The way that consumers are using the internet is changing. Thanks to the rise in Smartphone and tablet use, location is playing an increasingly important part in what people are looking at online.
Most people on social media now use GPS or other technology to show people where they are and search engines are increasingly using this technology to give more location specific search results.
Google are trying to incorporate more location specific information into their search algorithms.
For example, they have said that they will be giving more importance to local phone numbers than to national numbers. More location specific information will be given to those accessing the internet via mobile than those who are accessing through a PC.
Businesses are being forced to work on a more local level, although the internet gives them a potential reach to the entire world.
This is the nature of how the internet is working now. People want to do business with people, the more local the better. This is proving to be a problem for large national and multi-national businesses, because up until now, strategies have been to centralise everything.
How Can Mobile Help My Business?
The main thing about the location independence of mobile is that people are accessing the internet from anywhere now.
The information gained from this though is extremely valuable to a business. If you have a chain of restaurants, for example, you can see where people are looking at your information from.
If suddenly there are a lot of people in Clapham looking at your restaurant in Islington, then you can think about opening your next one in Islington.
By having specific location information about your customer base, it makes it much easier to make informed business decisions.
Another bonus to mobile is that people are accessing the internet and reviewing all of the time. So if they had a great experience in your restaurant, they are automatically posting a photo of their delicious meal on Facebook which then gives your business more exposure.
How Do I Make My Business Work With Mobile?
The first thing that you need to do is make your website compatible with mobile and get on social media. The next thing that you need to do is think in both a national and local way.
If you have restaurants dotted about London, create separate pages for each one on your website, with contact details (including a local phone number) and maybe an interactive map.
You should try to create a community around each one. Put up pictures of the restaurant, the staff, and events and treat it like an individual branch of your business tree.
It is important to remember that a website can be managed from anywhere, so you don’t need a specific person in each ‘branch’ to manage your online output, you can have someone in an independent location doing this.
If your business isn’t about personal contact and doesn’t have ‘branches’ as such, you can still make location-specific pages. You can talk about your engineer who lives in Northampton or the mechanic in Birmingham and the fact that you deliver to Brighton.
By just adding location information, you are helping to drive traffic and be more ‘searchable’.
The key is to try to appeal to your customer base both in a micro and macro manner. Whilst maintaining the professionalism, procedures and financial benefits of being a national company, you can also work on a local level by getting involved in the community and showing the personal side of your business.
By reproducing this approach in your online presence via your website and social media, you not only get a great balance for your customers but also optimise your search-ability.
Digital Marketing Manager
The Internet Marketing Academy
(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)