Small Local Businesses Have Most to Lose by Neglecting Mobile Users

It’s hard to find even the smallest business that does not maintain a web site. But most small business web sites are not optimized for mobile devices. In fact, even many larger businesses, who maintain dedicated marketing budgets, don’t address the expectations and needs of their mobile consumers. But small local businesses have the most to lose by not catering to their mobile prospects. So if you run a small business that relies on local customers, we think you will want to pay close attention and read on.

50% of all searches that are made from a cell phone have local intent

Referring to Google’s statistics on local intent searches (source http://bit.ly/12mk9nQ) and accounting for the growth rate of Smartphones, one should expect that approximately 50% of all searches that are made from a cell phone have local intent – “dentists Cary”, “carpet cleaners Holly Springs”, “Photographers Apex”, “Pest Control Raleigh”, etc. See the chart below and you will quickly recognize the peril of not catering to your mobile prospects.

ourmobileplanet.com_chart_053225ce

The Our Mobile Planet research was commissioned by Google and conducted by Ipsos MediaCT in partnership with the Mobile Marketing Association and the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

 72% of mobile users place importance on mobile-friendly site design

For searches made from a cell phone, Google reportedly gives preference to sites that are optimized for mobile browsers. This is understandable given Google’s own studies, which have found that 72% of mobile users place importance on mobile-friendly site design (source: http://bit.ly/12moEyE ). And in terms of the very critical analytic ‘Bounce Rate’, where smaller is better, having a mobile site is super important. According to a Google survey, 61% of respondents indicated that when they don’t find what they’re looking for quickly (within about five seconds), they’ll bounce out and find another site.

Check Your Site Now

Go ahead and open your web site on a phone. You can also use a Smartphone emulator to see how your site will appear. (However, note that while emulators provide a useful quick checkout, ultimately you need to open your site on an actual phone.)

Mobile Ready Checklist

Answer the following questions to confirm your site’s “mobile friendliness”:

  1. Can your site be navigated using only a thumb?
    Mobile browsers should never be required to “stretch”, “pinch”, or “poke” with their index finger. A well designed mobile site is one that requires only up/down scrolling and ‘fat-finger’ clicking of elements.
  2. Does the display area of your site require any left/right scrolling?
    A mobile- aware site will only require up & down scrolling. When it comes to cellphone navigation, right/left scrolling is a big ‘no-no’.
  3. Do the pages of your site load very quickly over cellular (3G)?
    Before you begin your test, turn off your smartphone’s WiFi connection so you can observe the performance over cellular to match real-world conditions.
  4. Are the most important mobile elements easily accessible?
    One-click operations like phone dialing, emailing, texting, etc. should be right in view. Other important mobile elements will include navigable directions to your place of business, your hours of operation, testimonials and reviews, watching a video presentation, purchasing an item, booking a reservation, redeeming a coupon, and so forth. Remember that the most common elements requested by a mobile user will differ than those who are viewing from a standard screen.
  5. Are there presentation elements that simply don’t show up on a phone?
    You know that snazzy animated Flash introduction that you paid a lot of money for?  Unfortunately, it won’t show up on most cell phones.

Finally, ask yourself this – “…if I found my site on a phone would I be compelled to take action or would I quickly bounce out and look for another source of information?

Before and After

The left  image shows a typical small business site before it has been made “mobile aware”. The right image shows the same site after being mobile optimized.

If your site is like most small business web sites it probably won’t be formatted correctly for a mobile phone.

Quick and Affordable Mobile Enablement

Adverscan offers several approaches to getting your site mobile enabled – quickly and affordably.  But what really separates us from the rest of the pack – aside from our 20+ years of mobile and handheld computing expertise – is that all of our plans allow you to also fully tap into the power SMS (text) marketing!  What this means to you is that when you are ready to evolve to the next step in your mobile marketing strategy, you will be ready immediately.  In fact, we will even gift you some SMS credits at no charge so you can see what this power can mean to your business.

Option 1:

DIY-300x290If you are technically competent, we offer a build-it-yourself mobile web package, which allows you to create a gorgeous mobile site that provides every conceivable capability you could imagine, free of charge.  You pay only $12 per month for hosting.  And there is absolutely no term commitment (you can cancel anytime). Furthermore your 1st month is FREE, so you can develop and test your site before you actually pay for your 1st month. And no, you DO NOT need to create a separate domain name for your mobile site name. Simply create a subdomain like m.yoursitename.com from your domain provider. (The instructions for Go Daddy are typical).  Finally, from the Adverscan mobile site builder, you will see ‘drop-in’ ready redirection code that can be inserted into your main site. With this single line of JavaScript code installed, anyone who finds your web site on a phone will automatically be presented with the mobile-friendly version you’ve created.

Option 2:

ready-to-goIf you are not technically proficient, or you simply don’t have the time, Adverscan can develop your mobile site for you.  With this option you pay us $269 one-time for development. After that, you simply pay the $12/per month in hosting fees. Just like the DIY option (above), you can cancel anytime you want and you can bring your own domain name. The only difference between option 1 and 2 is who actually develops the site – us or you.

For options 1 and 2, if you later decide to upgrade to one of our mobile marketing plans, your mobile site hosting rate will drop down to only $8/month!

Option 3:

We also offer alternative options that involve either migrating your current site to a responsive design.  If your site is built on a major CMS like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, this becomes fairly straightforward. Alternatively, we can create a new web site for you that utilizes a responsive web site theme. These options are typically more expensive on the front-end because of the higher development costs, but may cost less over time due to reduced hosting fees.

Up Next…

In our next blog post for this series, we are going to explore the ongoing debate “Mobile vs. Responsive Web Sites”.  This is an interesting topic that deserves a fairly deep dive into the advantages and disadvantages of both.

About Mike Cancell

Mike has been a thought leader in the area of mobile communications and digital marketing for the past 20 years. He is the principal partner of Adverscan, a small multi-channel marketing agency located in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina. When not daydreaming about skiing in the Rockies, wind surfing in the Caribbean, and dating supermodels, he can be found at home trying the patience of his wife and kids.