Again, I apologize for being late. I spent too much time chatting with Jeeves between the break, but I think it was worth it. So I'll just jump in.
Justin (WMW mod) is on the podium. 60% SEMs conduct 75% of their business from customers within a 50-mile radius. 22 Million small and medium sized businesses. SEMs spend $22 billion on local ads annually. 46% of their ad budgets on Yellow Pages. Only 3% are utilizing paid search. The SEM challenge: SEMs have less then $6k per year to spend on marketing. Controlling margins and dealing with SMEs is difficult. Requiring product simplification, scale, automation, customer support structures. Its important to remove the complexity of paid search (small biz do not have time). For SEs establish a local sales channels and embrace agencies. "Feet on the Street" sale force (google and bell south // dex media and SEM global). Aggregators will simplify pricing and complexities and consolidate set-up, billing, and reporting. Now there is agency support like Google AdWords Pro, APIs and so on. Local marketing mix; enhanced profiling offerings, internet yellow pages, local ppc (geo), data source cleansing, pay per call, local web page dev, user review and rating strategy, local authority identification. There is room in the local marketplace. For some reason, vertical search is HOT. Segmentation is about specialization (rich and specified meta content, vertical depth vs. horizontal range), SEs inability to rich experience across verticals (understanding a vertical / geo vertical better, understanding the indent of the user and the user needs better than an SE can).
Patricia Hursh from SmartSearch Marketing was up next. She shared a client case study from a ISP company. Client is a national ISP and the goal is to reach a prospect in a regional service area (they service 40 cities only). So if you go to the client's web site, they ask you to type in a zip code or phone number, so local targeting is important. They run (1) national campaign (2) national campaign with local terms and (3) geo targeted campaign. (1) Target = US, Keywords - broadband cable, broadband provider, etc. Ad is very national targeted. (2) National but with local keywords, US target, Keywords = STATE keyword and Ad = STATE ad content. (3) Local (geo targeting), so you specify the locations in Google, Keywords = same as 1 and ads same as 1. So the results: National spend is lower on purpose, clicks 13,500 /month, lowest conversion rate. The National campaign with local words had the most expensive CPC, but a higher conversion rate (more then double) but the cost per order is higher then 1. The Geotargeting is the best method, the CPC is lower then national, lowest cost per order and highest conversion rate. Conclusion, they were able to reach more targeted people with the geo targeting then the national campaign. She ads that geo targeting is 80 - 85% accurate, I am glad she added that. So why do national advertising if geo worked best? (1) The client loves the branding of the national ads. (2) You will miss some prospects with an IP targeted campaign (the 15 - 10 %, or they are in NYC searching on local barber shops where they live in la jolla, ca.) She then shifted over to Overture, she said they are two really different products. Overture does not use IP targeting to serve ads, they rely on the words you use in the query. Overture Local Match is great for companies without a Web site. Works well for businesses wanting to drive calls or foot-traffic into a store. Currently targeting is based on a specific distance from a physical business address. Works well with Yahoo! registered members and Yahoo! local (where searcher has specified their location). Which is best for you? if you don't have a site, you must use Overture. If you do not have a local address you must use Google. To reach an entire state you must you Google. Target a city or DMA, Google is preferred. Encourage calls or store traffic, Overture is preferred. Appear as a regional/national company, Google is preferred.
Last up was Stacy Williams from Prominent Placement. She is focusing her presentation around news and announcements. Some stats included projected at 10.8 billion dollars worldwide by 2009 and half of that is in the US. Local commercial searches represented 25% of all searches. Estimated paid search advertisers globally: 200,000-250,000. Estimated SMEs globally: 25 - 30 million. She put up a chart by Bruce Clay, the Search Engine Relationship Chart for LOCAL. She then moves into Amazon's A9, storefront "block views". She showed an example of a local cafe picture in A9 in Atlanta, the page also has multiple pictures, reviews, business next to that business, related business and upload your own pictures. She then showed the "click to call" and her phone rang, she picked it up and the voice said please hold while we connect you and then a few seconds later someone picked up and its free for the local store! SMS Search was the next topic up, send data to your phone from your PC. Yahoo local "Send to Phone" link on all of Yahoo!'s pages, she didn't like the text message that came in. You have to plan ahead to use Yahoo!'s. Google launched SMS search, pure from your phone SMS search, before Yahoo!. GPS-enabled phones will rock. Pay Per Call, 98% of all US businesses dont buy PPC yet - but they all have phones. Some marketers are willing to pay up to 15x more then PPC for a phone call. Allows companies reps to have a human touch. Easy to understand, compared to PPC. AOL announcement late Jan 05 to launch something like this. FindWhat was the first to announce this. Ingenio is a major provider of this with AOL. FindWhat or CitySearch are the only ones that have something you can use right now. Mapping sites, what do mapping sites have to do with search? entry point into local listing, most carry PPC ads, search engines are integrating them into SERPs. Mapping sites usage is up. Google maps is launched mid-Feb and Yahoo! has been around for a long time now. Social networks like linkedin, orkut, etc. now there are yellow page social networks, like insider pages (yellow pages written by friends), right now there is not much data there. Resources are kelseygroup.com and localsearchguide.org. Truelocal, localdirect.com, payperclickanalyst.com, forums SEW and WMW have forums.