Why Your Local Business Must Go Mobile
A good marketer knows that to get found by your customers, you need to determine who they are, and get in front of them. Part of this common sense that tends to be overlooked by business owners who are set in their ways is the notion that you must go where your customers are. You are not better than your customers at knowing what your customers want. When coming up with a marketing strategy, I like to keep an open mind and think like a consumer.
It’s not news anymore. Our society is increasingly mobile. Consider these 3 points that may begin to convince you that you need to get on the mobile “bandwagon” in 2013:
Let the Data Convince You
- Mobile Device Usage: We use our mobile devices for a ridiculous amount of time during the day, every day. In addition to the smartphone revolution, companies like Apple have made a name for themselves creating new devices you never thought you needed. Tablet use alone has increased from under 10% to over 23% in 2012 alone, and is only expected to continue growing.
- Local Search Volume: According to an October, 2012 report by Chikita, 24% of Google searches have a local intent. This means that a quarter of all Google searches include a geographic location in the keyword. Google has made a lot of efforts in the last couple of years to put emphasis on local search by re-rigging Google Places into Goolge Plus Local. In some niches, local search volume is significantly higher, particularly restaurants.
- Mobile Local Search Volume: The granddaddy of the above points, and likely the most convincing, is the fact that Google themselves claimed late last year that 50% of all mobile search traffic has a local intent. This means half of anyone searching from a mobile device includes a geographic term. This number is even staggeringly higher for some niches like pizza.
If you’re thinking like a consumer, you wouldn’t find it hard to believe that in today’s society, someone googling ‘pizza’, or ‘tow trucks’ from their mobile devices are looking for a local business, now would it? And if your market is to get locals knocking at your door, you need to consider how they are looking for your service.
Even if your site happens to show up in the search engine results for your keywords on a mobile device, if when clicking on the result, they find a site that’s hard to use, that needy, or hungry, or otherwise impatient consumer is going to click back to the results and find the easiest site to use. Do yourself a favor and check out what your site looks like on a mobile device, and look at it from a very impatient consumer’s perspective. I use a free program called Mobilizer to render what sites look like on some popular smartphones.
Make it Effective
To get the most out of your mobile site, make sure it’s as effective and efficient as possible, and gives your customers what they’re looking for instantly.
Don’t give a potential customer an excuse to ‘back out’ of your site!
Here are 3 elements I recommend to have an effective mobile site:
- Simple & Easy: The customer should see your logo or business name clearly, and should not have to zoom in or scroll left to right to find everything on your site. Keep content to the important stuff. They can go to your classic site for all your fancy content. Nobody is going to read your 1,000 word article on why your locksmith should be bonded and insured when reading from their Blackberry and in an emergency situation.
- Tap to Call: Your phone number should be integrated right into a tap to call button at the top of every page of your site. Chances are, once they get to your site, within 2 seconds, they will tap to call, rather than read up on you. Give them what they want!
- Tap for Directions: Some of your customers already plan an engagement with you, but might have forgotten where you are, and simply need quick directions. Make sure you give them that simplicity and leave them no excuse to change their mind about which business they’re going to visit.
Mobile Site vs. App?
Keeping with the ‘think like your customer’ mindset, when was the last time you downloaded an app from a local business? If you’re not even mobile at all, you don’t start with an app. Additionally, not all businesses need an app, but all businesses need a mobile site. Even if you plan to have an app in the future, you need a mobile site, so your site appears useful to those who haven’t yet downloaded your app. I’m personally partial to mobile sites, but I do know in some circumstances, an app can really be a viable and profitable venture for certain local businesses, and I’d be happy to get you set up with either or both, but for the vast majority of local businesses,
I recommend a mobile site.If you are a very successful pizza chain who wants to offer a way for your customer to order right from their phone, and you can conceive your customers downloading an app, go for it. If you’re a large church who wants to give your members a way to donate, or download sermons from their phone, certainly an app makes sense. Call me if you would like to have some help deciding.
3 Examples of Mobile Local Search
I’m going to keep you thinking like a consumer and give you some hypothetical situations that will demonstrate the importance of going mobile. I encourage you to apply the same logic to your business.
1. Sally needs a tow truck.
Sally is in an unfamiliar city on her way home for the holidays and breaks down near Barstow. She knows nobody for hundreds of miles. She immediately uses her smartphone to search for ‘towing barstow’. She taps the top result, and the site is hard to see. Without even trying to zoom in, Sally hits ‘back’ and clicks on the 2nd result, Jim’s Towing. Right at the top, she sees a clear ‘tap to call’ button. Jim’s Towing gets Sally’s business.
2. Andy and Sabrina want sushi.
Andy and Sabrina are in Denver for the day and spontaneously decide they want sushi for lunch. Andy searches ‘sushi denver’ and sees maps results for several around them. The first site he goes to is impossible to see, because it was made in flash. So Andy backs out and goes to another. Wow, this one has a nice mobile site! They browse the menu, decide what they want, and tap for directions. Another missed opportunity by a non-mobile local business.
3. Joe needs an attorney.
Joe finds himself in a pickle. His wife took the kids and left. Meanwhile, he’s locked out of the house and doesn’t know what step to take next. He has his mobile device and searches for a local divorce attorney. The first one he finds that is readable from his iPhone he calls in desperation. Joe’s need has been met in a desperate situation where he doesn’t have the patience for a non-mobile site.
I hope these situations give you a bit of insight as to how this growing bracket of search is changing the way people are connected with local businesses. If you are ready to go mobile, and don’t know where to start, feel free to call me.