The Customer Experience Today – Better Think Mobile!
As 2014 wound down, marketing experts predicted that 2015 would be the year that mobile searches outnumbered desktop computer searches on Google. Those predictions proved to be accurate. What that means for local business owners in 2016 is that, like it or not, mobile marketing has to be a priority. It’s no longer reasonable to deny the importance of reaching out to mobile customers.
With so many options available to consumers, it is absolutely essential to make it easy for them to connect with you. Having a mobile-friendly site used to be optional, but now it’s a requirement. The easier you make it for your customers to interact with your business, the more likely they are to buy your product.
This type of outreach is especially vital for local businesses. Google’s recent “Mobile Path to Purchase” study showed that approximately 93% of mobile customers who researched a company using their mobile devices went on to make a purchase. Keeping that in mind, here are the top four ways you can target mobile customers in 2016.
#1: Use text messaging to reach customers on the go
Text messages, or SMS messages, are a surprisingly underutilized form of marketing. They’re inexpensive to send, and text messages are more likely to be opened than traditional marketing emails. In fact, the open rate for text messages is about 99% — not a statistic you can afford to ignore.
Text messages can be used to send out information about sales and promotions. Mobile users love to feel that they’re getting something exclusive, so mobile-only coupons can be an effective way to get people into your store. You can even time their release so that they reach customers right before they leave work – a great option for restaurants offering happy hour promotions. You can also use text messages to remind customers of upcoming appointments.
It’s important to remember that customers must opt in to receive SMS messages. However, many people prefer to receive text messages rather than getting emails, so it’s a good idea to consider collecting mobile numbers.
One service that offers affordable text messaging services is SumoText.
#2: Optimize marketing emails for mobile inboxes
As a rule, people spend more time accessing the internet on mobile devices than they do on desktop computers. Your marketing emails need to embrace that trend and make it easy for customers to read them on any device. For example, you should:
- Limit subject lines to 35 characters or less
- Use a responsive design
- Implement a single-column layout for easy reading
- Use alt attributes for images
- Make your call to action button large and easy to access on mobile devices
It may also help to keep your emails relatively short and as uncluttered as possible. An email built around a single column of text, a strong image, and a clear call to action will be friendly for both mobile users and computer users.
#3: Ramp up your local SEO
There’s no point in being mobile-friendly if you’re not going to do everything you can to make it simple for your customers to find you. That means you need to optimize your mobile site for local search so when customers seek you out using a mobile device, they can find you. Google laid out its guidelines for mobile-friendly sites in 2015. Here are some things you can do to make sure your customers can locate you:
- Standardize your business listings on social media pages, online review sites, and online directories. Your NAP (name, address, and phone) listings must be identical on every site if you want your search ranking to be high. Using “Avenue” on one site and “Ave” on another will dilute your listings’ power.
- Make sure to use local keywords on your website. For example, a long-tail keyword like “Suburban Chicago plumbing service” is going to help your local ranking while “plumbing service” will not.
- Optimize your listing on Google Maps so that smart phones can calculate where you are in relation to a mobile user’s location.
You want your mobile users to be able to find you when they are out and about – and that means doing everything you can to make your business visible and accessible.
#4: Use Local Awareness Facebook Ads
One of the great things about social media advertising is that it lets you target customers based on detailed demographic information, including their geographical location. One thing to consider when it comes to mobile marketing is using Facebook to target ads to nearby mobile users in your area.
A targeted Local Awareness Facebook ad will reach customers when they access Facebook on their mobile devices. For example, someone out running errands on a Saturday might see an ad for your store and decide to stop in while they’re in the area. The benefit of this type of advertising is that it is inexpensive – Facebook lets you set a daily budget as low as one dollar – and highly targeted. You only get charged for people who engage with your ad, and you can be sure that your ad is only seen by the customers you decide to target.
If you are not already collecting mobile numbers from the people on your list, now is the perfect time to start. You might consider sending out an email (in mobile-friendly format, of course) that gives customers a chance to opt-in for text messages. It’s a good idea to start with a coupon or special offer – think of it as a mobile lead magnet. Once people have opted in, you can use the information you collect to send out information about new products, sales, in-store promotions, and more.
Mobile marketing used to be the wave of the future, but the future is here right now. Every local business should be targeting mobile customers, and the four simple techniques outlined in this article will help you start doing that right away. 2016 will be the year of mobile marketing, and you don’t want to be left behind.