Posts Tagged ‘Search Starts Here 2013’

Experts Predict Success When Taking Verticalized Approach to ‘Local’

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New, useful ways of locating local business information are popping up on a regular basis, making the local search and advertising space a much more competitive environment.  Specialized tools like OpenTable for making restaurant reservations and ZocDoc for scheduling doctor appointments are examples of some of these new ways consumers are finding and connecting with local businesses. Some experts predict that the publishers and advertisers who take a more verticalized approach to local markets will find more success than those who take a broad based approach.

During the 2013 Search Starts Here Conference, industry analysts, leaders and influencers discussed the importance of catering to verticals as opposed to trying to take on everything “local.”  Here is what they had to say:

Local Marketing Experts Discuss Importance of Helping Small Businesses Win

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Google estimates that 97 percent of consumers seek information about local businesses via online search.  Yet, many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are still difficult to find online. During the 2013 Search Starts Here Conference, industry analysts, experts and influencers discussed the tremendous opportunity to help these businesses with their digital marketing efforts.  Here is a two-minute video of numerous thought leaders talking about the value in helping SMBs win:

 

‘Search Starts Here’: Facebook Talks Small Business Social Marketing

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In our closing session for this year’s conference, Dan Levy, director of small business at Facebook, sat down with Greg Sterling.

Dan talked about the importance of local search at Facebook, saying there are 15 million small businesses who have pages on Facebook.  Users are responding.  There are 645 million page views in U.S. of local pages in the average week, and 70 percent of users in North America are connected to at least one local business.

Dan counseled small businesses to use the free product, Facebook Pages, to create a presence and begin interacting with customers.

For those businesses that want to go beyond Pages, Dan said there are two main options.  “We’ve built a number of ad products that work from the biggest brands in the world to the local small businesses.”

The first is a way of targeting and reaching customers that you aren’t connected with, with targeting based on the geography, age, demographics, male/female, kids, interests.  The second is a sponsored story by taking the things your customers are already saying or already doing and promoting it.

Dan said tools like Facebook Offers, Facebook Nearby, Graph Search, and Facebook Home on Android will continue to help small businesses engage with customers.  And he said that Facebook isn’t really a new approach to marketing – it’s rooted simply in how businesses and customers have interacted for years.

“We hear small businesses say ‘We are trying to grow our business … we are trying to find new customers.’  We know that businesses, since the beginning of time, have relied on word of mouth to drive sales.  That’s what we’re trying to do – provide them with a word of mouth megaphone.”

“The first thing I’d be doing is talking to your small businesses about what actually has always worked in their business.  A lot of people think about social media as a new property.  We don’t think about it that way at all.  Ask them what’s worked in the past.  If it’s coupons, maybe you should do Offers.  At a minimum, set up a Page.”

In terms of measurement, Dan said that businesses need to think beyond clicks and that measurement doesn’t have to be complicated.

“We sometimes forget the simple things you can do.  Just ask customers when they come in ‘how did you hear about us?’  That can be more useful sometimes than doing a big study.”

Greg asked Dan about Facebook’s interest in potential partnerships, and Dan indicated the field was open to find an approach.

“We have not worked very well historically with partners.  Almost all the Pages have been dome by small businesses themselves or perhaps a small agency.  We think that’s a big opportunity … So to the extent that there’s partners that have reach, relevance, and have relationships with the small businesses, we’d love to work with them.”

‘Search Starts Here’: Building the “Local Commerce Operating System”

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

This afternoon LSA’s Brad Carson spoke with four outstanding experts in the small business technology space: Founder of MyTime – Ethan Anderson, VP and General Manager of SaveLocal (Constant Contact) – Dave Gilbertson, CEO of hibu – Bob Gregerson, and Director of Product Management at Groupon – Sean Harper.

One theme rang true throughout the conversation: local commerce operating systems must be kept simple and be performance driven. Small businesses are starved for time, often with a very small staff juggling multiple roles. It’s critical that systems are as simple as possible, and focused on results not tactics.

Interestingly, the panelists agreed that focus on platforms like these should soon incorporate not only customer acquisition but customer retention and loyalty. MyTime’s Ethan Anderson talked about what’s to come from his platform – MyTime technology could scan a customer’s calendar to see where they have time and suggest appointment times with their dentist or doctor.

