3 Ways to Be a Better Local Search Marketer With the Apple Watch

Wearable tech and smartwatches have been around for a while, but Apple is poised to turn the industry on its head with the release of the Apple Watch. The convenience of using a device on your wrist to do everything from check into your hotel room to search for homes will change behaviors such as communication, exercise, and shopping. This shift in behavior will have huge ramifications on how national marketers target and engage consumers at the local level.

The Apple Watch creates exciting and transformative opportunities for national marketers that compete locally. The potential for hyperlocal marketing increases by leaps and bounds, as does the potential for hypertargeted marketing. But these developments aren’t going to happen overnight, and there are some steps that marketers need to take now in order to get ready for what’s ahead.

1. Get Your Local Search House in Order

It has never been more critical for businesses to invest in local search marketing. As Google recently reported, “near me” searches have exploded in recent years – growing by 34 times since 2011 and nearly doubling in just the last year. It is reasonable to expect that the Apple Watch will encourage more “near me” searches, including voice-activated searches with Siri. Since 80 percent of local searches on mobile phones convert, marketers need to organize their local data now and be visible in those mobile moments where and when consumers are looking for them. Brands and businesses would be wise to invest in automated platforms and enterprise solutions that are designed to provide accurate information to the local search ecosystem. By organizing the name, address, phone, and other pertinent data into a local marketing automation platform, brands will make the information readily available and actionable for Apple Watch users.

2. Capitalize on the Micro Moment

The rise in “near me” searches dovetails nicely with the second opportunity marketers need to start planning for: location-based targeted marketing. The Apple Watch and iBeacon technology provide marketers an additional opportunity to connect with their customers by extending relevant content and experiences to their wrists based on their behavior and location. Forrester Research refers to these simple interactions between a brand and consumer as “micro moments.”

Location-based marketing is no longer a passive activity in which the brand makes information available and hopes that consumers will find it. Marketers can now reach out to consumers who opt in to receive content from their favorite brands, an example being a national retailer that lets you create a shopping list on your Apple Watch and shows you where to find your products in the store. Of course, it’s important that brands wisely choose the right moments to engage with customers or else risk becoming intrusive. Marketers need to start planning now how they are going to start leveraging these “micro moments” so that they can begin gathering needed data and ultimately start engaging customers.

3. Go Frictionless

Finally, retailers need to jump on the Apple Pay bandwagon (which powers transactions made with the Apple Watch) and be prepared to start accepting other forms of contactless payment technology. Google Wallet made inroads with its app-and-tap tech, and certain credit cards have added a chip that eliminates the need to swipe, but both of these options still require a customer to pull either a phone or card out of a wallet, pocket, or purse. With wearable tech like the Apple Watch that comes with frictionless payment options, customers no longer need to carry cards or fumble around in their pockets to find a payment device; everything they need is already on their phone and wrist. This layer of convenience will encourage customers to start shopping exclusively at stores that accept swiping one’s watch as a form of payment. To remain relevant, marketers will need to appeal to swiping consumers.

Are You Ready for Transformation?

The Apple Watch isn’t the only player in wearable tech, but its entry into the field almost ensures that the marketplace is about to get a lot more competitive – leading to a lasting and transformative impact on local search marketing. Marketers can’t afford to take a wait-and-see approach. Instead of perpetually playing catch-up, they need to prepare now to get ahead. By quickly adapting to the next generation of wearable tech, national brands will be ready to take advantage of all the opportunities that the Apple Watch provides to connect with their customers at the local level.

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