Small business owners have to account for mobile devices within their marketing strategy in 2018. Otherwise, their competition is going to quickly leave them in the dust.
With every passing year, we rely increasingly upon our mobile devices to keep us connected. In 2014, mobile web traffic surpassed desktop traffic. Now, we spend an average of 5 hours a day using our mobile devices!
For business owners, this trend means that if someone is looking at their website, consuming digital content, or looking at an online ad, it is more likely than not occurring on a mobile device. Without awareness of the ways mobile has changed consumer habits, many small business marketing strategies won’t just fall flat — they flat out won’t work at all.
To help you prepare for a mobile-mad consumer world, make sure you take the following six 2018 small business mobile marketing trends to heart:
Just over half (51%) of all website visits now come from mobile devices. So, someone who is visiting your mobile website is most likely doing it on a tiny screen.
The first step to accommodating these mobile visitors is to ensure your site uses a reliable responsive design, which automatically scales down and rearranges site elements to look presentable. Most often, the change results in a website that navigates as a single scrolling page.
If you want to see if your website fits responsive design recommendations, you can use Google’s mobile friendly test.
At this point, responsive design is table stakes for all businesses. Your website should therefore not just be responsive but intuitive to navigate on a relatively small touchscreen display.
Having a highly usable site doesn’t just encourage more visitors to linger. It also sends signals to search engines that your page is worth visiting, potentially boosting your ranking position above competitors. Conversely, events like someone clicking “Back” after just five seconds on your site can hurt ranking.
Elements that improve usability for mobile users include:
Kimberly de Silva of BiznessApps puts the approach best: “Cut your copy and content down to the bare essentials.” She stresses that you will want your design to, “seamlessly guide [visitors] to conversion without any distractions.” To improve clarity and directness, you can put non-essential information in side menus or in-text links within content.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (abbreviated “AMP”) is a project from Google and dozens of other tech collaborators intended at reducing page load times for website users. Developers code AMP pages to have as little getting in the way of quick load times as possible.
Fast-loading pages matter to mobile device users. They usually want answers now. Statistics show that people will be 90% more likely to abandon a page that takes five seconds to load compared to one second.
Google also offers a small search engine ranking boost to pages that use AMP guidelines.
Even if you don’t have the resources to switch your pages to AMP, you can still reduce your load times and improve user experience (UX) in other ways. Take Google’s PageSpeed Insights test for tailored suggestions.
Videos are easier to watch on mobile compared to reading text — or even trying to digest colorful infographics. There are many reasons for this: video is passively consumed while text or large images have to be nudged around. Motion is easier to detect on small screens compared to discerning tiny static details.
For whatever, reason, people can’t get enough of mobile video. A third of online activity is now spent watching video. And video content gets snatched up quicker compared to non-video. For instance, adding a video to your landing page can increase conversions by over 80%. Blogs incorporating a video get three times as many inbound links.
Put simply: if you want more clicks, then try switching more online ads and organic-style content to video. You will accommodate your mobile audience better (who are 50% of your views, anyways), and you will drive improved engagement all around.
Not only is mobile-centered content moving towards video, but it’s also moving towards satisfying what Google calls “micro-moments” of need. A micro-moment refers to anytime you pull out your smartphone of tablet to answer an immediate question.
One common example is that people will search for a business name followed by “…near me.” So, instead of searching for “guitar store”, they might search for “guitar store near me.” Search results will display according to the user’s last known location. Ranking for “near me” requires a localized search keyword focus, so using “guitar store in Utica, NY” as a keyword emphasis on your website can help improve “near me” search rankings.
Other micro-moments include times people need answers. So, someone might search for “how do I repair a broken peg on my guitar” and expect to find a quick video on the topic. Businesses can capitalize on this need by providing helpful content in addition to keywords mirroring the intended search, like “guitar repair in Utica, NY.”
When trying to satisfy micro-moments, there are two additional things to keep in mind: people may be searching for very specific content (long tail) and they may be asking their phone’s voice assistants to make the search for them (semantic search).
In response, try to offer a lot of quick, to-the-point articles and emphasize titles that reflect sentence-style questions people may ask. Using a music store example again, a semantic, long-tail search would be “where can I rent a trumpet near me?” compared to someone typing “instrument rental, Utica, NY.”
As a final note, small business owners must take care to track how their efforts in mobile-centered marketing are doing. Yet, one in four retailers say they have no method for attributing mobile marketing interactions to final purchases.
Using an attribution strategy like having people redeem coupon codes in-person can help connect a mobile ad to a final in-store purchase. Other times, business owners estimate how many percentage of impressions and click-throughs generate to a final sales conversion. So, if 5% of web page visitors are spending an average of $42 in the next week at your store, then each page visit is worth approximately $2.10.
Ensure that, at the very least, you are setting marketing goals for your content and paid ads in the form of hard metrics. By tracing return on investment (ROI), you can optimize the amount you spend and chase better and better results over time.
By letting trends in mobile use and marketing influence your website design, your SEO strategy, and your approach to content marketing, you can improve your chances of success overall. You will also avoid giving up ground to competitors.
So, just remember: if you want to win big in 2018, start by thinking small!