Less than 5 percent of local businesses have a website optimized for mobile devices. In some cases, a company’s site isn’t even “findable” through searches on mobile devices. Worse, consumers, when they do find the local business’s website, can often only see a desktop-specific version, which, on a small mobile screen, is like trying to assess a piece of merchandise one square inch at a time.
The cost of this poor consumer experience can be significant. According to a recent survey by Google, 61 percent of people searching on a mobile device say they’ll “move on” if the site is not optimized for mobile.
So, what should an SMB do to fully leverage mobile search trends? Here are a few tips:
In search campaigns, don’t forget to check the “mobile distribution” box. Most search engine advertising platforms, including Google Adwords, allow advertisers to opt in to have their advertisements show up in mobile searches. Make sure to select this option. (It goes without saying that if you aren’t advertising on search engines, now may be the time to start.) Of course, if you are running your own campaigns it’s important that you carefully monitor and optimize performance to make sure you are spending your advertising dollars effectively.
Ensure your business information is up to date — everywbere consumers are searching. This means apps, too. Consumers aren’t just using popular search engines like Google and Bing to search for businesses on mobile devices. “In-app” searches on the apps of popular mobile Internet brands like Yelp and Citysearch are important channels through which consumers look for local businesses. Thus, it’s more critical than ever to make sure your company information is accurate and consistent across directories. (Companies such as Yext, UBL and others can help you update across all such sites, directories and apps from one spot.)
Get your website optimized for mobile, now. And make sure it renders properly on mobile devices. When you consider the smaller screen sizes of most mobile devices, it’s important to have a mobile-optimized website. If not, visitors viewing your site from a mobile device are likely to have a poor, and perhaps confusing, experience.
Get to the point. Mobile searchers aren’t visiting your site to read about the long and storied history of your business, rich as it may be. They want to know whether or not you can help them with their needs and how to contact you. Make sure that the mobile version of your website features this contact information prominently and doesn’t have a lot of unnecessary text.
Given the complexities, mobile marketing can seem a little intimidating for a local business owner. The good news for SMBs is that there are companies out there to partner with them to create an effective online presence on mobile devices. Regardless of the approach an SMB owner takes, making marketing mobile is an increasingly important consideration.
Louis Gagnon is Yodle’s chief product and marketing officer. Yodle partners with more than 30,000 small businesses to market their products and services online, connecting them to consumers simply and cost-effectively. You can find more information about the company at www.yodle.com.