17 Mobile Engagement Tips Essential for Small Business Success
For your small business to succeed (today and moving forward), you’ll have to connect with mobile consumers on mobile devices. I’ll show you how to do that.
I’ll explain what it means to be mobile, and why it matters. I’ll also share 17 mobile engagement tips from succeeding small businesses that are essential to your own success. Ready?
What does it mean for a business to “be mobile”?
Being “mobile” means people like you and me can get the same jobs done, and have the same online experiences, regardless of our physical location. We can access everything - finances, work, friends, anything connected to the internet - from the smartphone in our hand.
Being “mobile” means people like you and me can get the same jobs done, and have the same online experiences, regardless of our physical location.
For a business, “being mobile” means providing these options. It means being easy to find and interact with online, and being available to consumers whenever (and wherever) they might need you.
Do this well, and engagement will skyrocket. Your bottom line will, too.
Why is being mobile essential to small business success?
- 77% of U.S. internet consumption comes from mobile devices
- 60% of U.S. Google searches come from mobile devices
- 41% of total retail revenue comes from mobile devices
- 72% of local mobile searches lead to in-store visits
- 60% of people make purchases through mobile devices
- 18% of local mobile searches lead to in-store purchases
- 55% of email opens come from mobile devices
- 66% of social media consumption comes from mobile apps
- 79% of Yelp review searches come from mobile devices
- 82% of American adults own a smartphone
Your customers use mobile devices for all matters of life and work. To compete (and succeed), mobile engagement is essential.
17 Mobile Engagement Tips Essential for Small Business Success
The first five tips are necessary to survive online. The next 12 will help you thrive (and beat your competition).
1. Optimize for mobile from the beginning.
Web designers have traditionally focused on making sites mobile responsive. I.e. they’ve designed sites around the desktop user experience, and then shifted things slightly to fit mobile screens.
This made sense, because most people would find your website from a desktop, while a minority would find you on a mobile device. Now that’s flipped, and consumers’ expectations have changed accordingly. So have Google’s search algorithms.
Most people are now searching from mobile devices, so you need to think mobile first. What website design, layout, navigation, etc. will be easier and more enjoyable for mobile viewers?
Action Step: Review your mobile website using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test for pointers. When you redesign or update your website, focus on the mobile experience first, before thinking about desktop users. Also, use the tips below to improve your website's mobile engagement.
2. List your business on top platforms.
Top platforms bring in the most viewers and add clout to businesses listed on them. They’re also where people go to compare options and read reviews. They include:
- Google My Business (and Maps)
- Bing Places
- And Capterra, among others.
There are dozens of large platforms where you can list your business. How do you know which ones to use?
Search for “top business listings” or “[industry] + business listing” or “[location] + business listing” to find good options. Then create a profile on each of the top results. These listings will give you high quality backlinks, make it easier for people to find you, and build your reputation with little effort.
Action Step: List your business on top platforms, like those mentioned above, to drive search and mobile engagement. For more details, read below and view our guide: 5 Tips to Boost Local SEO as a Small Business.
3. Use mobile friendly email templates.
Emails are a big part of customer communications. About 55% of email opens come from mobile devices, so your templates need to mobile friendly. How do you do that? Lindsey Havens of PhishLabs points out the easiest way:
[MailChimp] offers mobile friendly email templates that allow users to create a great looking email on any device. Users can choose from professionally designed templates, or choose to design their own. It takes the work out of formatting mobile emails correctly, and allows you to focus on the message instead.
Any major email service provider should offer mobile templates. Use them.
Action Step: Before you send an email to customers, ensure you’re using a mobile friendly template. Send a test email to yourself and check it from your phone. How does it look?
4. Make your website extremely fast.
If people leave before your website loads, you have zero chance to engage with them. But there’s good news. Studies show, every one second improvement in page speed can increase conversions by as much as 20% or more! Speed up your website, and you’ll improve mobile engagement.
