Where do people go for local information? Online, that’s where. According to the Pew Research Center, more folks turn online than any other medium – including newspapers, TV or word-of-mouth – for information and resources.
And they don’t just go online for information, but also to shop. According to Google, 53% of users make purchases as a result of smartphone searches.
To help you capitalize on the vast opportunities presented by the local market, here are five of the most meaningful local marketing trends for 2012:
1. Paid Search Still Packs a Powerful Punch
Regardless of your local marketing mix, you need to test the opportunities provided to you through paid search marketing. The Kelsey Group reports that 74% of Internet users perform local searches. Additionally, according to the Pew Research study mentioned above, 53% of survey respondents used Search to find local restaurant, bar and club information, and 35% searched for information on other types of local businesses. Google states that a full 20% of searches, or more than 2 billion monthly Google searches, are local in nature.
2. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
With more than 320 million mobile subscriptions in the U.S., there is no denying that the country is mobile. That includes your local neighborhood. According to Microsoft Tag, mobile internet usage will overtake desktop internet usage by 2014. Google states that 40% of mobile queries are related to location and that 70% of smartphone users use their device while shopping in-store.
Whether you run a real estate agency, hotel, restaurant, retail store or contracting business, you need to think mobile to effectively reach your customers and prospects. The most popular ways to get involved in mobile local marketing in 2012 will include:
- Display advertising
- Video (YouTube mobile gets 400 million views a day.)
- QR Codes
3. Deals, Deals, Deals
Deals have grown in popularity in recent years, and 2012 will be no different. Groupon boasts more than 50 million subscribers and is the fastest growing company ever. That’s right, EVER!
In addition to the wildly popular Groupon site, Living Social, Google and even Amazon are offering enticing deals, promotions and incentives. With the daily deals market projected to double in size in 2011, and with so much investment being made in this space, expect a great deal of innovation in 2012.
Users of location-based apps are twice as likely to share product information with others, according to Forrester Research, and therefore are a valued audience. From augmented reality, check-in platforms, dynamic map-based services, meetup apps, and geo-triggered promotions, expect location awareness to elevate to the next level in 2012. Juniper Research expects revenue for mobile location-based services to reach $13 billion by 2014.
Another side of this coin is location-awareness enabling technologies. Expect 2012 to be a year filled with new companies arising to help marketers build location-awareness into their solutions.
5. Localization Will Trump Local
Local marketing has been a hot topic for several years. However, what will set the ultimate winners apart from the pack in the local market in 2012 is “localization,” or customization of your marketing for each specific geographic target.
Take hotels, for example. Various national chains run generic local ads across the country, but one Boston hotel management firm increased its reservation phone calls from the web by 508% in their first month after moving to a localized strategy. Local has been the rage, but the more meaningful trend in 2012 will be localization.
Get ready for 2012 by capitalizing on the local mobile trends. Whether you’re leveraging Search, mobile, deals, location-awareness or localization – or a combination of these tactics – there are plenty of local marketing opportunities that will help your business drive growth in the coming year.