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Local marketers say they prefer direct mail over digital

neighborhood-413603-mHave you checked your mailbox today? Not the one on your computer or smartphone – that metal one in front of your house. Not as exciting as it used it to be, is it?

Let me put on my swami hat and guess what’s in your mailbox. . . . bills. . . . circulars. . . direct mail offers from local businesses.  .  . and a couple of you got a card from your mom. (You never call anymore.)

Even though most of us prefer email to physical mail, 81% of local businesses are still using direct mail as a way to reach customers.

Funny thing is, according to The 2014 Brandmuscle State of Local Marketing Report  even though more local businesses use direct mail, they’re more satisfied with the results they get from email.

25% of small business have zero presence in local search results [infographic]

If 88% of consumers who search for local businesses on their mobile device ultimate call or visit that business within 24 hours, I’d want to make sure my business was found. Wouldn’t you?

Apparently 25% of small businesses have failed to get the memo, because they have zero presence in Google or Bing local search results!

Small Business Local Marketing Infographic

(Via Infographic Journal)

Facebook trumps Yelp for local business recommendations

When it comes to online reviews of local businesses, we tend to think of Yelp as the king of influence.

Well, according to BrightLocal’s 2014 Local Consumer Review Survey, aside from Word of Mouth, the majority of us prefer to share our recommendations via Facebook. In fact, of the ~5,000 North American consumers surveyed, 38% prefer to share reviews on Facebook, while just 13% share reviews on Yelp.

Local reviews recommendations

And, those consumers are heading to the internet to share reviews in greater numbers. As you can see, the number of consumers that check local reviews almost every day, more than doubled in the past 12 months:

Online reviews for local businesses

With smarter phones and improved local business websites it’s no wonder more of us are using the web to research our offline purchases.

Looking for something? Go Google My Business

At some point, not to long ago, Google went from being a proper noun to a verb. Has that ever happened before?

Google, googling and googled are also words that you can look up in the dictionary and they all refer to the action of searching for something online. It’s pretty amazing. Does anyone ever say I’m going to “Bing” it or “AltaVista” it? No but I digress, as I often do.

This post is all about the new “Google My Business” dashboard which will soon be taking the place of “Places for Business” and the “Google+ Dashboard.” If you were using either of those two services, your data will automatically migrate over to the new platform. If you weren’t using those services – why not? Go now and sign up for Google My Business – it’s free and it makes it really easy to keep your information up-to-date across multiple channels. (I can’t stand it when Google says a business is open until a certain time and I drive there only to find the place actually closes two hours earlier!)

Amazon Local opens to reviews, could be first step to larger local marketplace

IMG_0394Amazon Local is a daily deal site like Groupon but there’s a rumor going around that it’s about to expand into a much more comprehensive service. There’s talk of an Amazon Local Marketplace where you can find a babysitter for your child, a doctor for your dog or vice versa.

Such a service would put Amazon in competition with Angie’s List and Yelp and Forbes says that just talk of Amazon getting into that end of the business caused stock prices for both companies to drop.

Amazon has been experimenting with same-day grocery deliveries for awhile. Earlier this week, I received an email saying that the service was now available in my area  – for a measly $299 a year! I’m sure there’s an audience that wouldn’t blink at that price, especially in Los Angeles. I’m not a part of that audience but if I was a busy executive living in a condo in the city, having someone deliver my groceries for that price would be a nice perk.

New study shows boomers are riding the local-mobile train, too

We know that Gen Y and Gen X rarely leave the house without their mobile phones. It’s a tool they grew up with and can’t remember living without. On the other end of the seesaw are the baby boomers who remember the days when you had to drop a dime in a payphone to make a call from a public place. Can’t find the store you’re looking for? That same phone booth has a handy dandy telephone book on a chain that you can use to look it up. How archaic!

But a new survey conducted by Thrive Analytics and released today by the Local Search Association, shows that now older generations are climbing on board the local-mobile train, too.

Local Search Boomer Survey

Twitter and Foursquare Test Features That Keep Data Close to Home

washington-dc-on-the-map-1-369936-mMarketers have been using geotargeting on the web to serve up appropriate ads for a long while. We’re all used to it and not at all creeped out when we’re surfing the web and see an ad for a local retailer. But with mobile, it’s different. I don’t know why but we all get a little chill when there’s talk of using cell phone geolocation technology to deliver ads and other information.

Mobile feels more personal and more immediate. Someone can track me based on my IP address but that just gets them in the neighborhood not to my house. . . . right? (I hope.) If you’re tracking my cell phone, you know exactly where I am. Exactly. And that gets scary. Admittedly, in 99.9% of cases it’s not a security threat but it still feels like one.