Is Your Brick-and-Mortar Small Business Mobile Local? 7 Steps To Take Now

Is Your Small Business Mobile Local?

If you have a brick-and-mortar small business that sells products or services to local consumers, I have two questions for you…How large is your local footprint? How aggressively mobile are your customers?

Chances are good that your customers and prospects are already using their Smartphones and Tablets to conduct local searches. In fact, three out of five consumers already use a mobile phone to search for local businesses now. By 2016, mobile local searches will overtake desktop local searches.

Consumers' Local Search BehaviorIn May 2014, Google published a report called Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behavior. In it are nuggets of great information including how consumers conduct searches based on their location and proximity, the numbers of consumers who take action after conducting a local search, and how important location information—product availability, business address and directions—are for consumers. Check out these statistics in the inforgraph to the left.

Numbers and statistics are great. But, how do you get a piece of the action? Right?

Benefits to being mobile local include improved brand awareness, lead quality, and lift over traditional search programs.

Here are seven steps you can take now to take your small business store to the mobile local level.

 

 

How To Go Mobile Local: 7 Steps to Take

Take Your Website Mobile. A report by BaseKit released in April 2014 revealed a surprising 91% of small business websites are not optimized for mobile use. Not only will a mobile-friendly website help your online results, Google is now sending emails to webmasters who haven’t updated to mobile yet….which could be a sign that Google is planning a new mobile ranking algorithm.  Google offers a Mobile-Friendly Test if you’re not sure about the mobile status of your website. Responsive design, which detects a visitor’s screen size and orientation and changes the layout accordingly, is recommended.

Get Google My Business. Google My Business replaced Google Places and is great for improving your local visibility. It puts your business information on Search, Maps and Google+. It will help improve your search engine page ranking and put you on Google Maps.

Optimize Location-Specific Content. Does your website content contain location-specific content? What location keywords have you used? Location-specific content is usually found on the Contact Us page of websites. But, it’s important to optimize other website content with location keywords and information.

Optimize Local Listings. How visible is your business on local listings? How accurate is that information? Local SEO is about both visibility and accuracy. This means making sure your listing on Yelp, Yahoo, Bing, Foursquare, MapQuest, etc. is accurately maintained. Optimizing local listings takes this a step further by adding content, hours of operation, promotions, images, videos, price menus and more based on your customers’ needs and expectations.

Go Local With Ads. Consumers want to know if you have the product and where you’re located. Ensure that product availability, address and directions appear in your ads across venues.

Gather Customer Reviews.  Eighty eight percent (88%) of consumers trust online reviews. This is huge. Having customer reviews on your website and/or on your Google+ page

Be Consistent and Maintain Presence as Mobile Local. Search engine optimization of your website and local listings is not a one-and-done step. It requires consistency of local information across online venues and ongoing maintenance to ensure that information and keywords reflect what your customers want and look for.

Need help going mobile local? Misaki Digital Marketing can help. Contact me today.

 

How Good Is Your Customer and Prospect Email List? Why Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law Makes Sense

E mailThanks to the Internet, connecting with customers and prospects has gotten somewhat easier. For my clients, all of whom are located in the United States, email marketing is a viable vehicle for reaching those customers and prospects. Since the US Federal government enacted the CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) Act of 2003, most businesses comply with an opt-out option when sending emails.

Our neighbor to the north has taken a new and more strict approach. Yep. Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL), which took effect in July, requires implied (information published in plain sight, given to the business, through an existing business or non-business relationship) and express consent (contact clearly agreed) for any business to send electronic information to their contacts.  Basically, you need contacts to opt-in to receive emails.

Third Party Email Lists Can Be Too Good to Be True

While the opt-out option is routine today, what Canada has put in place makes some sense. Especially if a business wants to email to credible email addresses.

Buying email lists can send a small business down a slippery slope if you’re not careful. First of all, people who don’t know you or your product/service are harder to sell to and may not want to get an email from your business.

In addition, most email list providers promise good contact information, but purchased lists can be full of out-of-date data.  How well do you know the list seller? Be very selective when purchasing lists and do a test emailing to determine the value of the list.

Bad data usually leads to low deliverability.  This doesn’t just get you bounced emails, it can potentially hurt your email sending reputation. What? Yes. Reputable email service providers monitor email activity and watch for things like properly formatted emails, change in email volume being sent, email bounce rates.  The last thing any business wants is their ISP flagging their account and blocking all email activity.

Build Your Own Email List

Getting emails from people who want to stay connected to your business will give you better email lists, which will give you better deliverability and a better reputation with your service provider…a better scenario all around.

How do you build an email list?  Here are some suggestions.

  1. Add a “Sign-Up for Email” to your website.
  2. Invite new customers to sign up as part of the e-commerce purchasing process.
  3. Ask at trade shows.
  4. Offer email sign up on everything including marketing collateral, invoices, rebate cards, advertisements, direct mail, etc.
  5. Ask when meeting with customers and prospects.
  6. Require an email as part of website visitor downloads and requests.
  7. When a customer or prospect calls you with questions or requests, ask them to join your email list.

Be responsible and respectful and before you know it, that email list will be growing and valuable.