46% of users accessed the Internet every day, and most said they “never left home without it”. In my own experience, a short ride on public transport will show just how ubiquitous this technology is becoming – passengers are using their phones to connect with friends, search for goods and services or to research for work or for leisure.
Google concludes that “businesses that use mobile as a central part of their marketing strategy will benefit from the opportunity to engage with these new, constantly-connected consumers”.
If you have a small to medium business this represents an opportunity to get in on the ground floor, and with proper optimisation and tailoring of your internet presence, beat some of the biggest competitors in your market.
First of all, you need a website that is optimised to work well on mobile: Smartphones and Tablets, There’s a couple of ways to do this, many larger organisations detect your device and deliver a specific mobile website – you can tell because the URL begins with “m.” signifying mobile.
Preferable is a site that is “responsive”, and adapts to the various screen sizes it is to be shown on, from wide-screen desktop PCs to the highly restricted space of a smartphone, with tablets like iPads in between. You can test sites buy clicking and dragging the bottom right corner of your browser towards the top left corner, and watching the layout and graphics change as you do so.
Go on – try it with the Search plus site. See? Don’t forget that these also change when held in landscape or portrait mode, so there is a lot of change to occur with each device, meaning that adapting from a non-responsive page is often a nightmare! Elements are usually changed radically, sidebars are pushed below the main content and larger menus are very hard to use with touch devices unless the buttons are made big enough for fingers, which often obscures content.
The images need to be specially optimised so that the small device does not try to download a high-definition image meant for a Retina or other HD screen. Google penalises slow loading sites in it’s Search results, because it wants to direct searchers to the best possible sites, and load time is an important indicator of quality.
Consult a professional web designer to get a high quality, fast-loading site.
Before you finalise the site design, you’ll want to make sure your target market finds you on the web. This employs a wide range of tactics, but all of them fall under the title “Search Engine Marketing”.
The first step is to have a strategy – easiest defined as a “dream with a goal”. It seems obvious, but it’s not something we are taught in school, and planning makes all the difference to achieving the outcomes you desire.
First I have to assume you know who your market are and whether there is sufficient demand for your products. We can help strengthen demand, of course.
Assuming that, try to determine the existing price points and where they currently get their needs met – that’s your competition. If we are going to reach our audience online, we now need to dig a bit deeper, do some research and try to find out when, where and how often they use the internet to research products in your market.
The Buying Cycle
In marketing, there is what’s known as “The Buying Cycle”, which starts with recognition of a need, a decision to do something about it, research, a decision to purchase, a Sale and then back to the beginning.
You can use your knowledge of your market to determine where they will find out about you, when you will have the chance to tell them why they should purchase our product, and facilitate that purchase.
Those three stages are easily targeted online – We use Search Engine Marketing to get their attention, Information Architecture to direct them to the right pages on your site as they research their purchase, and then either sell via e-commerce or direct them to your shop or offices or to contact by phone or email you about your services.
Working With Your Designer
Before you finalise your site design, plan the pages and look and feel with this process in mind. Imagine yourself as a prospective buyer – if the site does not look professional, you will be unlikely to trust the company’s products. Make sure there’s room for testimonials, and some clear pictures of people using your product or benefitting from your service if possible. The web is a very visual medium, and our brains respond well to visual input. Real photos of actual customers taken professionally are better than stock photos, again they inspire trust.
The Search marketing aspects should be “baked in” by working with your designer. If your designer has good website building experience, ask him or her how successful they are with Search Marketing, because a surprising number are not at all.
Unless you have a powerful brand your customers won’t find you by chance! If they admit it is not something they are experienced in, bring on board a professional SEO expert, who will work with the designer and you to make sure that your products or services appear before your market at both the research and buying stage of the Buying Cycle to create sustainable competitive advantage.
An SEO expert with experience in optimising for smartphone and tablets – collectively called “mobile” is a great asset, and you should always arrange for the SEO to continue to monitor and fine-tune your site.
The SEO will work with the designer to create an Information Architecture that leads the user to the right pages most directly, according to their queries. Proper knowledge of KeyWord Research techniques will make the difference between success or failure at this, and every other stage of the process. There are likely to be differences between the phrases people use when on a mobile or tablet compared to a PC at home, sometimes to do with space or time restraints.
The SEO will create a list of major topic headings and arrange keywords within them to create the right Information Architecture. You can use your own knowledge to indicate which products are most profitable so they are made more readily available to searchers.
Each page within the topic should contain useful, well-written content with the keywords used naturally. The SEO will pay attention to the on-page optimisation like meta-tags and headings, etc.
Your SEO then builds backlinks from relevant sites, and submits your URL to directories, creates a sitemap and registers with Google Webmaster Tools.
Make sure the SEO sets up some analytics, and a schedule to review and improve the site, with regular reports.
These Analytics Reports help you understand what your visitors do on your site, what keywords they use to find your site and where on the site they leave. You’ll also be able to track the amount of mobile usage, by device, and alter your design if needed.
To find out more, call 04 562 0039 or 027 471 5567