Today consumers use smartphones and tablets to interact with businesses 24/7. Roughly 20% of total searches come from mobile devices. Even more interesting, the volume of local searches conducted via the mobile web is growing at a much faster clip than desktop. In 2012, one-third of all local searches in the US came through a mobile device, and this number will grow to 50% by 2015.
As a small business owner, the question you should ask yourself is no longer “Why should I invest in mobile?” but “How should I invest in mobile?” Having a mobile strategy is key to make your site visible. This article gives you five actionable ideas to boost your mobile strategy.
Your current domain most likely has a history with the search engines and a number of in-bound links pointing to it, all of which is helping your SEO. So rather than buying a .mobi address or creating a set of alternative pages for mobile users, your mobile strategy should build on the positive assets that your current site has, especially if the mobile site is going to have the same content. Always remember that maintaining two sites with the same information divides the SEO power in half so a good mobile strategy will avoid this scenario.
An approach that we take at ThriveHive when building our customers’ sites is using WordPress to create responsive websites that will deliver the same experience independently of the device used to reach the website. A responsive website does not modify the content or the URLs that the user sees, it only modifies the style so the information is adjusted to fit perfectly in the device that the customer is using to access the information. Note that this is Google’s preferred method to build mobile sites.
If your site is based in WordPress but is not responsive yet, an easy solution is to install a responsive plugin that will adapt the content of your site to the device is being displayed in. Two good options are WordPress Mobile Pack and WordPress MobilePress.
Web browsers in mobile devices are not yet sophisticated enough for complex websites. In terms of SEO, rather than having super fancy websites, you should focus on having a simple design that gets users the information they need. Stay away from incorporating flash into your website. Although flash is visually pleasing, there’s no flash support for any iDevices- that’s a 15+ million audience that you’re alienating.
Simple also means unique information. Again, I strongly discourage you from using two separate versions of your site (web and mobile). Having two versions (and two URLs for each page) means duplicating sitemaps and web directories to keep up with SEO best practices. By using responsive websites you can avoid all that hassle.
Remember that many mobile searches are done by people looking for local information such as directions, nearby stores, local services or the like. In 2012, 95% of smartphones users searched for local information and 61% called a business within the initial 24 hours after their search.
So by providing search robots with your exact location, you can help drive local customers towards your business. A very easy and free way to signal your location is through Google Plus and Google Plus Local. Check our previous post on do’s and don’ts to promote your business through Google Plus and Yelp.
If you are not doing so already, a good mobile strategy involves taking advantage of the new Google AdWords Enhanced Campaigns and Facebook Mobile Ads to promote your business.
Google allows you to reach customers with the most relevant and effective message tailored to what they’re looking for, where they are, when they’re searching, and what device they’re using. For example, a mobile-optimized text ads and extensions will be given preference on mobile devices over desktops. Another interesting feature for the multi-device world is the ability to manage your bids across devices, location, and time. For example, you can bid higher for users on mobile or users within a ½ mile from your store.
By now you have probably noticed that Facebook is increasingly placing ads in user feeds. About one in every 20 stories in a user’s feed is a sponsored ad. These ads are be very targeted to specific characteristics of your audience, and since more users access Facebook from mobile devices than from desktops, having mobile-only ads in Facebook is a good way to ensure that your business gets found. You can learn all about creating Facebook ads in our guide How To Get Started With Facebook Ads.
Your mobile strategy should not neglect your overall marketing strategy. When you design traditional marketing campaigns, whether a newspaper ad or a postcard mailing, think about including easy mobile call to actions like QR codes.
QR codes, are 2D images that you can place in any physical ad. When scanned with a smartphone, they redirect customers to your website (or ideally to a data capture form within your website) without the need of manually entering a URL. An additional advantage is that the resultant URL typically includes tracking features that can be analyzed with the help of a marketing tool like ThriveHive.
There you have it, 5 ideas that will help you define your mobile strategy! Did I miss anything that you have questions about? Post a comment below and I’ll answer your question.
Images credit: Antonie Lefeuvre