Much like the world we live in, the Internet is diverse. It is a place for rich and poor, homemakers and billionaire CEO’s, young and old, citizens and expatriates. It meets a wide range of needs. Communication, national security, entertainment, business, and the sharing of ideas are all essential functions performed on the Internet every day. Without the Internet, we would not know what to do with ourselves as a society.
Businesses and stores run out of homes spring up every day on the Internet, and many of them see success. Many retailers offer the ability to order things online and have them shipped, rather than having to go to the store to get them. Many sit-down and high-end restaurants now offer takeout service. However, the brick-and-mortar model of business is not dead, even in the fast-paced, Buy It Now world we live in. Many of us (including myself) still want to ‘go for a cup of coffee’ or ‘go do X.’ That isn’t going to die any time soon (and it may never die…). However, brick-and-mortar establishments still have to compete on a global scale if they want to truly succeed. Having an online presence is essential to every business’ marketing strategy.
Clearly this means more than doing some keyword research, building a pretty website, and putting it online. Your customer base will need to dictate how you build your website. What does Google Analytics have to say about the average person visiting your site? Are they on a mobile device? All of these are important questions that demand an answer.
If you see a lot of customers accessing your site from a mobile device, it would behoove you to put in the extra work required to make the site appealing and accessible to mobile users, particularly when considering what some internet usage research reports:
Nearly two-thirds (63%) of cell phone owners now use their phone to go online, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. We call them “cell internet users” and define them as anyone who uses their cell phone to access the internet or use email. Because 91% of all Americans now own a cell phone, this means that 57% of all American adults are cell internet users. The proportion of cell owners who use their phone to go online has doubled since 2009.
The research was conducted in 2013 by the Pew Research Center, and can be found here.
That leads into another important question: “What should I have on my website?” Ultimately, the Internet provides information. Whether it’s the location and hours of the coffee shop, or the newest funny cat videos complete with comments, people crave information. Therefore, give it to them. If you are a brick-and-mortar store, your phone number, address, and hours should be in the description that you submit to Google. On top of that, the information should be easily accessible on your website, particularly for mobile devices, and here’s why:
We also found that three of four mobile searches trigger additional actions. These range from open-ended actions like additional research (36%) or a website visit (25%), to more concrete conversions like a store visit (17%), a purchase (17%), or a phone call (7%). On average, each mobile search triggers nearly two actions, so in order to understand the full value of mobile, marketers must evaluate the different ways that their customers convert, both online and offline, and measure accordingly.
Mobile searches have an immediate effect. People looking for you via their phone are frequently also looking to do other things: buy from you, call, go there, or even research your competition. Having business information in a form that is legible and accessible to mobile consumers is critical. You can find out more about the actions taken by mobile consumers in the article, “Mobile’s immediacy effect: Half of mobile search conversions happen in one hour,” and the source of the information used in the article was: “Google/Nielsen Life360 Mobile Search Moments Q4 2012.”
So what now? If you are a business owner, you have a vested interest in your company’s success. With more and more conversions happening as a result of the Internet, having a solid website is a fundamental part of any effective marketing plan.
Contact a digital marketing agency. They can rework an existing website to look good and be accessible to mobile consumers, or design a new one from scratch. If you would like more guidance, simply want to talk, or would like to hire me, you can contact me directly from here.