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5 Mobile Marketing Tips and Trends for 2013

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.

Copyright © 2000-2012 BizBest® Media Corp.  All Rights Reserved.

Why Mobile is Bigger than Ever for Small Business

Every day, more and more people are using their mobile devices to go online to find local businesses. Mobile web usage is absolutely exploding.  In less than three years, more people will access the Internet via mobile devices than from desktop computers.

This shift in consumer behavior has huge upside implications for small businesses. Is your business ready for it? Do you have a mobile-friendly web site? Remember, just because your regular site is visible on a mobile device doesn’t mean it’s mobile-friendly. Mobile sites are designed specifically for the small screen. They are quick, easy to navigate and “thumb friendly,” which means they use large, centered buttons with “breathing room” to prevent accidental clicks.

The best mobile-friendly web sites make the mobile experience local. Since customers are constantly seeking local information on their phones, your mobile site should make it quick and easy for people to find you. That means it should have your address or some kind of locator right on the landing page, with directions and a map.

You should also consider using a “click-to-call” phone number for your business.  Much like a “hotlink” in a piece of text will take the reader somewhere else if clicked, a “linked” phone number will automatically dial your business from the mobile device. 

Recent tests of click-to-call on local business mobile sites conducted by Google and a mobile site provider called Duda Mobile (www.dudamobile.com) show that call rates for click-to-call on mobile are through the roof. For example, nearly half of all consumers who visited a taxi service’s mobile site called the company. About 32% of customers visiting a pizza restaurant mobile site called. And the call rates are high for other categories as well, including car services (28%), auto repair (22%), home repair (20%), medical services (16%), beauty and spa (13%), retail stores (12%) and restaurants (11%).

Compared to so-called “click through rates” for online ads, those call rates are enormous. And phone calls have a much higher rate of converting to actual sales as well.

Still not convinced? Here are three reasons mobile is a must for local business:

1. Mobile-friendly websites create positive customer response. Today’s consumers use their mobile devices more frequently than ever, and have high expectations for the mobile sites they visit. If your mobile site provides a good experience, it will help drive revenue for your business. Research shows that 51% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that has a mobile friendly website.

But there’s also a flip side to that. About one in five mobile users say they have a negative opinion of any business that has a poor mobile site, or no mobile site. If all they find is your regular desktop site and have to squint and zoom their way through it to try and find something, while attempting to fill in a microscopic search box or press a button the size of a pinhead, they’ll move on to someone else.

2. The time to move is now. You’ve been hearing about the potential of mobile for years. Now it’s here. For example, a third of all searches for restaurants now happen on mobile. Smartphones are now a part of people’s daily lives.  Studies commissioned by Google show that 87% of smartphone owners use their devices on the go, or while commuting and walking. And here’s an eye-opener: 93% of consumers now use their smartphones at home.  Local businesses with mobile-friendly sites can take advantage of these new consumer habits and reach customers wherever they are throughout the day.

3. Mobile offers immediate gratification. With a “click-to-call” feature, a “clickable” phone number allows customers to reach your business with one touch. Customers are hungry for the kind of information that makes it easy for them to contact you and get to your business.

What to do Now

            Google has launched a terrific program called GoMo (www.HowToGoMo.com) to help small businesses learn about mobile websites and find help setting one up. You’ll find tips, a tool to rate the quality of an existing mobile site, samples of good mobile site design, and a helpful list of vendors who can help you create a mobile presence.

Copyright © 2000-2012 BizBest® Media Corp.  All Rights Reserved.