By Jeremy Auestad, Marketing Manager

Five years ago, most business owners did not understand the importance of being found online. The vast majority thought that the Yellow Pages were the best way to advertise their business on a local level and that they would remain the best local advertising medium. Now, those same business owners would give anything to be able to go back and establish an online presence that would have secured great ranking on a local and organic level today. The bad news is that they can’t. The good news is that there is something big around the corner and it is not too late to get on board!

Some important figures:
91% of Americans have a cell phone. [1] If you take out children and the elderly and that’s pretty much everyone!
20% of people with cell phones (45 million) have smart phones (web browser capable). This percentage is growing by about 20% every three months. [2] At this rate, just about every American will own a smartphone by the end of 2012.

Mobile search is quickly becoming a major player in the local advertising space. In a year or two, most business owners are going to be kicking themselves because they waited too long to try to get their foot in the door… just like those who waited too long to establish an online presence for local search. In larger markets, where there is more competition, a lot of small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) are already beginning to create marketing plans that aim to satisfy the future need for good mobile search rankings. Fortunately, it is still early enough in this new trend to make some early moves that will pay off big time in the future!

Three moves that will pay off:

Get listed in local search (that’s the maps section; specifically Google.)
Improve online presence (website, reviews, links, etc)
Start researching and finding ways to include your business in popular industry specific directories.

#1 Get Listed in Local Search; specifically Google.
Right now, a lot of mobile search applications are using local search results to provide the information that they are displaying. This will serve as a great foundation for your company in mobile search down the road.

#2 Improve Online Presence
It is impossible to predict exactly how the majority of mobile search apps will get the information they choose to display in the future… but what is for certain is that the information will come from the Internet. Continuing to increase your online presence should be the #1 priority for all SMBs right now!

#3 Include Your Business in Popular Industry Specific Directories.
Establishing your presence in industry specific directories now will pay off in the future. As more mobile search apps are created, they will surely get more and more specific. Already, we are starting to see apps that allow users to find a great local restaurant or highly rated locksmiths. It is a good bet that in the near future there will be an app that targets just about every service based industry. The best places for these apps to find information to display as search results is by accessing industry specific databases online.

It is understandable that trying to keep up with all of the rapid changes in local advertising can be frustrating. The truth is that there is no end in sight, however. Technology is evolving faster than the average business can adapt to keep up with it. It is important to get your priorities in order and make the commitment to establish your online presence first. Then the rest gets easier. It pays to be a leader in your industry when it comes to your online advertising. Instant gratification is a rarity in online marketing, yet those who wait to try to see what works for their competition are already a year or two behind. By the time they have made a commitment to catch up, something new has already come along. This is why it is smart to hire a company like Local Splash to take that load off your shoulders when it comes to online marketing.

We prepare our customers for the perpetual evolution of local online marketing, including mobile search, and we position them to make a smooth transition into the future!