History can often help us when trying to forecast the future.  At the height of one of the deepest world recessions one of the biggest gold rushes in history began.  Back in July 1897 the siren call of Klondike Gold heralded a stampede of hopeful fortune seekers from all walks of life.  These people were quick to trade their respectable careers in exchange for the possibility of striking it rich.  The actual gold discovery took place in Alaska’s Yukon Valley almost a year before the gold rush began, but it took 11 months for the news to spread and for the masses to start arriving. 

The real fortunes were made by those clever people who got in early and also by those people who sold the necessary goods and services to the prospectors. 

To the discerning eye, it is easy to see that history is about to repeat itself.  Recently respected American broadcaster CNN published an article entitled “The Top 10 Tech Trends of 2009”.  This article pointed out that the so called smart phones are actually more like mobile computers than mobile phones.  Because the smart phone is so clever (smart!) it is being used less and less as a phone and more and more to do everything else. 

To those of you who are already using one of these remarkable new smart phone devices, you will already know the power available to you.  For those amongst us who have yet to experience this technological consumer marvel it would be quite literally impossible for us to over exaggerate the degree to which this development will change our lives.  The last time we witnessed something which was to have such an effect on our daily lives was when something called “the internet” was introduced! 

In many ways what is happening now is even bigger than the introduction of the internet itself – why? – because this time around the instrument of change is already something that is in everyones pocket or purse.  What you are most people still call their mobile phone has now developed into the “Swiss army knife” of the early 21st Century.  Because almost everyone now has a mobile phone the change over to the new technology is literally just one mobile phone contract cycle away from the mass market. 

Because of the accessibility the technology now being introduced via mobile phones will reach critical mass so quickly that it will dwarf all previous degrees of social change caused by historical gold rushes.  In a very short time it will alter forever how people interact with each other and the process by which consumers choose and purchase all of their goods and services. 

What does this mean to you as a business owner?

If your business sells anything, be it products or services, to a local market then this is your GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY to gain an advantage over your competitors.  Because this evolutionary technical revolution is happening now and is largely unnoticed by most local businesses, you should seize this opportunity now. 

If you have traditionally relied on Yellow Pages advertising as the main communication to your customers and prospects, now is the time for you to join the revolution!  If you act quickly enough you will have time to:

  • get your business listed in all the relevant online directories
  • claim and verify your listings
  • get your customer reviews in order
  • secure your positioning on Google Maps

If you do not act now you are likely to miss out as undoubtedly there will be “claim jumpers” once people begin to recognise the opportunity on offer. 

Here is an example

We were speaking recently to one of our colleagues in the USA who told us a story of how his son needed to find an orthodontist.  Without any prompting or direction the son took out his new Smartphone and pulled up Google Maps and keyed in the term “orthodontist”.  NB: this chap did not for one second consider logging onto the internet to use a search engine nor indeed even turning on his computer – no, he went straight to Google Maps and keyed in the relevant search term. 

Within a few seconds he had a full list of local orthodontists, all located within a few miles of where he was at the time, because his Smartphone knew exactly where he was when he keyed in the search!  The search results also had links to customer reviews where they were available and the Smartphone even offered links to driving directions for each of the results displayed.  In summary, the Smartphone provided all of the functionality that, traditionally, one might expect to see on a business website. 

Google Maps accessed via Smartphones is the new Yellow Pages!  Any business owner who presently spends heavily on Yellow Pages advertising must now ensure that their business is featured on Google Maps – this is your golden opportunity. 

The Android 2.0 operating system officially began the real Smartphone revolution.  All the major mobile phone networks, T-Mobile, Vodaphone, O2 and even Google will be releasing their own Smartphone version using the Android operating system this year.  Whilst the iPhone will always be a respected player in the upmarket mobile phone arena their Smartphone monopoly has ended. 

It is still a surprise to us that by and large the benefits of having your business registered with Google Maps has remained a mysterious secret to most local business owners.  The imminent explosion of new Smartphones, coming onto the market in the near future, will create a huge rush by businesses to get listed on Google Maps.  This is going to be the beginning of a new Gold Rush!  The quiet time, before the masses arrive, will be ending shortly.  Our recommendation to you, if you are a local business (a gold miner!) is to stake your claim before your competition leaves you behind.  Use a professional SEO firm like wsiims to help you to stake your claim and sell you the tools to start mining. 

If you would like more information about Google Maps or any other aspect of Search Engine Optimisation, please call us on 01293 822755.

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