Across the board in local search the bar is being raised on how we communicate ROI. Bob from hibu said the chief asks he hears from small business owners are “help me grow,” “help me transact” and  “help me be more efficient.” With local commerce operating systems like these we must get small business owners as close to the dollars and cents as possible.

‘Search Starts Here’: Mobile Offers and Loyalty in the Marketing Mix

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

This morning, we heard from three experts on emerging opportunities in local search – mobile offers and loyalty programs. Participants included Jeff Fagel, VP of Marketing & Brand Development at edo interactive; Christopher Folmar, Director of Mobile Development at SuperMedia; and Blair Sweeden, SVP of Strategy & Business Development at Placecast.

The panel identified two key requirements to building mobile offers or loyalty programs:

1)      Respecting Your Customer

It’s very easy for consumers to opt-out of mobile programs, so it’s imperative that businesses offer a value proposition with each offer. Offers should have enough value to give consumers a reason to return and they should be easy to understand and redeem. Offers should be as barrier-free as possible in order to offer value for customers.

2)      Track Your Results

To demonstrate ROI for businesses, programs must be able to tell businesses how many leads were generated. An easy way to track sales is through special QR codes, barcodes and coupon numbers for each offer: these help businesses track exactly how many target customers were converted. Another important factor is to ensure  programs can measure not only how many new customers are attracted, but if those customers continue to return and how much they spend over time.

 

‘Search Starts Here’: Sales Differentiation in a Hyper Competitive Local Media Market

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bob Sanders, president and COO of AXIOM Sales Force Development, believes that sales teams must invest in their own people. In order to realize success, Bob thinks local marketing companies must not only invest in new products and innovation but also in developing and teaching their sales force to adapt to the evolving landscape.

A recent survey found that 53% of small business owners say that conversations with a local salesperson have more impact on their buying decisions than products, brand and price. Bob believes local sales teams need to invest in programs that help team members better engage with SMBs.

There are seven things businesses can do to drive significant improvement in sales:

  • Create a common selling model
  • Gain 100% buy-in from your team
  • Become trusted advisors to SMB clients
  • Invest in elevating the skill and knowledge of your sales team
  • Establish coaching and accountability methods
  • Integrate all customer contact
  • Integrate methodology with CRM

Now more than ever it’s imperative that sales teams become trusted advisors. With so many products and solutions available, SMBs aren’t just looking to buy, they’re also seeking an advisor to help them weed through the options and find what’s best for their business in their environment.

Sales teams must devote time to understanding the current environment every aspect of their client’s business.

See you at Search Starts Here 2013!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Over the next several days, local search industry leaders from the U.S., Canada and 12 other countries will be arriving in Las Vegas for our annual conference, “Search Starts Here.” We’re looking forward to learning, sharing and networking – all in beautiful 80-degree weather!

If you’re in town, be sure to stop by the Yellow Pages Group Golf Tournament at the Arroyo Golf Club on Sunday. It should be a great day to be out on the green!

We’ll be live blogging throughout the conference here at Local Search Insider and live tweeting via @LocalSearchAssh using hashtag #SearchStartsHere. Be sure to follow us and join in on the conversation!

What You Need to Bring to ‘Search Starts Here’ in Vegas

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The “Search Starts Here” Conference in Vegas is quickly approaching and we are just 11 days away.  Help us spread the word and let the Twitter world know you’re coming by using the #SearchStartsHere hashtag.

But before you make your way to Vegas, we want to make sure you are prepared.  Here are some things you are going to want to bring:

