4 Ways to Optimize Your Website for Mobile

Chances are, you’re already hosting a website for your small business. But with the number of mobile web viewers growing each year, it’s just as important for your site to perform great on mobile as it is on a PC. So how do you go about optimizing your current site for mobile? Here are 4 ideas to get you started:

1. Prioritize Content that Mobile Users Want

Take a look at your current site’s analytics to see which pages mobile users are visiting most. Once you’ve identified the most popular mobile content, you can adjust your site structure and design to help users find what they’re looking for more quickly.

2. Streamline Your Website Design for Better Mobile Usage

Mobile users want sites that load quickly, use simple navigation, and provide key information up front. Consider how you can adjust your current site (or, if building a separate mobile site, how you can rethink your existing content and organization) to be as simple and accessible as possible.

3. Test Mobile Performance

Review your site on every mobile device, operating system, and browser you can get your hands on. If you find something that doesn’t look or perform the way you expect, get it fixed. Anything that frustrates you will also frustrate your viewers—and unhappy viewers are unlikely to do business with you or recommend your business to others.

4. Keep Improving

As more users begin to interact with your mobile site, it’s important to monitor their activity and behavior so that you can continue to optimize your content. The needs of potential customers may change over time—and your site should change with them.

The Bottom Line

Putting your visitors first, whether in person or online, is the best way to land and retain new customers. Optimizing your site for mobile is just one way you can better serve consumers. Learn more about how SinglePlatform can help.

[News] Restaurants Given the Chance to Review Customers

Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:

[Restaurant News] Restaurants Review Customers with Dimmi ResDiary

News Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

Australia-based restaurant reservation system Dimmi ResDiary is now allowing participating restaurants to track and rate customers on “dining performance”—what they ordered, what kind of tip they left, what additional requests they made, and how they treated the staff.

The hope is that restaurant ratings will promote improved behavior by customers. The review system will also aid restaurant staff in identifying patron preferences and rewarding individuals who are big spenders or pleasant to serve.

Key Takeaway: Giving restaurants the ability to review patrons has the potential to affect negative customer behaviors. However, this system includes the same dangers as consumer reviews, opening the door to harsh or inappropriate comments by businesses that could affect customer loyalty and retention.

Restaurants have a lot more to lose by creating negative reviews of patrons than patrons do by criticizing a business. Those participating in such “reverse-Yelp” programs should tread very lightly when it comes to giving negative feedback.

[Social Media News] Facebook Rolls out New Design for All Business Pages

News Source: The Next Web

This week, Facebook began rolling out its new one-column Business Page design to users worldwide. Posts will now appear in a single main column instead of a two-column staggered layout.

The left column includes key Page information such as Likes, maps, hours of operation, website URL, About Us description, and any apps you’re using.

The Tab structure at the top of the page has also changed, going to a more streamlined link system under the Cover Photo.

Key Takeaway: These Page changes should benefit your business by (1) making it easier for users to view your key business information in the left column and (2) improving the flow of Post content on your Page. The two-column design made it difficult to read and easy to get distracted by other Posts.

Both of these updates will also provide a better experience for users who come to your Page via Graph Search, helping them find the information they’re looking for more quickly.

[Mobile News] Study Finds More than 30% of Consumers Use Mobile Exclusively

News Source: Marketing Land

A new study from xAd and Telemetrics this week confirms what we’ve all been hearing for a couple of years: Mobile is a key discovery channel for local consumers, and it’s only growing in importance.

Half of survey respondents consider mobile to the “most important resource” in their purchase decision-making process, and more than a third said they use mobile exclusively.

Additionally, the study found that mobile users tend to be the most likely to make a purchase: 53% of mobile shoppers called a business and 65% completed a purchase the same day as they performed a search. 64% of these purchases happened in store.

Pricing and location tend to be the two most important factors for mobile shoppers; deals also have an impact on promoting conversions.

Key Takeaway: We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again—making sure your business’s key content is accessible via mobile is crucial. If your website, online listings, menu, list of products & services, and location / contact information aren’t available on or optimized for mobile, now is the time to make it happen!

Other news catch your eye this week? Leave a comment and let us know! 

[News] Small Businesses Slow to Adopt Social Customer Service

Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:

[Customer Service News] Survey Says few Businesses Employ Social Customer Service

News Source: Roundpeg

A recent study from marketing strategy agency Roundpeg shows that few small businesses are using social media to field customer service requests. 66% of surveyed B2C businesses said they rely on social media to stay in touch with customers, but less than 20% are using social channels to resolve customer service inquiries.

B2B respondents were slightly more inclined to provide social customer service (29%), but generally spend less time on social engaging with customers than B2C companies.