Action Step: Run your site through Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom’s Website Speed Test. Follow their recommendations. For publishers and bloggers, look into AMP pages. For more details, view this guide: 20 Ways to Speed Up Your Website and Improve Conversions.
5. Use copy to get right to the point.
The average mobile viewer spends 10-15 seconds on a page, which doesn’t give you much time to get your point across. So cut the fluff. Ask yourself: What’s our value proposition on each page, and how can we convey that more succinctly?
As Monika Jansen, CEO of Jansen Communications, says:
My top advice: Get right to the point. Focus on what your target market cares about, and use short sentences and paragraphs.
Visuals help, too. Icons, images, videos, charts, and more can speak for you, so you can use fewer words to keep viewers more engaged.
Action Step: Review each page of your website (particularly your five most visited pages). Ask yourself: What do our targets care about when they get to this page? How can we provide that more quickly and clearly? Then do it.
6. Use autofill on forms.
Most Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996, according to Pew Research Center) admit to not purchasing from their phone, because they didn’t want to get up to grab their wallet. Call it finicky if you want, but it’s kept you from getting a sale (or lead, or client).
Every additional step viewers have to take is a barrier to your small business’s success. What can you do about it?
Every additional step viewers have to take is a barrier to your small business’s success.
One good option is autofill for your forms. Personal and billing information can be entered instantly, with fewer barriers. It speeds up the purchase process, and makes it easier for people to contact you. Here’s what Anna Crow of Firesnap has to say about it:
Review your check out process or contact page. We’ve started using auto-fill for our contact forms on mobile for some of our clients, and we’ve seen a 20% increase in contacts in six short months.
That’s quite an impact!
7. Create mobile optimized niche landing pages.
When your pages are more relevant and helpful to your targets’ searches, search engines will reward you with more traffic.
For example, a landing page for “dry cleaner in Buckhead” is more relevant and helpful to searchers in that neighborhood than a page for “dry cleaners in Atlanta,” and will likely get more traffic.
Likewise, a landing page for “healthcare staffing in Chattanooga” is more relevant and helpful than one for “staffing agency.” By being more relevant and helpful, you'll rank higher and earn exponentially more traffic.
You need niche landing pages, and those pages have got be mobile optimized. Google now uses mobile first indexing, meaning they rank pages based on mobile performance instead of desktop performance.
If your landing pages are specific and mobile optimized, you’ll rank higher and engage more viewers. If not, you'll suffer.
As Lian Brooks of Digital Uncut says:
To really boost your engagement at the search level, it’s essential that you create mobile optimized landing pages that target more concise, local keywords. You don’t use your phone the same way you use your desktop, so it’s important [for local small businesses] to cater to briefer searches that focus on local areas.
People aren’t just searching for options in a specific area, though. They’re also searching for industry specific solutions, like “digital marketing agency for accountants” or “payment processor for SaaS companies,” or even “best high interest savings account.”
In all cases, specific landing pages that are tailored for mobile devices will help you rank higher and engage more people for longer.
Action Step: Determine what your target customers are searching for and need. Then create specific, mobile optimized landing pages for each of those searches and needs.
8. Take advantage of Adwords and Bing Ads sitelink extensions.
When you search for a company like Amazon, you’ll see their main website and then a few categories or menu options beneath it. These are called sitelinks.
You can also add these sitelinks to your PPC search ads. Here’s what lawyer Chris Earley has to say about the option:
My Adwords and Bing pay per click campaigns have been most successful for capturing mobile traffic. By using all available ad sitelink extensions on both platforms, we have seen a steep uptick in mobile conversions. More sitelinks equals more search engine results ad space, which is absolutely golden digital real estate.
Mobile screens aren’t that big. Sitelinks give viewers more specific options to find what they need, and give your business more ad space.
