Search Marketing Influencer Series: Jeremy Kressmann – Part 3

Nov
02
2015

Concluding our conversation with Jeremy Kressmann of Wanderlust Strategy Group, a marketing consultancy supporting the travel industry and related media brands. Prior to founding Wanderlust, Kressmann was a market research analyst at eMarketer, specializing in digital advertising trends around local search, mobile, and ecommerce.

We’ve spent a good part of our discussion focused on mobile’s rising influence on local search, but you thought we should get ‘back to basics’ for the last part of the discussion. Why is that?
While there are lots of exciting local search innovations on the horizon – including more automation and predictive services that can anticipate user need – it’s absolutely critical for brands to remember the “basics.”  I fear we sometimes transfix on the newest, shiniest thing in the ecosystem at the expense of the tried and true best practices around good local search.

How would you define good local search?
Good, in this instance, is about keeping the brand house in order regardless of what comes next. Fundamentals will always be important. Here are a few key examples:

  • Make sure your brand or business is properly listed
    This should be the No. 1 priority for every business owner. No excuses here. DIY only goes so far. The likes of YP, Yext, and other companies with solid local market expertise can help – and in a big way.
  • Keep listings up-to-date
    Your list should never be considered “one and done.” Everything in life changes; your business listing is no exception. Revisiting and revising digital profiles should be a standard business practice. And remember, whatever you list online must always sync with your physical presence.
  • What are your customers searching for?
    Why not ask them? What are their common questions when they call? Do they want to know about specific products? Or do they want to know about hours of operation? All of that needs to be included and updated regularly in your listing. This is also a great opportunity to fully optimize listing based on specific keywords and phrases.

Good suggestions. Let’s take that one step further. Taking mobile into consideration, do the “basics” of local search change?
Mobile just makes the list of best practices a tad bit longer. Here are a few more things to keep in mind:

  • Stay mobile-optimized
    This is table stakes. If you have an online presence of any kind, you need to make sure it’s mobile-optimized. And take it upon yourself to see how local search results for your brand appear on different screen sizes as well as different mobile platforms. It’s not always “one size fits all.” However, given the mobile-centric usage patterns of GenY, you should have all the motivation you need to invest the necessary time and budget into this.
  • Up your phone skills
    Train the staffers picking up the phone immediately on how to address customer needs. Businesses often forget the impact call centers make in creating a first and lasting impression. That incoming phone call is an opportunity to make your brand shine. So it goes without saying that the people answering those phones should be prepared to handle whatever scenario comes their way. Improper training and preparation risks losing potential (or existing) customers, dampening opportunities for revenue growth, and, heaven forbid, creating negative brand experiences. These are all avoidable.

Which takes me to my last point…

  • Manage reviews with deftness
    Always respond to customer reviews – especially when customers feedback is less than constructive (you’ll have to suck up your pride a bit). Comments oftentimes offer details that you can use (immediately) to improve your customer’s experience with your business. How are people buying the product? How can you add coupons or loyal customer offers to your purchase? Listen. Think. Respond. Act. Your customers are providing you with a wealth of insight. Don’t take it for granted.

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