How Local Businesses Can Benefit From Mobile
There is no doubt that your customers are active on mobile devices. People communicate, search for information, purchase goods, and book appointments all via mobile. It's the new status quo of technology and a central part of our daily lives. Think about it — how often do you see the people around you staring at their smartphones? (The answer: A lot!) What's more, the mobile consumer has an entirely new set of expectations when it comes to their user experience. You really only have about three seconds for your business website to load before the person searching will move on and perhaps never return. They want their experience to be fast and perfect. Part of the mobile consumer's new set of expectations is a desire to be shown what is local to them. Mobile consumers commonly look for the restaurants, salons, and stores nearby. In fact, according to Google, searches for "Near Me" have increased by 146 percent y/y. So what does this mean for your business? It means that both having a mobile strategy and leveraging local search are essential to the long-term health and success of your business. Here are a few ways you can make mobile start working hard for your business.
People Rely Heavily on Local Search
Simply put, mobile searches are a driving factor in boosting sales for local businesses - a full 78 percent of local searches convert to sales. It may seem like stating the obvious, but to be found by mobile consumers, you need to rank well with Google search. One of the first steps to ranking well with Google is to understand their quality requirements; then make sure your website and apps reflect those standards. Besides ace-ing Google's rating system, you should also consider customer behavior when it comes to mobile devices. Customers who are searching for your store on mobile devices are usually "out and about" — and (probably) near your business' actual location. Knowing this, ask yourself, "What kinds of searches are they most likely to perform?" (Here are some answers!)
- Directions. People want to know how to get to your store. Make sure your mobile site includes a link to a map.
- Phone Numbers. Make it easy for them to call you directly from your mobile site by adding a "Call" button.
- Store Hours. People want to know when they can visit your store. Be sure your business hours are posted clearly on your website.
- Price Comparisons. People tend to use their mobile devices in-store and two-thirds use them to compare prices before ever making a purchase. Make sure pricing information for the products and services you offer are easy to find.
A Mobile-Friendly Website is a Must
If you missed the memo, as of 2015, Google takes a site's mobile-friendliness quite heavily into consideration when building search rankings. There's one reason for that: mobile really is just that important. Google puts the emphasis on mobile because that's where consumers are spending a good amount of their time today. Local businesses need to step up and deliver a positive mobile marketing experience to consumers. Whether your customers are in their cars, on a commute, walking down the street, or in another busy and distraction-prone scenario, you want to be able to provide them with the information they're seeking, quickly and easily. Mobile consumers simply don't have the same time and patience they might have on desktop. The stakes are high. Your website has to load quickly and absolutely must be mobile-friendly:
- Shorten your copy. Long paragraphs result in endless scrolling on mobile devices. Condense your text to include only the essential information that mobile consumers want and need when they visit your site.
- Less high-def is more. High definition photos look great on a desktop, but they take forever to load on a smartphone. Mobile-friendly, fast-loading photos are the way to go.
- Use space wisely. Use the accordion menu to economize space on your landing page. It's intuitive and gives you more space to design a more inviting landing page.
- Quick and easy purchases. To avoid mobile cart abandonment, shorten the purchase forms, enable auto-fill for things like name, address and card number, and be sure to let people register for an account after they've already made their purchase.
Mobile Targeting Works
Customers appreciate seeing offers and coupons that are relevant to them, especially when they're out and about and potentially near your store. The mobile browsing experience gives businesses a wider range of customer behaviors to tap into than desktop, including location patterns. For example, geo-fencing is a strategy that draws a virtual boundary around your store (or location of your choosing) and delivers messages to consumers on their mobile devices when they step inside that area. It's a marketing strategy that has proven to be a highly effective in driving sales. Imagine a mobile consumer browsing on their phone, just before lunch time, within 3 blocks of your restaurant. Geo-fencing allows you to deliver a coupon for 30 percent off the lunch menu. That kind of incentive could drastically increase the chance of this person deciding to go ahead and book a table for lunch. Since mobile users are likely to search for your business to find out address information, phone numbers, and other essential details about your business, it's important to make sure your business has an accurate listing. Mobile searches are bringing in business like never before; not staying on top of your listing information could be the deciding factor that earns or loses a potential customer. Don't take that risk.
Hopefully, you see how a mobile strategy and local search marketing are now table stakes for local businesses. Whether you decide to take it all on yourself or with the help of a marketing partner — like YP Marketing Solutions — the time to get started is now. Mobile consumers are searching for products and services like yours, so make sure it's easy for them to find you. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock (standard license)