As mobile device usage continues to soar (including smart phones, tablets and mini-tablets), business owners should plan to tap this trend in 2013. According to a “Mobile Path to Purchase” study conducted by Nielsen, one of the top uses of mobile devices by consumers is finding and calling local businesses, and accessing map and driving directions.
In short, mobile devices have become the “go-to” tools for millions of individuals to find, contact and visit local businesses.
Depending on the product or service category and device used, as many as 73 percent of mobile users report looking for a business phone number and subsequently calling the business. In addition, up to 84 percent of mobile searchers report looking up a business location and accessing driving directions (again, depending on the category).
Those are huge numbers driving leads and sales for local businesses. And the implications are clear: You need to be visible in mobile search, and your ads or listings should always include a phone number and directions. Here are five mobile marketing tips and trends for small business, looking ahead to 2013:
1. You Must Provide Information with Local Relevance
The key to success in mobile for 2013 will be to provide information with local relevance along with local offers. “If an ad or listing doesn’t have local relevance at the time of action, the consumer will move on to the next business, so including local phone numbers rather than toll-free numbers is helpful,” says Bill Dinan, president of Telemetrics, a firm that provides call tracking services.
In the Nielsen survey, mobile users cited local relevance and local offers and promotions as the top reasons for engaging with mobile advertising.
2. Pay Attention to Timing
Consumers use their mobile devices differently depending on the specific product or service they are looking for. In general, when someone searches for business information on a mobile device their so-called “purchase intent” is strong. But the exact timing depends on what they’re looking for.
For example, about 87 percent of people searching for a restaurant on a mobile device plan to go there the same day – often within the hour. In the travel category, however, most mobile searches are research based and don’t always result in immediate buying decisions. In the autos category, searches are a mixture of quick purchases and research type activity. About 49 percent of searchers intend to make a purchase the same day.
Overall, about 85 percent of mobile restaurant searchers, 51 percent of mobile auto searchers and 46 percent of mobile travel searchers ultimately make a purchase. The study focused on restaurants, autos and travel because they rank as three of the top categories projected to show major mobile growth over the next three to five years. But results are similar in other categories as well.
3. Tablet Trends are Changing the Mobile Mix
Growing popularity of tablet type devices such as the iPad (and their new mini tablet siblings) is altering the mix of how consumers use mobile, and how you should approach mobile marketing in 2013: Here are some key tablet trends:
- Across all vertical categories, tablet owners mostly use their device at home (72 percent) while smart phone users mostly use their device on the go (68 percent)
- Among smart phone users, local directory apps are most popular for restaurant and automotive users, while brand websites are most popular for travel users. For tablet users, however, branded websites are the most popular among all categories.
4. Making Your Website Mobile-Friendly is More Important than Ever
Consumers shun using browser search on mobile devices, preferring to go directly sites or apps. This means that having visibility for your business specifically geared to mobile is extremely important. To help consumers find you in mobile, make sure your website is mobile compatible or consider creating a dedicated mobile site.
Also, get listed in mobile directories and Google Places, and include mobile advertising in your marketing mix. xAd (www.xAd.com) is among the largest mobile-local ad networks in the U.S. and one of the few that offers the ability to target ads by both location and search context.
5. Tailor Local Offers and Deals for Mobile Users
Keep in mind that mobile users greatly favor ads and listings that include specially-tailored offers and deals. Many local businesses are achieving success with limited time ads and offers targeting people in the area via their mobile devices. For best results, also include a strong call to action and stress local exclusivity.
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About the Author: Daniel Kehrer, Founder and Chief Content Officer of BizBest Media, is a senior-level leader in digital media, content development and online marketing with special expertise in startups, SMB, social media and generating traffic, engagement and leads. He holds an MBA from UCLA/Anderson and is a passionate entrepreneur (started 4 businesses), syndicated columnist, blogger, thought leader and author of 7 business and financial books.