Key Takeaway: Consumers are turning to social media to voice questions, complaints, and suggestions to companies of all sizes, but the majority of small businesses aren’t contributing to the conversation. Don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity to connect with clients and resolve issues more quickly. Even if you only have time to check your social accounts once a day, you can have a positive impact on individual customers and your social followers by responding promptly and helpfully to inquiries.

[Mobile News] U.S. Local Mobile Search Outpaces Global Markets

News Source: Street Fight Mag

According to recent research culled by Bonial International Group, the U.S. is still the clear leader in the local mobile search space, but international markets are starting to catch up.

60% of all search traffic in the US comes from mobile devices, and that percentage is expected to keep growing as smartphone sales increase year over year. Data from BIA/Kelsey also showed that 40% of mobile searches in 2012 were local. By 2016, analysts project that local mobile searches will surpass local desktop searches by 27 billion queries per year. That’s a lot of searches!

While the U.S. is the frontrunner in local mobile search right now, other countries are also starting to see rapid growth. Brazil almost doubled their mobile search traffic between 2012 and 2013; Germany mobile adoption is at 48%, with France and Russia both clocking in at 37%. Local mobile search has taken off in Russia particularly, growing from 7.6% of mobile searches in 2012 to 27.72% as of February 2014.

Key Takeaway: Local mobile search isn’t just a passing fad—it’s becoming the new standard way of finding local businesses, especially in the U.S. where smartphone adoption is high. All the more reason for small businesses to make sure their websites, online listings, menus, and product & service lists are accessible and easy to read on mobile devices.

Need help? Find out how SinglePlatform can optimize your product and service content for mobile!

[Restaurant News] Yelp Launches Proprietary Reservation System

News Source: Tech Crunch

Last week, Yelp announced the launch of a new free Reservations service based on technology from SeatMe, the OpenTable competitor it acquired in 2013.

Any restaurant that has claimed its Yelp profile page can now use Reservations to take bookings on the review site—all for no fee. SeatMe’s integrated (and more sophisticated) booking service used on restaurant websites will remain $99 a month.

Key Takeaway: Adding bookings to its local listings is a natural next step for Yelp as the company strives to keep up with competitors like OpenTable and Google. Providing a way for consumers to close the loop by making a reservation will benefit both customers and restaurants. It’ll also help Yelp by increasing its visitors’ time on site and boosting internal advertising and marketing revenue.

Will you be trying Yelp Reservations for your business? Leave a comment and let us know! 

[News] Google Acquires Restaurant Website Builder

Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:

[Website News] Google Acquires Restaurant Website Builder Appetas

News Source: Tech Crunch

This week, Google announced its acquisition of Appetas, a website building service designed for local businesses in the food industry. Restaurants can easily create sites and integrate booking services through OpenTable and ordering services from GrubHub.

Appetas was founded in 2012 in Seattle. The service has distinguished itself from other website companies by creating up-front partnerships with service providers who can help their customers close the loop with consumers online (e.g., help them make a purchase).

As part of the acquisition, Google will be shutting down Appetas’s service and transitioning customers over to a new website solution.

Key Takeaway: It’s uncertain whether Google plans to integrate Appetas’ technology with Google Sites or use it in conjunction with Search and other offerings, but its acquisition makes sense from a competitive standpoint. Yelp, Google’s biggest challenger in the local search space, has recently integrated third party services such as reservations, ordering, and deals into their business listings pages, putting pressure on Google to find a way for viewers to take additional steps when searching for local businesses online.

[Mobile App News] Foursquare to Launch New Social App Swarm

News Source: Street Fight

Foursquare recently announced that they will be migrating their check-ins and social networking functionality to a new app called Swarm. The main Foursquare app will remain as a separate local business discovery and recommendation engine.

Foursquare’s decision is based on internal research showing that users who like to check in and users who want to search for local places are not one in the same. With Swarm, social users can share their activity with their friends without annoying users who just want to discover businesses nearby.

Key Takeaway: This move from Foursquare seems risky at first glance, since splintering their customer base into two segments will likely cause some initial churn. However, creating a new app may be a smart move in the long run. With social recommendations separated out from location-based discovery, Foursquare will be able to improve the quality of activity within Swarm and become more competitive in the local search space with their revamped app. This may also open the door for expansion into sectors outside of dining and entertainment, the traditional focus of Foursquare’s users.

[Advertising News] Facebook Announces Advertising ‘Boot Camp’ For Smaller Advertisers

News Source: Mashable

This summer, Facebook will be running a new boot camp tour called Facebook Fit. This event series is designed to help small and medium-sized businesses succeed at Facebook advertising.

Leaders from Facebook, Intuit, LegalZoom, and Square will speak about small business marketing, legal issues, and finance management during the event. Undoubtedly, Facebook will also have sessions dedicated to its advertising platform and how to make the most of its tools and reporting to boost success.

