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5 Tips to Drive Mobile Engagement Through the Roof

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How many times have you ditched your laptop in favor of your mobile phone? You aren't alone! Long gone are the days of lugging out a PC for a quick Google search.

In fact, 70% of internet traffic now comes from mobile devices, which is why mobile advertising is expected to represent 72% of all U.S. digital ad spending by 2019.

But what does this mean for your business?

It means you need to do a few things:

  • You need to think of the mobile user and mobile online experience first
  • Bring more mobile viewers to your website
  • Keep those mobile viewers around for longer (more engaged)
  • And get them to reach out - or buy

How do you do all of that? It's not too difficult. I'm going to show you how with these five tips to drive mobile engagement through the roof! Let's dig in.

5 Ways to Substantially Increase Mobile User Engagement

1. Make your site mobile-friendly.

If you want to boost mobile engagement on your website, it needs to be mobile-friendly. In other words, your website needs to play nicely with mobile devices.

Sounds obvious, right? But what exactly does it mean?

It means your site needs to be easy to find and easy to interact with on phones. The video from Custard below helps explain.

Making it easy is for mobile visitors to interact your site is crucial. If it’s not, then visitors are going to have a bad time and leave your site. That hurts everyone.

Plus, Google now runs on a mobile-first index. Google determines where to rank you based on the mobile version of your site, rather than the desktop version.

Luckily for you, making your site mobile-friendly isn’t as complicated as you might think - especially if you use a responsive theme (on WordPress, Magento, Squarespace, Wix, and even Blogspot). These automatically adjust based on the device your site is being viewed on, like the Food Sense website:

FoodSense Responsive Website Example

You can earn more mobile visitors, and more engagement from those visitors, by making your website mobile-friendly with a responsive theme. For more details, view this guide: How to Make a Website Mobile Friendly.

2. Focus on easy-to-use website features.

No matter how big your mobile phone screen is (even if you’re an iPhone 7 Plus user, like me!), you’ll need to take your business’s mobile-friendly website a step further by including easy-to-use features.

It’s important to remember that fingers are much larger than PC mice. That can make small buttons difficult to click. Small text can also make your site difficult to read, and ruin the user experience by forcing mobile visitors to zoom in.

Most of the time they won't zoom in or struggle to click a button - they'll just leave your site. That's not good!

The easiest way to solve this problem is to use large buttons and a large font size, like in the image below.

Mobile Responsive Website Example

PC: SearchEngineJournal

You also want to make sure any images or videos on your site fit the full width of a mobile device. Here's a quick guide to help you do that (if your site theme doesn't automatically do it for you): Flexible Images and Media

When adding these extra touches to your website, there’s one thing to remember: Each element should have enough space

You don't want someone accidentally clicking a different button just because it's too close the what they are trying to click. This is particularly important for eCommerce websites, and for:

While you're at it, avoid hover effects. Unlike desktop users, who can hover a mouse over a button to see an effect, mobile visitors just have a click. Adding hover effects to mobile can frustrate and confuse viewers. You don't want that!

3. Add captions to your online videos.

Videos are great for your website and social media - especially considering 78% of marketers say video gives them a good ROI. But if you want to drive mobile engagement through the roof, your videos need captions.

Think about it. How many times have you scrolled past a video because you didn't want to turn on the sound?

Adding captions and disabling autoplay helps a lot. It gives viewers the choice to watch your video without worrying about sound, which helps you increase engagement (and probably sales).

The simplest way to do this is to upload your video to YouTube and enable captions using this guide. Play the video below and click the CC icon for an example.

Keep in mind, adding captions to Facebook videos brings an immediate 14% increase in engagement. Imagine how many people would visit your site and buy from you with that kind of mobile engagement boost!

Related: How to Start Advertising on Facebook (and Actually Make Money)

4. Optimize your site (and social media profiles) for local searches.

Did you know that 50% of local mobile searches lead to same day in-store visits?

Combine that with the fact that 78% of local mobile searches result in offline purchases, and you’ll find a huge chunk of people nearby are ready to find you through their mobile phones.

You can capture these people, and bring them to your website, by creating a local landing page for each area you work in - like Catseye Pest Control’s local landing page, which ranks on page one for “pest control Boston."

Local Landing Page Rankings

You might be thinking “Elise, how do I create one of these pages?” Here’s your answer:

  1. Find a long-tail local keyword to optimize the page for (like "car repair Brooklyn")
  2. Use on-page SEO tactics to help the page to rank locally, adding the keyword to your URL, heading tags, meta title and description, and on-site content.
  3. Build backlinks to your local landing page from other location-relevant websites (such as local directories).

It’s really that simple!

5. Enable click-to-contact buttons.

A fantastic way to capture and engage local searchers is to enable click-to-contact buttons.

Acting as normal buttons on your website, these links have prefixes to do actions straight from a mobile phone, when clicked. For example:

  • “Tel:” to make a phone call, e.g. tel:14232180111
  • “Mailto:” to send an email, e.g. mailto:info@textrequest.com
  • “SMS:” to send a text message, e.g. sms:14232180111

But why do these click to contact buttons help improve mobile engagement on your website?

The simple reason is they encourage the one-on-one connections that many small businesses need to make a sale. Engaging your audience with a real person, rather than just a website, also helps with personalization - a factor proven to boost sales.

Plus, 93 billion click-to-call button clicks in 2015 resulted in $1 trillion in revenue, proving it to be a great way to encourage personal connections with a mobile visitor.

Although click-to-call features are more popular in certain industries, it still helps to engage with customers - and to get their details for future marketing - no matter what type of product or service you’re promoting through your website.

Click-to-Call Stats

PC: Local Search Masters

Here’s a fantastic example of how The Home Depot uses click-to-contact buttons to encourage customers to call their local store:

Home Depot Buttons

(Don’t forget about your large, easy to click buttons when using these feature.)

Final Thoughts on Boosting Mobile Engagement

I'm confident that by following these five tips, you'll drive mobile engagement through the roof (and conversions, too!).

However, when optimizing your site for mobile, there’s one thing to remember: Always do your own tests.

After implementing these design tips on your site, don’t rely on a desktop version to double-check everything is working. Instead, visit the site from various mobile devices (using your co-workers’ cell phones, if possible!) to spot any problems that could have the opposite effect.

Related: 17 Mobile Engagement Tips Essential for Small Business Success