here’s one last quote:

“I’m just mad because I’ve lost my money… my shineys.” – Scrooge McDuck

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Local Search Column | Search Marketing: Local Search Marketing | Search Marketing: Mobile


About The Author: is the proprietor of Local SEO Guide, a local search engine optimization consulting company specializing in yellow pages seo and local directory search—the blog is pretty fabulous too.

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  • jhuman

    hmmm. 50% savings for the same results??

  • T.L.

    Great article. I hope SMBs are reading and put their phone number on their websites. Seems a bit silly to have a web presence and no way to contact the business … Yikes. Completely agree with you the mobile. Get jatarted now or miss out on the huge opportunity that’s available.

  • Jeff Ferguson

    The math is off on the savings (it looks like they just divided one number into the other rather than doing a difference calculation), but the advice is still very sound.

    Make sure you separate out your campaigns for mobile as well so you can track them separately!

  • S.M.

    Wow, I love this article, I was just having a conversation with one of my clients yesterday about how important it is going to be for them to have a mobile optimized website. They mentioned someone was trying to sell them an App and how it was the next big thing.

    I asked them when they have heard about someone downloading an app to find a car wash! I mean really, I think people looking for a ca wash are much more likely to go to Google in their mobile device and type in car wash.

  • Andrew Shotland

    Jeff, I think my wording could be a bit more precise. The numbers on the “savings” column show the mobile CPC as a % of the desktop PPC.


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