Boot camps will be held in New York, Miami, Chicago, Austin, and Silicon Valley, and are expected to have between 500 and 700 attendees each.

Key Takeaway: Facebook knows that the best way to increase usage of its services is to educate its audience on how it works and why it’s valuable. If you’re new to Facebook advertising or curious to learn more, you may want to check out one of the boot camps in your area. If not, you can still take a page out of Facebook’s book and consider what you can do to educate your customers on the value of your business.

Other news catch your eye this week? Leave a comment and let us know! 

[News] 80% of Mobile Searches for Local Businesses Result in a Purchase

Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:

[Mobile News] Study Reveals 80% of Mobile Searches for Local Businesses Result in Purchase

News Source: Street Fight

A new report from Neustar Localeze and 15miles indicates that consumers are increasingly turning to mobile to find local businesses when they’re ready to make a purchase. The key metrics include:

  • 79% of smartphone owners and 81% of tablet owners use their devices to search for information on local businesses.
  • 80% of those mobile searches for local businesses result in a purchase, 75% occurring at a physical storefront.
  • Only 50% of consumers are satisfied with the mobile search experience for local businesses.
  • Survey participants noted that information around products & services tends to be lacking or hard to find on mobile. They also noted that accurate hours of operation are a key piece of information they look for when making a purchase decision.

Key Takeaway: It’s never been more crucial to make sure your business location, hours of operation, and products & services are easy for consumers to access on mobile. Did you know that SinglePlatform provides a mobile-optimized website that includes all of this content in one easy-to-read page? Find out more about how our service could benefit your business.

[Hiring News] Report: Businesses with More Women Perform Better

News Source: Mashable

The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology recently released a new paper entitled The Case for Investing in Women. This paper pulls together statistics from a variety disciplines to make the case that hiring more women contributes to an overall better working environment. A few key facts from the study:

  • Fortune 500 companies with 3 or more female directors have a 66% higher return on investment and a 42% higher return on sales.
  • International studies across a variety of industries found that teams with more women have greater psychological safety, group experimentation, and team confidence and efficiency.
  • Teams with at least one female member have a higher collective IQ than teams of just men.

Key Takeaway: Many studies, this one included, have proven that more diversity leads to more creative teams, which in turn leads to better businesses. When considering new hires, make sure to look for not just a particular skill set, but also someone who can bring a unique perspective to your day-to-day operations.

[Social Media News] Research Helps Businesses Identify the Best Networks for Social Marketing

News Source: Social Media Examiner

This week, Social Media Examiner shared a compilation of social media research findings around trends in user and brand behaviors across networks. Their four key findings were:

  1. Users spend more time on visual networks like Facebook (6:33 hours per visitor per month), Tumblr (1:38 hours per visitor per month), and Pinterest (1:17 hours per visitor per month).
  2. While Google+ is not a high priority in terms of audience engagement for most marketers, the social network is becoming valuable as a SEO tool.
  3. Facebook’s News Feed algorithm changes in January are motivating marketers to mix up their content with photos, videos, links, questions, and offers in order to reach their followers.
  4. B2B marketers are finding the most success on LinkedIn.

Key Takeaway: These findings reinforce industry trends that have been percolating for awhile now. Visual marketing has become an essential piece of the overall marketing puzzle for businesses across the board, and taking advantage of less enticing social networks such as Google+ and LinkedIn is paying off for businesses as well. If you’ve been hesitant to take risks in your small business social marketing, now is the time to get out there and try new things!

[News] Mobile to Drive 50% of Google Ad Clicks by 2015

Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:

[Advertising News] Mobile to Drive 50% of Google Ad Clicks by 2015

Source: Search Engine Land

A new report from Marin Software projects that Google’s mobile search advertising revenue will increase 30% over the next 3 years, rising from 19%of its total ad revenue in 2013 to 50% by the end of 2015. Last year, paid search clicks from mobile devices almost doubled between January and December, indicating a big shift in consumer behavior toward mobile search.

The report also projected that mobile budget share will rise to more than 1/3 of paid search budgets by the end of 2014 as mobile begins to overtake desktop as the dominant search marketing channel.

While cost-per-click (CPC) remained lower for mobile advertising than desktop in 2013, it rose 20.8% over the course of the year. Conversion rates are still lower on smartphones (4.4%) than desktops (5.3%) or tablets (5.5%), but that percentage is increasing at a higher rate than desktop: Smartphone conversions grew 57.1% year-over-year and tablets grew 66.7% compared to 35.9% growth on desktops.

