It is hard to deny that mobile technology is taking over the focus of the marketing world. Local SEO has been growing at such an exponential rate that Google has now started to roll out its mobile-first index, which puts even more focus on mobile optimization than ever before.
The very essence of mobile technology allows for on the spot, intent-driven searches with a strong desire for the user to ‘buy it now’. Because a vast majority of searches have a local focus, many large national brands, as well as smaller local providers, will all benefit from mobile impulse buys whatever time of day or location their customers search from.
Obviously, competition for sales will be rife, so let’s take a look at why the small operator needs to change their focus, and the top five ways to beat out the competition, even if they have a marketing budget that vastly outweighs your own.
Getting customers over your threshold
According to the latest search result data, over half of people performing a location-based search will choose to visit a physical store location in their local area that same day. The sales potential here is huge for local business owners who need to get customers over their thresholds.
Because high-intent searches are on the increase, but smartphone search-engine results pages are limited in size, if you want to get these customers into your store or local business, you need to work harder to get your information to the top of the search results and in front of your customer’s eyes. Doing this will increase your chances of attracting people through your door that have an intent to buy.
It makes sense then that if your business relies on local footfall and physical customers, you should make sure that you adopt a mobile-first focus with your marketing campaigns. This way you can more easily align with those mobile customers who use smartphones for the majority of their searches.
The great thing about the internet is that is has levelled the playing field somewhat between the big brand name corporations and the little guy who may be a solo entrepreneur providing goods and services at a local level. By using clever mobile-first marketing techniques, you can compete very well with brands that may be several times the size of your own business.
Marketing experts predict that these marketing techniques will be the next big thing to attract high-intent customers using on-the-go mobile technology for local searches.
- Focus on mobile-first marketing
While regular SEO techniques will still be good for your ongoing ranking and visibility needs, the increase in location-based marketing pairs perfectly with the huge rise in mobile searches. According to research by Google, search figures that included ‘near me’ or ‘nearby’ doubled in number between 2014 and 2015. With 80% of these searches coming from mobile phones, marketing experts predict these figures will continue to increase rapidly in the coming year. Ensure that you have a responsive design on your mobile website where your contact information appears above the fold. Live click-to-call links and buttons make it easier for customers to call you for more information or to check availability of stock.
- Voice search optimization
According to Google research, one in five mobile queries via the Google app and on Android phones come from voice searches. With digital assistants such as Siri taking the hard work out of conducting internet searches, experts predict this number is set to increase substantially over the next year.
- Google My Business
If you want to be found on the most popular search engine in the world, then you need to optimise your business with the Google My Business app. Make sure your profile is complete and up to date otherwise you could be left out of the search results. Ensure that your business is linked to the right business categories so that you appear in relevant searches. Make sure you have visible appeal with attractive and captivating photographs and good customer reviews. These all help to boost your visibility and rank higher on results.
- Be customer friendly
It is not all about simply getting people over your threshold that is important. You also have to think about those customers that are actually in-store. You will notice that many customers will continue to check their mobile phones while browsing the isles of your shop. Quite often they are searching out more information about model details, sizes, colours and measurements. They could be looking at customer reviews for products before they decide to buy. You need to provide your in-store customers with this information once they are actually inside so they continue to buy rather than leave empty-handed because they couldn’t find an answer to their question from your website.
- Be local community-minded
The new generation of customers coming of age now are very different from their predecessors. Young adults these days are more concerned with local matters, the environment, social enterprise and community spirit. They want to feel connected and part of the place where they live. Creating and including local information on your website and blog that covers such things as local attractions, annual events, or businesses that may complement your own in some way can be great for generating a sense of connection and sharing.
These strategies can be a very effective way to structure your mobile-first marketing campaigns and help to raise your local awareness. Small business owners have a good chance of competing with larger organisations through promoting the local connection and targeting customers who search with intent to buy.