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ComScore, in a study called “State of Local Search” commissioned by the Local Search Association, tells us that:
• 77.1 million mobile subscribers access local business content-up 34% in the last year.
• Local content users now account for 33% of all mobile subscribers, also up from 25% last year.
• The number of local mobile content users with GPS-capable devices has grown to 87% from 76% last year.
• 64% of local mobile content users own smartphones and the three most popular smartphones for local searches are Apple, Google’s Android and RIM’s Blackberry.
• The main categories of local mobile search breaks down as follows:
o 26% accessed weather, up 41% year-over-year
o 18% accessed maps, up 41% year-over-year
o 12% accessed movie information, up 32% year-over-year
o 10% accessed restaurant information, up 40% year-over-year
o 8% accessed business directories, up 26% year-over-year
o 8% accessed classifieds, up 51% year-over-year
• 73% local content users access local content via a browser although 56% do so through an application.
• Online daily deal coupons are getting more and more popular. 37% of local searchers report already having purchased one in the past. The most popular types of coupons are restaurants (56%), retail stores (32%), and tourist attractions (13%)
• 79% of those who purchased an online coupon said they visited the local business again after taking advantage of the coupon
Given all of the above, local businesses cannot ignore mobile as a medium. You need to do all of the following:
1. Invest in building mobile-friendly websites
2. Craft the information to a consumer ‘on the go’. So for restaurants, make sure you include mobile-friendly menus as well as a click-to-call so that people can easily contact you for reservations.
3. Ensure you are listed on all major online business directories: Internet Yellow Pages, CitySearch, Yelp
4. Explore opportunities to use location-based advertising platforms like Foursquare
5. Consider creating your own online coupon or investing in a daily deals promotion like Groupon or Living Social. Not only will you get immediate sales through coupon redemption, you will also increase the potential for new sales through repeat customers.
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