Taking Advantage Of iPhone Geo-Marketing
The iPhone is a remarkable device for both user and for businesses looking to take advantage of its location based capabilities.
With the worldwide release of Apple’s iPhone 3G this device has become the most sought after smart cell phone ever. Apple has always known that Personal Digital Assistants or PDA would be a power and convenient tool for both business and personal use. Back in 1993 Apple marketed the Newton but it was not the runaway product hit Apple had hoped it would be. But it looks like Apple’s time has finally come with the iPhone.
Apart from the iPhone’s ease of use and integration of being a PDA, iPod and cell phone all rolled into one, it has some very interesting features that could change the face of local advertising. The iPhone has built into it two types of location tracking. One using cell tower triangulation and the other being GPS or Global Positioning System. And while neither of these technologies are new and have even been built into many other cell phones and smart phones there is one other ingredient that has been missing. Mapping!
The mapping feature used in the iPhone uses GPS or triangulation using cellular towers to plot your location on Google maps. These mobile maps can be used for directions of course but the really intriguing part is it ability to be used for location based advertising. For instance a person could search for hardware stores closest to them or more interestingly your location could trigger an advertisement from a local business. For example a 2 for 1 deal for glasses at the optician.
So how can a business take advantage of this. Well first of all it has not happened yet. Location-aware advertisements are in in the early stages of being developed but there is a feature that you can leverage today. This is simply the Google local search capability.
If you have ever done a search on Google for a local business you may have noticed that at the top of the results page a small map containing little alphabetized balloons and to the left a list of links to businesses located on that map. This is the Google local search feature and every business should be taking advantage of this.
By visiting Google’s local business centre (www.google.com/local/add/) you are able to add your business location to Google maps. All you will need for this is a Google account, and if you use Gmail you already have one, if not signing-up is easy. Once you have signed-up you just need to fill-in your business address and information including a local phone number. Next you will need to activate your listing. This can be done in one of three ways. You can verify your listing by either phone or SMS (the two quickest) or by mail. After you have been verified your listing should appear in the next few weeks.
But this does not necessarily mean that your business will be in the top results for local listings. You will still need to optimize your website properly for better rankings, but is a first step to marketing your business locally to both home, but especially, mobile users.
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