  • Business Cards: With an expected attendance of around 400 people and a variety of networking events, you’re going to need a lot of business cards to pass out.
  • Bathing Suit: With the poolside Strategic Exchange Session (SES) cabanas, you might want to take a dip and cool off between meetings because the temperature is looking to be in the upper 70s and 80s.
  • Lucky Rabbit’s Foot: If you have anything that will improve your chances of winning, then bring it.  You can also improve your odds of winning an iPad mini. Each time you get a friend, co-worker, vendor or business partner to sign up for our conference, you will be entered into a raffle for an iPad mini. Just make sure they submit your name and company in the appropriate field when they register.
  • Black and White, Business Casual Attire: This year’s Industry Excellence Awards theme is “A Night in Black and White.”  Come see some of the most innovative and creative work taking place in the local search space as we honor our winners with a brief black and white movie.
  • Chargers: The 4 day, jam-packed agenda is will give you plenty of strategic and tactical insight that you’re going to want to take notes on. Come see our influential speakers and workshops with a full charge.
  • Golf Clubs: This year’s conference golf tournament is sponsored by the Yellow Pages Group and will be held at the beautiful Arroyo Golf Club nestled alongside the breathtaking Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas.
  • Cocktail Attire: Dress up and get pictures with some special guests, enjoy some food and drinks, and take advantage of even more opportunities to network during the Viva Las Local Cocktail Reception and Dinner.
  • Smartphone: The updated LSA mobile app also acts as your personal concierge for the conference. Find out who the next speaker is, where the workshops are being held or get the phone number of a company that you want to do business with, all from your phone!
  • Questions: Be ready to get concentrated access to executives and the many influential local search pros while at the conference.  Pick their brains, get their insight and make the partnerships you need to drive your organization forward.

In addition, TODAY is the last day to take advantage of our special room rate at Planet Hollywood. After today, the price will increase! When booking your room, simply use the attendee group code “SMLSA3″ to guarantee the rate. BOOK ONLINE or you can call the hotel directly at (866) 317-1829.

Register today and we will see you in Vegas!

Top 10 Reasons to Come to ‘Search Starts Here’ Conference April 13-16 in Vegas

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Our conference has really come together nicely and with such great content, it got me thinking about all the compelling reasons local search professionals should come.  Here is my top 10 and while it doesn’t capture every benefit of attending, it gives a good glimpse into the relevancy and importance of our event.

10. Venue: The dynamic Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in the heart of Las Vegas is a one-of-a-kind venue for a one-of-a-kind conference. Book your room today!

9. Las Vegas: Shows, clubs, dining, tours, shopping, gaming, golf, spas, hiking, attractions and more! Take in the great content of our conference while taking advantage of the exciting city of Las Vegas.

8. Industry Excellence Awards: See some of the most innovative and creative work taking place in the local search space during the Industry Excellence Awards.

7. Strategic Exchange Sessions: Whether you registered for an SES or not, these are great for networking and making connections with executives from influential local search companies. There are still tables and poolside cabanas available. For more info, check out our SES Brochure or contact Terri Stabnick (terri.stabnick@localsearchassociation.org) today at (248) 244-0743.

6. Networking Events: With all the networking events planned for the conference, you can catch up with old friends, make some new ones, and, most importantly, develop partnerships with the companies that will help drive your business forward.

5. Vegas: Just in case you forgot, the conference is in Vegas!

4. Workshops: The subject matter and panelists for this year’s workshops are particularly relevant.  Come learn about the latest and greatest technologies and innovations that are impacting areas such as mobile, SEO, social media and more.

3. Speakers: The biggest names in digital, mobile, social and print media will discuss many strategic and tactical topics that are driving the local search industry forward.

2. Attendees: With an expected attendance of about 400 people, our conference puts all of the biggest names in local search in one place.  Don’t miss your chance to network with this influential group.

1. Search Starts Here: Local search is evolving and so are you. Get ahead of the latest trends and be part of the conference that influences the industry. Search truly does start here…

We look forward to seeing you there!  Register today.

Hispanic Local Search Leader YaSabe Secures $2.7M in Funding

Monday, March 18, 2013

YaSabe, America’s largest and fastest growing local search destination that caters to Hispanic consumers, announced today that they have closed a seed round of institutional and angel funding totaling $2.7M. According to the press release, they plan to use the funding for product development, marketing, and continued development of content, traffic, and advertiser partnerships.

YaSabe, which means ‘now you know’ in Spanish, connects millions of users annually to online listings, cultural content and community-sourced information with their fully bilingual interface. They provide content publishers and advertisers with syndicated, relevant content, revenue opportunities and expanded audiences.  Because of its scale and focused bilingual content, YaSabe has helped to elevate search rankings across the Web for information that targets U.S. Hispanics.

Azim Tejani, YaSabe’s Executive Vice President, will be leading a workshop titled “Winning the Hispanic Market” at our upcoming conference in Las Vegas and we are really looking forward to his discussion.

For more info on YaSabe, visit YaSabe.com and to see all of the great content planned for our conference, check out our jam-packed agenda.  See you in Vegas!