Action Step: If you’re using search ads, pick the top four pages of your website that you want viewers to see. Good options normally include a free trial, pricing, contact, or niche landing page. Follow these guides to set up sitelinks: Adwords Sitelinks; Bing Sitelinks.
9. Optimize (reduce) your images.
Remember that more than half of mobile pages that take longer than three seconds to load are abandoned. People leave before your site even loads! An easy way to speed up your site (and keep mobile viewers around) is to optimize your images.
There are two ways: compressing (removing fluff data from the image), and shrinking (narrowing the image dimensions). There are countless free tools online to do either. The goal is to get rid of everything unnecessary, so the image and page load faster.
Adam Watson of Hollywood Mirrors explains:
The best and easiest way to [improve page speed] is to compress your image sizes by 70% without reducing the quality of it to the human eye. There are many online apps that do this automatically in seconds.
10. Use Google My Business’ messaging option.
Google handles billions local searches every day. To get more mobile engagement, use the messaging option available to all Google business listings.
Whether people are searching on Maps or in the standard Google results, this adds a Click-to-Text button to your business listing. Viewers click a message icon to open a text addressed to your business.
9/10 consumers say they want to message a business. This makes it easy for them to message you straight from Google.
Action Step: View our guide: How to Add Text Messaging to Your Google My Business Listing.
11. Dig deep into social platforms.
You might’ve heard that social media is important for business, or that 2/3 of social media usage comes from mobile devices. Both are true, but you’ll only get tangible results by diving deep into a platform.
Listen to Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com:
We use Facebook to post status updates, [private message] with our customers one-on-one, utilize Facebook advertising, and film videos with Facebook live for a glimpse into our company culture.
We participate in weekly small business Twitter chats, and have even hosted a few of our own to build rapport with other entrepreneurs. On Instagram, we share images from around our office, news about partnerships, articles we’ve written for major media outlets, or press hits we’ve been featured in.
In other words, Deborah and the gang are diving deep into each platform. They aren’t just sharing the latest blog posts, they’re getting involved in a community on each platform (and building relationships).
Action Step: Follow the steps in our guide: How to Drive Traffic to Your Website Through Social Media.
They aren’t just sharing the latest blog posts, they’re getting involved in a community on each platform.
12. Send SMS appointment confirmations and reminders.
If appointments make money for your business, then you need to set and keep more appointments to grow. But how?
99% of texts are read, and they have a 90-second average response time. Plus - with many text services - if your customer can’t make the appointment, they can reply to reschedule. Dr. Alex Roher of San Diego Botox explains:
The most valuable aspect of our mobile strategy is our SMS reminders. We use SMS to remind patients that it has been three months since their last appointment. They reply, and book a new appointment quickly and easily over SMS.
Because of our SMS reminders, our no-show rate is well under 10% (the industry average is about 20%). No shows are lost money you never recover. We also offer specials via SMS from time to time.
Whether you’re with a medical office, handyman service, or any other business that functions on appointments, SMS confirmations and reminders will lead to more kept appointments.
Sidebar: You can easily schedule and confirm appointments with Text Request using your current business number. View our homepage for more details.
Action Step: Create a process for sending and handling texts for appointments. Then start sending SMS reminders. If you need a text service to do this, contact us.
13. Target keywords people actually speak.
Over the years, Google has moved from focusing on specific keywords to more casual (or colloquial) ways of saying the same thing. There are three big reasons why.
First, Google wants to discourage keyword stuffing, and encourage contextually helpful information.
Second, people sometimes mean the same thing even though they use different words to say it. For example, one person might search for “how to put together a blogging strategy” while another searches for “content marketing strategy.” Google would want to show them similar results.
Third, mobile voice search is being used more frequently, so algorithms are accounting for how people speak. As Chetan Saxena of ISHIR points out:
With voice search becoming increasingly popular, the keyword patterns have been changing rapidly, getting longer and more specific.
Action Step: Create content and optimize your landing pages using search terms you might hear one of your customers use. How would they say it?
