Geography matters, plain and simple. It may be the umbrella term for the multifarious interactions that occur on a global scale, but for marketers its meaning can be succinctly stated — connect people and resources.
ESRI provides a great PDF on the various ways geography impacts marketing here, but the topic I want to home in on is geography’s impact on purchasing decisions, especially in the digital sphere.
Advancements in technology in terms of internet access and broadband speeds have provided a means to cut down some of the geographic barriers that create gaps between resources and people. For marketers this means being able to connect with consumers all over the world. E-commerce is a great example of this, as it promotes a level playing field to advertise, display, and purchase products on the internet.
By doing so, consumers have more choices than ever when making their purchasing decisions and marketers have the opportunity to win new customers around the globe. One of the drawbacks of this open and level playing field is the competitive clutter. Or the sheer variety of e-commerce sites out there are with which one has to compete.
Local and mobile marketing campaigns provide a means to cut through the clutter by engaging the viewer on a personalized level where their online experience is connected to their exact location and in a format that is easy for them to convert. A great run down on mobile marketing and its benefits can be read at The Mobile Playbook.
Why Your Site Needs to Be Mobile
Today’s society is becoming more and more wired. One Google study, Mobile Path to Purchase 5 Key Findings, states that consumers are spending time on smartphones at a measure of 15+ hours per week, while another Google study states that smartphone adoption in the US has grown from 36% to 61%. Not only are consumers conducting searches on smartphones, they are utilizing multiple devices (smartphone, tablet, and desktop) to conduct their searches before actually making a purchase.
Sites not designed for mobile provide a less-than-optimal user experience, which can lead to lower rates of conversions and fewer views over time. Google provides these statistics on mobile conversion rates: 80% of mobile searches triggered store visits, while 85% of mobile searches triggered calls to the stores.
When designing a mobile site, consider what your mobile users need the most when they interact with your business. Is it 1) location information; 2) contact information; or 3) a means for quick checkout? These needs should be prioritized in your mobile design and linked to mobile-friendly call-to-actions on the site like “Call Now” or “Order Here” where the consumer can easily move through the sales funnel.
Why Optimize Paid Ads for Mobile and Local?
Providing paid ads is a good way to keep your brand actionable throughout the search process, as it allows your company to be seen on a variety of platforms and search engines in a highly visible way (either through ad spaces on search engines or display spaces). But to provide these ads alone without optimization leads to an inefficient spend, whereas optimizing ads lead to a targeted spend tailored to a highly convertible consumer.
Here are two crucial ways to ways to optimize your paid ads:
- By Time of Day: Is your customer at work, at lunch, getting a cup of morning coffee? At what times are your customers searching for you or your products? Or at what times during your customers’ day can you attract them to your product?
- By Geotargeting: Where are your highly converting customers? What regions, states, cities are they housed in? By providing targeted campaigns to them, these highly converting customers are more likely to see your ads and click when optimized by location. In this line of thinking, if you are a company such as a coffee shop, set geotargeted ads to a specific radial proximity, as searchers are more likely to convert based on locational proximity for everyday goods such as coffee or gas.
Why Create a Local Experience?
Corcoron Group, a New York real estate brokerage, uses geo-targeted ads and time of day to drive people to their open houses. They give the example in Google’s Mobile Playbook: “If there’s a potential client on 23rd Street getting a coffee, we want to reach out to her to tell her that there’s an open house listing three blocks away that starts in 30 minutes.” Here, the Corcoron Group is giving both a localized and personalized experience. By not providing a local experience you leave a gap where searchers are looking for your product, but may not be aware of your brand. By presenting yourself in local search or incorporating local entities into your website you make it easier for searchers to find you as they search for services nearby.
Another way the Corcoron Group has provided a local experience is by connecting with the regional community through local guides. Here the Corcoron Group brands itself as a regional authority with knowledge not only of real estate but of the region as a whole. This information not only relates to home buyers, but to the general community, and effectively places Corcoran Group at the forefront of consumers’ minds when they do decide to purchase a home.
There are a variety of ways to create a localized experience, but the main idea is to generate the most personal experience you can in order to begin and sustain a lasting relationship with consumers. Whether that be through geotargeted ads, locational guides, or by just providing a site that is mobile friendly — these efforts all impact the purchasing decision and facilitate visibility amongst online marketing clutter.
* Statistics provided by Google’s Mobile Playbook.