Think about how much the Internet has changed the way we communicate and collaborate, shop and socialize, the business models it has disrupted as well as the new ones it has created. And now we’re seeing the next evolution of the web in the palm of our hands, on our mobile phones.
Over the past 6 months, I’ve become an evangelist for mobile. I’ve seen how much I’m increasingly using my phone and I’m sure you have too – and so have your potential customers.
Did you know that:
- Half of U.S. adults own a smart phone, which is a 10-point increase in just one year.
- This year, the U.S. will pass 200 million mobile Internet users, nearly tripling the number from 2010.
- 55% of cell phone owners go online often using their phones.
- 17% of cell phone owners do most of their online browsing on their phone, rather than a computer or other device.
- 70% of mobile searches lead to action on websites within 1 hour.
I especially love that last number, because it represents an incredible opportunity for marketers and business owners to capture conversions right then and there, as potential customers are searching on their phones for your brand or product.
To help you, I’m going to share with you five tips you can use now in your business to take advantage of this age of mobile that we are in.
#1: Understand Your Users
As with any marketing campaign, you first need to understand who your target audience is and, in this case, how they are using mobile.
Review your website analytics to see how many people are currently accessing your site from mobile devices. Even if it’s not very many right now, expect that number to go up dramatically in the next year. In just the past year, one of my client’s saw website traffic from mobile double from 16% to 32%.
After reviewing your analytics, think about who your customer segments are – their demographics, buying habits, and psychographics. Would they be searching for your particular company or product, or would it be a more general inquiry or true local search?
Then survey or talk to some of your customers. Find out how they are using or would use your site on their phones. What kind of information would they be looking for and at what stage in the buying process?
#2: Design for All Devices
Once you’ve identified your customers and what they would want to do on your site, then see how well your current site enables them to accomplish their goals.
Ideally, your website should work equally well no matter what the device – whether someone is viewing it on a desktop, laptop, iPad, Kindle, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, or any other device that comes along. 40% of users have turned to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience.
On your site, you can use what is known as responsive design – this means that no matter the size of the device, the website will respond with an appropriate layout, text size, and size of images. The content is the same on all devices; it’s just arranged differently.
If you need to have very different content on mobile versus desktops/laptops (based on what you sell and who your target audience is), then you’ll want to consider creating a separate site just for mobile.
Even if you’re not quite convinced that your customers are searching for your site on their phones, consider the emails you are sending to them as well as your Twitter and Facebook posts. Do they contain links to pages on your site? If so, what kind of experience are people having when they get to your site? Over 40% of emails are opened on a mobile device and Americans now spend more time on Facebook’s mobile site and apps than on the Facebook.com website.
#3: Claim Your Local Listings
If you have any type of local business – a store, an office where you meet clients, any physical location – you need to make sure that you claim your local business listings with Google Places, Bing, CitySearch, Yelp, FourSquare, and other sites related to your market.
Once you claim your listing, complete the profile information and ask your customers to submit reviews on Google, CitySearch, and Yelp. The reason is that if someone searches for your type of business, the ones that have local profiles will show up in a map and will be listed first, right under the ads, with buttons the user can click on to call you, get directions, or visit your website. Think about – you will be on Page 1 of the search results without having to buy an ad.
Notice that these listings show the number of reviews for each business as well as prominent buttons to call, get directions, and visit the website.
#4: Target Your Ads and Landing Pages
After you have optimized your site for all devices and claimed your local listings, strongly consider spending part of your budget on mobile advertising. A third of all paid search clicks will be on mobile by the end of this year.
Currently, the ad rates are lower, in fact as much as 50% cheaper, on smart phones than on desktops, yet the clickthrough rate is nearly double on smart phones.
Be sure to target your ads – you can do so based on geo-location as well as intent. You can also use offers as part of Google AdWords – they are an excellent way to increase conversions and foot traffic.
Also remember that your landing pages need to be optimized for mobile: large buttons for click to call; if you have a form, make it very short and easy to fill out on a phone.
#5: Create Mobile Content
Finally, create your own mobile content. Use apps like Twitter’s Vine, Videolicious, and Magisto to create videos you can share either with individuals or with your entire social network.
These tools are great for creating quick, engaging, and fun content. You can create product demos, behind the scenes shots, sneak peeks, and intros to new prospects and clients.
Remember to be yourself. People will want to follow you and see what you’re doing because it’s interesting and real, not sales-y. Once they get to know you virtually – your interests, your humor, your quirks – then they’ll be more likely to want to do business with you.
I love to cook, so here’s a Vine video I made. I also shoot Vine videos when I’m at conferences and events, but I wanted to show a more personal side with this video.
Example Vine Video
Right now, there is a tremendous opportunity for you to stand out from your competitors and to capture the mobile advantage, using the tips I just outlined.
Remember in the late 1990’s when businesses started to realize that they needed a website – that consumers were increasingly expecting them to have an online presence? We are now at that stage with mobile. However, this time around, consumers are not going to be quite as patient. They expect the companies they do business with to have a mobile-friendly website, to not make them click and wait and squint and peck to find what they are looking for when they visit your site.
I’m going to leave you with this call to action: browse to your website on your mobile phone and see how it looks and how well it works. Then, make it a top priority to develop a mobile strategy now that fits your users’ needs and your business goals.
About The Author
Carol Morgan Cox teaches in the Internet Marketing Bachelor’s degree program at Full Sail University, where she is the Course Director for Internet Business Models and Fundamentals of Digital Entrepreneurship. Carol also owns InterMedia Solutions, an Internet marketing and technology company whose clients have included Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and start-ups, community organizations, and political candidates.
You can follow her on Twitter @CarolMorganCox.