Mobile-first is no longer the future, it’s the reality. Smartphones are completely integrated into everyday life, whether it is for online shopping, Internet banking or keeping in contact via social media or email on the go, the ‘always-on’ generation demands immediacy and speed of service when it comes to engaging with a brand. With 82 per cent of smartphone users turning to a search engine when looking for a local business, is your business mobile-ready?

The reality

Google started rolling out its Mobile Index at the back end of 2016 (you can find out more about it in this article on the Google Webmasters Central Blog, entitled ‘Mobile-first Indexing‘). Why is this important? According to an independent web analytics company who track internet use across 2.5m websites worldwide, for the first time, the percentage of pages loaded on mobile devices during October 2016, surpassed desktops and laptop computers, reaching 51.3%. The evidence is all pointing towards small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) missing out on a big opportunity by not reaching the full audience.

Let’s consider the true impact of mobile. Smartphones are now accounting for 46.5% of web traffic, against 4.7% for tablets. Three-quarters (72%) of the UK use a smartphone, and 34% of online purchases are now happening on a mobile device, the opportunity for customer engagement, retention and acquisition has reached a peak. Digital transformation and evolution to mobile has never been more poignant for SMEs to take a share of the ever-expanding customer pool.

Those who have not already optimised their website for mobile, are missing out on a huge opportunity. Bearing in mind that mobile makes up 88% of all 'near me' searches with those mobile searches growing even faster at 146% year over year, if an SMB isn’t embracing its presence on mobile, it will no doubt be missing the majority of the UK as potential customers.

It’s not just a case of embracing mobile but making it successful too. For example, one in three of those searching on a mobile will jump to another business’s website if they are not presented with a click-to-call option on the website. The understanding of consumer behaviour and brand interaction goes hand in hand with the digital technology itself. To compete in an increasingly fluid and progressive industry, five key steps need to be taken now to go mobile with success:

The advice

1.  Be there to inspire – Be there in the awareness and pre-awareness stage of the buying cycle by using banner advertising, in-app advertising and social.

2.  Be informative – People are comparing their choices online so tell them what they need to know by writing an effective product description. Why is this product better than others on the market? Why should they buy from you and not someone else?

3.  Be an expert – People are seeking advice and you need to ensure that you can tell them everything they need to know. This is a tricky subject for a lot of people and there are hundreds of articles about the best way to do more content marketing effectively – do it right and you’ll kill two birds with one stone, because you will likely end up ranking higher on Google. Use videos on your website as well as an advice centre or blog spot. Be open, honest and transparent as much as you possibly can.

4.  Be online – If your product or service suits it, make sure people can buy it or book it online. You may think that people will come to your shop if you’re friendly and local but chances are, they won’t. They’ll buy online if they can.

5.  Be mobile – Don’t just think mobile, think tablet too. Responsive design is key – some of the best, big brand sites struggle to make their site look good for tablet devices and it can cause people to buy elsewhere.

 

By Mark Clisby, marketing director at Yell


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