The Importance of Mobile Strategies for Small Businesses.
My last blog post focused on how and why small businesses should take advantage of social media. Keeping with that theme, today I’m going to be looking more into Distilled’s Bridget Randolf’s presentation on Mobile strategies for small businesses that she gave at Septembers Brighton SEO conference.
Now, we all know mobile is huge, in fact the global internet usage for mobile phones was 12 times the amount of data used for the whole of the internet in the year 2000. If that’s not juicy enough for you, it is thought that mobile internet will overtake fixed internet access in 2014!
Here are a few more interesting statistics for you which featured in Randolph’s presentation.
- 25% of UK consumers have made a purchase using their mobile device
- 69% of tablet owners make a purchase on their device every month
- 77% of smartphone users have researched a product or service on their phone, with about half then purchasing the item in-store
- and mobile accounts for 31% of site traffic on average in the UK
As you can see, having a mobile friendly website is definitely beneficial to a small business, with this in mind, it is something that all small businesses should invest in.
So whats the problem?
Only ⅗ small businesses have a website and of these only half have a website that is mobile friendly. There could be a number of reasons for this, but as Randolf identified the two main reasons are:
- They don’t see the value
- They do see the value but don’t know where to start.
It is easy to see the value as the statistics prove, so the latter is probably more likely.
Creating a mobile friendly website may be a bit daunting and there may be aspects of it that are not fully understood. The information provided in this post should hopefully help to clear things up.
Firstly, your online presence is a crucial factor in your business. It’s where a lot of customer interaction happens, most important of all being sales.The screenshot on the right is an example of a mobile ‘unfriendly site’ The web page doesn’t fit the resolution of the screen, meaning that if you want to read all the details you have to scroll around making it inconvenient. Along with this clickable links are all very small this makes it difficult to navigate around the site.
As you can see, its important to get it right!
There are three methods for creating a Mobile optimised site:
Responsive design – As the name suggests the layout of the page responds to the size of a screen.
Dynamic Serving – With this method you keep the same URL but serve different HTMLs
Separate Mobile subdomain- A completely separate domain eg. www.domain.com/m
Each of these methods should be considered and remember to keep your users needs in mind.
The Next Step – Optimising for Mobile SEO and Local Search
With the responsive design, as long as your website is optimised correctly and effectively, no additional optimisation needs to take place.
Local search is vital to those businesses that operate in specific areas and cities. It should be taken full advantage of. ‘One half of all local searches are performed on mobile devices’. On a mobiles SERP local listings are far more prominent.
You can see from the above snapshots taken from an android that the first non local listing is well below the fold.
How can I appear in local search listings?
There are a few contributing factors, I probably don’t have the space to delve into it here but an excellent article to read is Nick Rinylo’s blog post on ‘Local SEO – The Simple Guide to Success’
Nick addresses Technical and offsite SEO including, On page optimisation for location, local business listings on review sites including NAP citations (name,address,phone) and traditional link building techniques to local business websites. These types of links are of high value to Google due to their relevance.
Another Important factor is Google+ Local, previously I talked about the importance of having a Google + profile as it can contribute to rankings. Put simply Google+ local is a google+ page with the ability to manage business information that appears in local listings and for people/customers to give you reviews. It is great for potential customers to find you more easily as you have the capability to be pinned on google maps, you can see this in screen shots from the mobile above.
As I have highlighted before, social media allows for maximum exposure to a huge audience, helping your brand to be recognised.
Mobile phones are increasingly being used for social media interaction as it is so easily accessible via apps. Think about your morning ritual, what’s one of the first things you do? Check facebook on your mobile for notifications? So do millions of others. Over a third of Facebook’s 600 million user base access it using facebook mobile and a half of all twitter users do the same.
Getting it right..
Although it might be tempting to broadcast all about your business and the offers or sales you have on, this isn’t the most effective approach. Conversation is the key when it comes to Twitter. Joining in on discussions, talking to customers and directly replying to them is the main thing you want to focus on doing. Don’t feel the need to be formal at all times, Randolf gives a good example of The Dolphin Pub. This small business regularly post funny and engaging content.
If you are unsure of what to say then you can always plan out your content before you post it.
Important – Make sure the content you share is mobile friendly!
One other strategy that is worth mentioning that Bridget Randolf addressed is Exclusive mobile content. This approach proactively reaches out to customers instead of waiting for them to come to you. The strategy includes rewards or exclusive offers. An example of this is 02 priority moments, where phone giant 02 rewards its customers with priority tickets, discounts and special offers. All the customer has to do is download the app and it will give them a selection of the days best offers.
If you don’t want an app you can always advertise these offers via facebook. Randolf has a brilliant idea of giving customers incentives to check into a local business to receive discounts or special offers.
There are a whole load of exclusivities you can offer your customers to entice them. Go ahead and get creative!