Get ready to test the mobile search waters

Soon, most of the expected 191 million Americans carrying a mobile device will be searching for everything local on their phone — an opportunity for marketers to dip their toe into the mobile search waters. According to TMPDM research, two out of three Wi-Fi-enabled consumers already look up local listings and maps on their smartphones. This doesn’t mean that you need to revamp your whole campaign, but you do need to extend it slightly to diversify your media mix.

Invest in Google’s Adwords for mobile Most businesses have not tapped into Google’s offering because it is so new, but this service is an easy extension to your existing Adwords campaign.  

Ensure that your listings are correct Businesses often find their local listings inaccurate, from their phone number to the physical business address. Many Internet yellow pages offer mobile applications for smartphones, so ensuring your business listing is accurate for the mobile searcher is critical to boosting sales.

Investigate social/mobile search behavior Look at local search sites that invest in mobile as well as social search tools. Citysearch lets Facebook users read and write reviews on their devices. These reviews are then broadcast in Facebook, allowing you to read Citysearch reviews from your Facebook News Feed. Businesses can track Facebook reviews of their establishments, to take easy advantage of local, word-of-mouth promotion.

Consider mobile voice search With a possible 2.1 billion ad-sponsored directory assistance calls to be made by 2012, voice search is a wise tool to examine. Mobile phone searchers are in an advanced phase of the buying cycle — typically with an immediate need — so you can target specific messages and even offer coupons to searchers receiving listings via text.

As more people buy smartphones and carriers offer unlimited data plans at little cost to the consumer, it will be imperative for advertisers to weave mobile into their search strategy. Early adopters of mobile local search will have the benefit of testing  the platform and building loyalty without a huge investment.

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