If real estate's most recognizable mantra is "location, location, location", then the equivalent for effective small business marketing campaigns is "local, local, local".
Traditionally speaking, small and midsized businesses (SMBs) have been able to compete with their bigger, brand-name competitors through listings in the so-called "Yellow Pages". But, realistically, when was the last time you picked up a printed directory to search for a contact? These days, you're more likely to search for something on the web, and, increasingly, the mobile web.
With that in mind, the company behind one of the web-based local US directory alternatives, Yellowbook, has created a service to help SMBs both optimize their mobile website presence and improve their search results with potential customers who are searching for products or services in specific locations.
That service is provided under a new offering called the hibu business store, where SMBs can handle everything from registering a mobile domain to designing a banner advertising campaign. For example, the pricing for setting up a mobile website starts at $9.99 per month for the "do it yourself" option, or you can pay more to have someone handle it for you. Other services include online store setup and email marketing resources.
For perspective on the importance of mobile websites for small businesses, consider some of the data uncovered in a new report by the Local Search Association. Traffic to online directories and other local information resources more than quadrupled in 2012, accounting for 27 percent of total web traffic in December 2012, according to the research prepared for the association by comScore.
What's more, almost half of all US mobile users (48 percent) used their devices to research local content, which was up from 42 percent one year earlier. Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) were particularly useful for the businesses participating in the research, because they were reaching prospects that were more qualified, the data shows.
"IYP mobile apps are a powerful tool for local businesses to reach ready-to-buy consumers," said Neg Norton, president of the Local Search Association, in the press release about the report. "As the marketing continues to evolve, IYP mobile apps represent an easy first step for local businesses to expand their integrated advertising efforts into the mobile space."