Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Tim Peter Thinks

Tim Peter

By

May 12, 2014

What in the World is Happening with Local Search?

May 12, 2014 | By | One Comment

Man using smartphoneThere’s some interesting stuff going on in the world of small business web marketing, particularly with regard to restaurants that has huge impact on local search. Check this out:

Now, some folks suggest this is all about Google competing with Yelp. And I suspect that’s true.

But I also suspect that’s only part of the story.

For one thing, that doesn’t take into account what other players offer at all. Square’s Order app (only available in New York and San Francisco, at the moment), TripAdvisor (though only in France, I believe), and OpenTable, for instance, provide similar functionality and, more importantly, valuable relationships with restauranteurs.

On top of that, most of the write-ups I’ve seen about these acquisitions fail to note that, according to Yodle, “…more than half of SMB owners do not have a website (52%) or even measure the results of their marketing programs (56%).”

Instead, here’s what I think is happening — and why you should care.

I suspect the real reason for these moves is the current shift among consumers towards app usage. Google has relied on search to fill its coffers for years. And as consumers instead use apps to find, research, browse, and buy from local vendors they know and trust — and all evidence suggests they do — Google could easily find itself on the outside looking in. Square, by offering low-cost credit card readers to many small businesses, has gotten a toe-hold with those businesses directly. And they’re starting to use that toe-hold as a stepping stone (if I can mix metaphors), to drive customers to those businesses.

Just like a search engine would.

OpenTable already does the same thing. So does Yelp. And TripAdvisor.

All these tools rely on content from their small business partners. Content that used to be the domain of search engines and, increasingly, appear as the domain of apps.

What all this reflects is the reality that consumers don’t search on the desktop the way they once did (this is the part you should care about). Mobile is changing customer behavior in seriously meaningful ways.

Google sees it. Square sees it. TripAdvisor and Yelp and Foursquare and Facebook and plenty of others see it too. The question is whether you’re doing everything you can to ensure your business benefits, too.

[Note: Updated to include reference to TripAdvisor's purchase of LaFourchette (which I left out originally) and Yelp's launch of Yelp Reservations, which, literally happened about 12 hours after I first hit publish. Again, interesting times, well worth watching.]

If you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, you might want to register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing:

Finally, if you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

July 19, 2013

Local Search is More than Meets the Eye

July 19, 2013 | By | No Comments

20130719-162343.jpgWhen is local not local? It’s not meant as a riddle, but instead as a thought-starter, something to get you thinking about what local really means for your customers.

Oh, and for your brand.

Because, as I write in my latest piece for Mike Moran’s Biznology blog, “Why Local Search is Just Like Politics,” local is about more than just geography (or, more correctly, proximity).

It’s also about those things your customers think about when they really need an answer, when they’re really in the market, when they’re ready to buy. Because local is more than just geography. It’s more than just proximity.

In the immortal words from Jaws: The Revenge, “This time, it’s personal.”

Local search, largely driven by mobile and the “always connected” nature of your customers, is all about personal response.

And my Biznology post explores how you can use that to your advantage in more detail. Check it out if you get the chance.

Interested in learning more about e-commerce and digital marketing? Register to receive a free copy of my new special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. While it’s targeted to the hospitality industry specifically, most of the lessons apply across verticals. And, if that’s not enough, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of strategy, digital marketing, and e-commerce, including:

Tim Peter

By

June 26, 2013

FTC Will Review Google's Pending Waze Acquisition

June 26, 2013 | By | No Comments

Google maps flight search smallA couple of weeks ago, the news broke that Google was buying social-mapping service Waze, which I also talked about at length in the weekly podcast.

Well, not so fast…

According to AllThingsD, the FTC plans to investigate whether the deal violates antitrust. Money quote:

“Google Maps is a leading mapping and navigation service. Waze was a rising rival. In fact, back in April, Waze CEO Noam Bardin was talking up his company as the search behemoth’s only viable competitor in that space.”

I may owe John Pope an apology

Interested in learning more about the future of marketing in a multiscreen world? Register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here or use the form below to receive yours today.


And you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

June 13, 2013

Tim Peter

By

October 19, 2012

A Social, Local Roundup (Small Business E-commerce Link Digest)

October 19, 2012 | By | No Comments

Social, local marketing roundupWell, Google’s had a crappy week, huh?

Their quarterly earnings were released early due to “human error,” (surprising all of us who’d come to believe Google didn’t allow errors — or humans, for that matter). Plus, those earnings weren’t so hot, at least by Wall Street’s standards (they’d be astonishing for many other companies).

Meanwhile, France is looking at legislation Google says threatens their very existence.

Oh and Reuters reports the FTC is close to hitting Google with an antitrust suit.

Now, I’ve been following Google’s antitrust woes over the last few years in posts like “What every small business needs to know about Google’s antitrust investigation,” “Should Google’s antitrust woes worry you?
What Google vs. FairSearch.org and the US Senate Means to You” and “Google, ITA and the coming antitrust war,” so I’m not too surprised by this.

So, just for fun, let’s pretend there’s a world without Google and see what else you can do to grow your business without ‘em:

Have a great weekend, Big Thinkers. We’ll see you back here next week.


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Tim Peter

By

October 9, 2012

Where Are You? Map Searches Increasingly Shifting to Mobile

October 9, 2012 | By | One Comment

Local map searchSearch Engine Watch has an amazing look at how desktop map searches increasingly shifting to mobile noting:

“Searches with a mapping/navigation intent on the Big 5 Engines (Google/Bing/Yahoo/Ask/AOL) are down 34 percent over the past 15 months, going from 74.8 million to 49.5 million in August. Search clicks to map/navigation sites show an even steeper decline, down 41 percent to just 55.2 million in August.”