View this guide to learn more about long-tail keywords: A Step-by-Step Guide to Integrating Long-Tail Keywords Within Blog Posts. And type your keywords into AnswerThePublic for helpful title suggestions.
14. Add your Google Maps location to your website.
18% of local searches result in in-store visits. If you work with people in a specific area, you can help everyone out by adding an interactive Google map to your website. As Jesus Meca of Real Focus Marketing notes:
This helps with credibility, and makes it easier for people to find you.
How does it help? All viewers have to do is tap their screen to open directions to your business from their current location. It’s easy for viewers, gives them a reason to engage with your site, and helps you get more customers.
Action Step: Make sure your Google My Business listing is setup properly. Then view this guide to add your map to your website: Google Maps: Embed a Map or Share a Location, or use EmbedGoogleMap.net.
15. Scrutinize your most bounced pages.
Your website needs to do two things:
- Keep people interested
- And get those viewers to take a next step
Start by analyzing your pages’ bounce rates. These rates show the percentage of users who came to your website and left without viewing another page. Depending on your business, your bounce rate should be between 30%-60% for new users. To improve, try:
- Speeding up your website
- Placing a call-to-action above the fold (or slightly beneath it)
- Providing a next step (CTA) at the bottom of the page
- Removing any popups
- Answering “If I’d never heard of this business before, and I made it to this page, what would I do next?”
The goal is to give viewers what they want so that they’re satisfied with what’s on the page, and want to take another step (learn more, purchase, etc.). The trick is to figure out what you’re missing, which will likely take trial and error.
PC: ITX Design
Action Step: Take your top 10 pages getting the most traffic. Apply the tips above to improve mobile engagement and lower your bounce rates. Give it two-four weeks, and reassess. For more details, view this guide: 13 Ways to Reduce Bounce Rate and Increase Your Conversions.
16. Get into video content.
51% of marketing professionals worldwide say video content has the best ROI. Over half of video content is viewed on mobile. So if you want to increase mobile engagement (and revenue), video content is the way to go.
Nathan Labenz, CEO of Waymark, explains:
The #1 key we see to success on mobile is video content. Given the choice between reading a block of text or viewing a video, people consistently choose video - especially on mobile. The direct result is that website visitors stay longer, return more often, and buy more.
You get a lot of options with video, too. You could have explainer videos made, like the one below. These can cost a few hundred bucks to several thousand, depending on length, style, and quality.
You can create selfie-style videos like those used in most Instagram stories. You can use a webcam, like we use throughout our Queuniversity. Or you can get a good quality camera, mic, and lighting kit to film your own professional videos in house.
Action Step: View this guide to getting started with video content: How to Get Started with Video Marketing in 6 Simple Steps. Then start shooting videos!
At the very least, you can record yourself talking with your smartphone, and upload that to a few social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
17. Add message extensions to your Adwords ads.
Adwords lets you add calls-to-action to your ads, called “extensions.” They can help your mobile ads take up more space, and give viewers incentive to engage with your ads.
My favorite is the message extension, which adds a Click-to-Text feature to your ad. Viewers click it to send a text message to your business straight from the ad (which is great for generating leads).
Your CTA can say, for example, “Text SPRING for your discount code” With Text Request Keywords, you can automatically reply with discount codes and drive sales.
You can also prompt people to schedule appointments, ask for quotes, or any other reason someone might reach out to you.
Action Step: View our guide: How to Add Text Messaging to Your Google Adwords Ads.
So, what should you do next?
Make sure you understand why mobile engagement matters for your business’s future success. Then check that you’ve got the basics (tips #1-#5) taken care of.
Next, implement each of these mobile engagement tips one at a time. Get comfortable with one, then add another, and so on. Don’t forget to keep a close eye on your website page speed and SEO (Google rankings). Things change constantly, and I don’t want you to get left behind.