Key Takeaway: Consumers are increasingly turning to to mobile to perform searches, and advertising behaviors are shifting as a result. If you’re planning to run paid search campaigns in the future, you would be wise to include mobile searches in your ad plan; otherwise, you may be missing out on a valuable consumer segment that tends to act more quickly on searches than desktop users.

[Social Media] Sevenly Wins Most Social Small Business Award

News Source: Mashable

Media news site Mashable recently ran a contest to select America’s Most Social Business in America. Out of 32 socially-savvy small businesses, they deemed cause-oriented apparel company Sevenly to be the winner.

Sevenly took the top title based on a number of factors, including:

  • Activity on social: The company maintains active accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr.
  • Audience involvement: Sevenly has involved customers in its brands processes from the beginning, creating a culture of transparency that has remained during the brand’s growth.
  • Company mission: From day 1, Sevenly has made social causes a part of their company mission. They’ve been able to share with customers on social the impact that their $3 million of donations have had on over 1 million people around the world. Inspiring stuff!
  • Community building: The brand hasn’t just built a community of fans—they’ve been able to curate a global community of followers who believe in their mantra, “People Matter”.

Key Takeaway: Sevenly’s story reminds us that social success isn’t about selling a product, or about growing your follower base just to add numbers. Great companies bring like-minded people together around a shared interest or cause, and help them engage in meaningful conversations. 

[Technology News] Mobile Devices Help Brick & Mortar Stores Bridge the Customer Data Gap 

Source: The Next Web

Small businesses know that certain in-store techniques such as promotions, events, and free samples drive sales. To date, it’s been difficult to quantify the impact of these offline tactics. However, a new study from Millward Brown predicts that “the notion of online and offline marketing will cease to be meaningful in 2014.”

Mobile devices are contributing to 3 improvements that will help small businesses bridge the gap between offline actions and online data, making it easier to improve in-store experience and drive repeat business:

1. Real-time feedback: Apps such as OwnerListens allow customers to provide in-store comments to business owners so that problems can be addressed immediately. This prevents irritated consumers from posting negative reviews later on or missing out on valuable feedback that can help improve operations instantaneously.

2. Cross-platform connections: Mobile device usage will allow small business owners to sync up offline behaviors and online behaviors, gleaning new trends about what their customers want.

3. Profit maximization: POS systems like ShopKeep allow businesses to track consumer behaviors and preferences as they happen so that staff members can make on-the-fly recommendations that will increase profits.

Key Takeaway: Figuring out what motivates customers and what they like and dislike is a challenge, especially offline. Mobile devices are primed to help small businesses bridge the gap so that they have a clear understanding of consumer behavior both online and in person. This will help business owners adapt more quickly to meet their customers’ needs and make better use of real-time tactics and recommendations that contribute to increased profits.

Other news catch your eye this week? Leave a comment and let us know! 

5 Ways to Market Your Small Business on Mobile

Mobile marketing is on the rise for businesses of all shapes and sizes, and it’s primed to take off in a big way for SMBs in 2014. Consumers are more and more frequently turning to mobile devices to search for local businesses—which means that small business marketing spending and efforts should shift accordingly. Here are a few ways you can market your business on mobile and reach new customers in 2014:

1. Host a Mobile Site or App

The easiest way to help consumers find your business on mobile is to have a mobile-friendly website or dedicated app. Your goal should be to provide the information that mobile users are looking for in a format that loads quickly and is easy to read on a small screen.

2. Text / SMS Marketing

Reaching customers by text or SMS is an effective way to deliver just-in-time messages on a periodic basis (once or twice a month is usually the most that consumers can handle). Create a sign-up list either in your store or online, and make sure to sweeten the deal with exclusive offers, discounts, and tips to incentivize participation.

3. Mobile Search Advertising

Just as there are many paid search options for desktop advertising, there are also an array of mobile paid search options. From text ads to location-based ads to click-to-call ads, you have a variety of formats to choose from when it comes to mobile search campaigns. Given that 75% of mobile searches are conducted to obtain location-based information, advertising on mobile is a great option to consider for your small business.

4. Mobile-Friendly Business Listings

Having a mobile-friendly website or app is important, but it’s also vital to make sure your business listings are mobile-friendly as well. If you haven’t already, be sure to claim your listings on the mobile apps where consumers are performing local searches for your industry, and include a mobile-friendly version of your menu or list of products and services so consumers can find the information they need to make a purchase decision.

5. Mobile Social Media Advertising

More than half of consumers are turning to mobile devices to access social networks these days. Running mobile-specific ads on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and other platforms will get your business in front of local consumers as they network on mobile. Retargeting and location-based messaging capabilities on social networks makes these ad formats especially appealing for small businesses.

The Bottom Line

Consumers will be relying on mobile more than ever in 2014. Make sure to meet local patrons where they’re at as you market your products and services in the new year.