Does that mean that no one’s looking at maps any longer?

Of course not.

Where are those searches happening then? The article continues:

“As desktop-based searches with mapping intent and search clicks to map websites both show declines, it’s clear that search as a discovery process for navigation on desktops is eroding. This trend signals a significant shift in intent, as consumers who once relied on being at a computer to search for directions before going somewhere are now happy to rely on those handy little computers in their pockets.” [Emphasis mine]

Mapping, and map-based search, may be the killer app for mobile. And mobile is here. Now. Today. if your business relies on a physical location, you must appear in map search results. And that means your marketing must work in a mobile environment. Any questions?


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Tim Peter

By

October 14, 2011

Social, local, mobile links for the week ending October 14 (Small Business E-commerce Link Digest – October 14, 2011)

October 14, 2011 | By | No Comments

So, I’ve spent way too much time today playing with my new iPhone. Siri, its voice-activated personal assistant, is every bit as amazing as advertised. Of course, that means that I’ve still got a lot of work to do today. So, as I sometimes do, I’m skipping the setup and getting straight to the links. Enjoy:

Enjoy your weekend, Big Thinkers. Now I’m back to playing with my iPhone… I mean, to work!


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tim Peter

By

August 19, 2011

Social, Local and Mobile Links of Note (Small Business E-commerce Link Digest – August 19, 2011)

August 19, 2011 | By | No Comments

It’s been a busy week here at Thinks Central. We looked at the hidden connection between Elvis and social media, analyzed Google’s $12.5 billion bet on mobile and encouraged you to avoid snake oil salesmen while pursuing your social strategy. What’s the rest of the social, local, mobile web been up to? Let’s take a look:

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t point you to my friend Robert Cole‘s God-awful rebuttal to my “Elvis meets social” post. For the record, I am so sorry. But look at the bright side: You’ve got all weekend to blot that image from your mind. Or to “kit-roll” your friends with it.

Have a great weekend, Big Thinkers. See you back here next week. If we’re still on speaking terms after Robert’s page, that is. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tim Peter

By

July 29, 2011

SoLoMo is not a disease. But that doesn't mean we're not looking for a cure. (Small Business E-commerce Link Digest – July 29, 2011)

July 29, 2011 | By | No Comments

As I mentioned yesterday in my “1,000 Thank You’s” post, the SoLoMo web (that’s social, local, mobile web), matters. A lot. Consumers increasingly use the web in ways that are different from what we’ve gotten used to over the last 15 years. And these changes in consumer behavior require marketers and e-commerce folks to re-examine their activities. Every. Single. Day. Here are some good places to start looking:

Enjoy your weekend Big Thinkers. We’ll catch you back here next week.



Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tim Peter

By

March 8, 2011

Learning 21st Century Social, Local, Mobile and Video Marketing From a 19th Century Company

March 8, 2011 | By | No Comments

You all know Macy’s, right? Y’know, the folks behind the Thanksgiving Day parade and corporate mergers and “Miracle on 34th Street”? They’re a 150-year old retailer, as “bricks and mortar” as you can get.

But, for an old dog, they’ve got some new tricks. They’re starting to get in front of 21st-century customers with a local, mobile, social web presence, complete with video.

Here’s what I mean.

I was walking past the retailer’s flagship 34th Street store yesterday and saw this clever graphic on their window:

Macys QR code in star

Cute, right? A nice, clever way of embedding a mobile QR code into the company’s logo. But, without instructions for its use, will any of their customers know what it’s about? Smarty-pants that I am, I sent the following tweet:


Nice QR code usage @Macys. But do your customers know how it works? http://t.co/TlwA6jIless than a minute ago via Twitter for Android

A few minutes later, @Macys (the Macy’s Twitter account) responded with:


@tcpeter Thanks for the tweet! For a how-to video, check out this video: http://bit.ly/g3Pl48less than a minute ago via web

Note the embedded link in Macy’s tweet to a YouTube video displaying how the company’s “Backstage Pass” works. Another Twitter user also let me know that the company is heavily promoting these “Backstage Passes” in the free “AM New York” newspaper.

So, think about this for a second:

  • Macy’s—a 150-year-old retailer—uses QR codes in their store windows,a clear marriage of local and mobile marketing.
  • This “old dog” reinforces their message via print advertising in a free local daily.
  • This “dinosaur” monitors the social web on Twitter for use of their brand terms—and responds to their customers there.
  • This “traditional bricks-and-mortar” store shares videos on YouTube explaining both their value to consumers and how this new feature works.
  • And, as one last social play, they’re gaining interest among early adopters (i.e., me and @JonKagan) who, no doubt, will pass the word along to their friends and family. Just like I’m doing now.

Oh. Even better, each of these efforts directs consumers to Macy’s website.

While I think the company can do a better job on specific elements (for instance, an explanation of what a QR reader is in the video wouldn’t be such a bad thing and their calls-to-action are a bit weak), it’s still a great example of using social, mobile, local and video to create an engaging, integrated web presence to promote your web site.

For a company that got it’s start in the 19th century, that’s some awfully modern marketing. During the many decades they’ve been around, the corporation hasn’t always gotten it right. But is it possible this kind of thinking is why they’re still in business after 150 years? And, is it possible for you to do the same thing?



Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,