For the last few years, if someone were to ask you what the key to success in small business was, you would have responded that marketing yourself online was the most important marketing tool for generating local foot-traffic and renewed revenue. After all, eCommerce levels are expected to eclipse $1.5 trillion globally by the end of 2014.
However, you need to consider who is contributing to that huge growth. Is it just traditional web surfers, or are mobile users, the fastest growing marketing demographic, playing a key role? With over 50% of people using their favorite mobile devices to search for locally available goods and services online, the answer should be quite clear: mobile marketing is the key to any small business that wants to generate local traffic and succeed in 2014.
Let's Look at the Numbers
Depending on your industry, using mobile will have different effects. All of them, however, will be positive. For example, if you work in the restaurant industry, optimizing your website for mobile users puts you in the top 5% of all restaurants. Quite simply, 95% of restaurants don't take the time to optimize their web marketing pages for their mobile users. Further, since 62% of consumers are more likely to patronize a restaurant that offers its menu on a mobile optimized website, the financial benefits of focusing on mobile in this industry are huge.
Of course, the benefits of mobile optimization aren't limited to any one specific industry. In general, statistics show that mobile commerce (mCommerce) is going up across all forms of business. By 2017, mCommerce in the U.S. is expected to explode beyond the $113 billion per year mark, still trailing behind overall eCommerce levels but marking a paradigm shift in the way consumers are doing business overall.
Quick Tips for Improving Your Mobile Marketing in a Hurry
Having said all that, you need to realize that harnessing the increased potential of mobile users and their pocketbooks isn't something that comes from resting on your laurels and hoping for the best. You need to actively pursue mobile marketing optimization if you want to succeed this year.
Use Your Website to Offer Great Content
As with traditional SEO, generating local traffic from search engines is all about creating smart content. By creating well written, informative content, you can build links, have your content shared across social media, and watch as your webpage climbs through Google search result rankings. Taking advantage of smart link building and social signals through content marketing has always been essential, but with the increase in mobile users, it's much more important than before.
Stop Building Separate Web Pages
Before the advent of responsive web design, you had no choice but to build two separate versions of your webpage. The first version was for the general population. Not only was it designed to look better, but more often than not, it was a lot easier to find and navigate through. The second version was a bare-bones mobile site.
Using responsive web design, you can build one website that works across all platforms. This is essential for a number of reasons: firstly, you don't have to worry about your mobile site being seen as a source of duplicate content, a big no-no for staying in Google's good graces. Further, it's far easier to manage a single website that can be accessed from a mobile device as easily as a desktop, and it's much cheaper.
Being more cognizant of your mobile users and refocusing your online marketing model to suit them is essential to your success going forward, but that shouldn't be read to mean that it needs to be difficult. Responsive web design and the production of great content, coupled with the usual list of effective web marketing tools, can help you tap into this increasingly mobile world.