It’s easy to see how mobile web browsing has permeated society. Look around in any waiting room, on the subway or even waiting in lines, and you’ll see a majority of people scrolling through their phones, checking social networks, reading emails and conducting searches for nearby businesses.
As a small business, it’s even more important that you capitalize on this trend. According to a recent study conducted by ExactTarget, more than 75% of smartphone users conduct online searches on their devices every day. Combine this statistic with the knowledge that more than half of all consumers use their smartphone as their primary research tool when they intend to buy locally, and it’s easy to see why your business’ mobile presence is so important.
As a small business, you might not know where to start when making your online presence mobile-friendly. But fear not. With modern technology and mobile awareness, it’s easier than ever to adapt your web presence to a format that customers are relying on more and more.
Here are five ways to make your business more mobile-friendly.
1. Update Your Business Listings
It is incredibly important that all of the online listings related to your business are as accurate as possible. Nearly three-quarters of consumers who conduct mobile searches for businesses claim they lose trust in a brand when the information is not accurate. To help maintain accuracy, be sure to account for the following:
- Claim Your Google Listing: Type your business’ name into Google, and take a look at the information it returns. How accurate is it? Review the address, contact information, website URL and store hours, and make sure they’re correct. If you need to make changes, it’s relatively easy to do.
- List Your Business in Other Online Directories: There are a variety of other online directories to consider. They include Superpages, Citysearch, infoUSA and Business.com.
- Manage Your Social Networks: Your social media profiles can show up in search engine results pages, so be sure that all of the information provided on those pages is accurate.
2. Adopt a Responsive Website Design
With so many mobile searches conducted on a daily basis, the look and feel of your mobile website is hugely important. A responsive website allows for easy viewing on any device, including smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. This also ensures that your desktop site and your mobile site will have a consistent look and feel.
Many marketers have chosen to build their websites on a platform that automatically converts their desktop site into a responsive site; others do this by using HTML5. For many businesses, this is a more cost-efficient option than building a separate mobile website that is distinct from their desktop site.
3. Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
Beyond a responsive site, you want to be sure that your site’s design and content are optimized for the mobile experience. Some things to consider are:
- Load Times: Large or multiple images and videos might look fancy on your website, but they can significantly slow down the load time on a mobile device.
- Flash: Apple still doesn’t allow Flash integration with their mobile devices. This means that including Flash elements on your site may make it work incorrectly or outright inaccessible on iPhones and iPads.
- Navigation: Make your navigation as space-efficient as possible. Consider using drop-down menus instead of a horizontal menu that might display oddly when viewed on a smaller screen. Also, be sure your navigation is at the top of the page so that users don’t have to scroll to find the links to information they’re looking for.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Since so many consumers find businesses through search engines, it’s important that your mobile website is SEO-friendly. This means paying attention to keywords, meta tags and making sure that your site’s content can be crawled by search engines. This also means that you accompany images with alt tags, since these will allow web crawlers to find the images and will give a description to users who don’t let the images load.
4. Optimize Your Emails for Mobile Devices
More than half of all emails were opened on a mobile device in the last year. Of those opens, emails with responsive design showed a 20% higher click-to-open rate than emails not optimized for mobile. Similar to optimizing your website for mobile, your consumer email communications should be designed to display properly on a smaller screen; it should also load quickly and have hyperlinks placed at the top of the message for easy access.
5. Use Social Media Effectively
Recent data shows that more than 70% of social networking engagement takes place on mobile platforms. This is an increase of more than 50% over last year. And as previously stated, active social profiles influence search results on both mobile and desktop devices. To effectively leverage your social media presence, remember to do the following:
- Post relevant content on a regular basis
- Maintain your business’ contact information, and check frequently for accuracy
- Consider using social media advertising
- Vary your posts to include images, offers and links
The increased usage of mobile devices in consumers’ daily lives and in their purchasing decisions makes it imperative that businesses consider mobile in all of their marketing efforts. Make your online presence mobile-friendly by incorporating the above tactics in your marketing plan and keeping mobile viewers at the top of mind. A boost in revenue will let you know you’re doing something right.