The digital community has been talking about mobile for years. We’ve seen mobile grow from just a tiny slice of the web, to an overwhelming aspect of technology. In our day-to-day lives, mobile devices are playing a greater role than ever, helping us share, connect, shop, search, and more.
However, many small businesses have been slow to adopt mobile optimization and marketing. Although in their personal lives, most small business owners are practically glued to their phones, their businesses have often not adapted. Why the delay? It can be many things – business owners are busy, budgets are tight, and many might not understand the technical aspects of mobile marketing for their businesses.
But these reasons aren’t good enough to excuse inaction when it comes to mobile. The reality is that mobile devices and mobile marketing are the ways of the future, and businesses must get up to speed or risk falling seriously far behind. In this post, we’ll explore the numbers behind mobile growth and what you can do to get started with mobile.
The Web is Going Mobile
The growth of mobile traffic over the last few years has been staggering. At Tech-Critic, we’re seeing the average client get at least 30% of total traffic from mobile devices, with some clients getting upwards of 50% of total traffic from mobile devices.
And it’s not just us – the industry data showing mobile growth is everywhere. For example, consider this recent study which predicted that mobile PPC will account for 50% of clicks on Google by the end of next year! This means that more than half of Google’s massive AdWords business will be occurring on mobile – this is a huge shift in the industry that everyone is going to have to adapt to in order to succeed online.
There are plenty of other examples of this trend to review. Another study published by marketing powerhouse RKG showed that currently, mobile traffic accounts for more than 30% of search and 40% of social visits. Practically every agency, brand, and publisher is pointing to similar statistics. The point is simple: mobile has been growing for years and is continuing to grow. Businesses need to appreciate this reality and build their businesses to support the ongoing mobile revolution.
You (Probably) Don’t Need an App
Alright, so you agree that mobile is important, but how can your business go mobile successfully? When people think mobile, they often think mobile apps, but this idea can sometimes be problematic for small business owners.
The reality is that the vast majority of small, brick-and-mortar businesses do not need a mobile app. There’s simply no real benefit to building one – the app marketplace is competitive and users are just not demanding mobile apps for local businesses like doctors, lawyers, and dry cleaners. Think about it – do you have an app for your dentist installed? Probably not! In most cases, attempting to develop a native app for your small business is likely to be a costly and ineffective strategy, even though the basic goal of mobile readiness is solid.
Instead of building a native app, businesses are usually best served by creating a website using responsive design. Responsive design is a technology which allows a single website design to automatically resize and reformat content to suit whatever device a user has. Gone are the days of separate mobile websites like m.yourdomain.com. A responsive website has just one URL that automatically serves optimized content to all devices.
Mobile SEO and More
Fundamentally, mobile SEO and desktop SEO are very closely aligned. When you search the same query on a desktop and mobile phone, you see almost the exact same results. So how can businesses do SEO for mobile devices? Our previous suggestion of using a responsive website comes into play heavily. Because responsive sites use the same URL for both mobile and desktop, you don’t really have to optimize separately for mobile. Additionally, without any mobile-specific pages like yourdomain.com/mobile, there’s no need to deal with the complexities of duplicate content and canonicalization between mobile and desktop.
One issue to consider carefully with mobile SEO and mobile marketing in general is conversions. If you have a business that typically relies on users filling out forms to generate leads, remember that forms are often a hassle to manage on mobile. Instead, allow your users mobile friendly ways to convert, such as a click-to-call phone number. Where a user does have to fill out a form, make sure that the form is as short as possible, validates easily, and displays seamlessly.
On the PPC side of the equation, make sure to understand how Google is managing mobile through AdWords. In the old days, campaigns could be configured to target devices within the settings panel. However, since the launch of enhanced campaigns last year, all AdWords campaigns are opted in to mobile by default. If you want to run a mobile-specific campaign, you have to adjust desktop bidding down by 100%. (And of course, the inverse is true for a desktop-only campaign). Within AdWords, additionally you should ensure to take advantage of Google’s mobile-specific features such as call extensions and mobile ad preferences.
Finally, when it comes to mobile, testing is key. Don’t just assume your mobile site is working fine – business owners and marketers should get out their phones and try to replicate what a user would usually do on their websites. You’ll often find little problems that have a big impact. Things like slow load times, awkward menus, unoptimized content, and more, can all really hurt your chances of reaching mobile users with a quality experience.
We hope these tips will help you start to understand and optimize for mobile. Mobile adoption is growing every day, so the faster you start, the sooner you can start reaping the rewards of the new mobile marketplace. If you’re a small business owner in Dallas looking to learn more about mobile marketing strategies, the Tech-Critic team can help. Contact us today for a free mobile marketing analysis.