Imagine that you and some friends are heading out for the evening and you are looking for something to do. You decide on checking out a band and you want to see who is playing in the area that night. You get out your smartphone and search “live band, rock” on Google Places or any one of a number of directories or apps.
The results of the above search may very well determine where that group of people spends the next several hours. The band that comes up on the search will probably gain some new fans and perhaps sell a CD or download or some merch as a result and the venue where they are playing will gain some customers and sell some drinks. All that is made possible because the band and/or the venue was available through local search and because they updated their listings to reflect real time events.
That is the new world of advertising. Businesses (yes music is a business) are able to target customers at the time and place where they are actively looking for their product or service. Social networks allow you to build a customer/fan base and leverage word of mouth advertising through an ongoing relationship with them while other forms of advertising help you to grow that customer/fan base and to bring in first time clients.
But what if you don’t bother to list yourself on local searches or update the important ones when you have a new event? Let me show you with an example. I went on Google Places and did the search “live music, rock” in my area. I found nothing. Yep, nothing, nada in a huge swath of Pennsylvania (see screen shot).
Does this mean that there are no rock bands or venues that feature live bands in most of Pennsylvania? No, it doesn’t. It means that those that are here are not taking advantage of the free local search tools on the web or at least not doing it properly. It also means that our group of friends will not find you tonight and you won’t be earning any of their entertainment dollars.
If you have a business address listed somewhere on the web chances are you will already come up in a search in Google Places. Obviously that isn’t enough though. Local search services give you the opportunity to list your website, describe yourself and even include pictures and keywords. All of that totally free.
Some of the local directories like Foursquare For Business allow you to update on the fly and add upcoming events like the date/time/location of your next gig so that when people do a search they will find YOU. In addition, having all of those links to your website (at least one per service you list with) leading back to your site helps your SEO efforts too.
Of course it helps to know what you are doing when you list your band/business on local directories. Using the right keywords are crucial to being found at all or being found before the competition. You have to think like your intended customer and use the search terms they would probably use as keywords. In the case of the above search apparently no one in Central PA thought that anyone would be searching for a live rock band. But it is kind of an obvious term when you think about it.
To augment the free services there are similar opportunities via paid advertising. Ads can be targeted based on time, date and location. In the above scenario a venue might create a campaign every time they have an event like a live band. The ads would appear to people on mobile devices on the date of the event from two hours before the event until one hour into the event. It would only appear to people within a 10 mile radius of the venue. In this example you would have a good chance of bringing in the group of friends mentioned in the first paragraph.
The opportunities for local businesses are amazing right now but only for those who take advantage of them. I can set up and manage listings on local directories and create and manage event specific ad campaigns. The first call is always free so contact me and let’s see what we can do for you.