Smartphones, Local Search, and Your Business

Here a Smartphone, There a Smartphone…

Do you ever feel like everyone has a smartphone these days? And that people are constantly staring down at their screens playing games, using the Internet, and checking their e-mail? Well, it’s not quite constant, but the truth is more and more people are choosing smartphones as their primary tool for mobile communication. From iPhones and BlackBerries to the latest Android-platform phones, smartphones are becoming increasingly common in the US. In fact, the Pew Research Center just released a study in February that reports 46% of all adults in America (spanning all sexes and socioeconomic groupings) use a smartphone. And this statistic is up dramatically from the 34% reported in May 2011, a little over a year ago.

Why Business Owners Should Care

As a small business owner, you may not think that the growth in smartphone usage has much to do with you. After all, your company probably isn’t in the business of manufacturing mobile phones. However, the continued growth of smartphone usage in the US is starting to change how people use the Internet—and thus how they might find your company. Check out these statistics:

  • 61% of smartphone users perform local searches from their devices.
  • 49% of smartphone users regularly use search engine apps (e.g. Yelp, Yahoo!, Bing, Google Maps, Citysearch) for local searches.
  • 50% of all local searches are conducted on a mobile device.

In fact, some experts even predict that mobile Internet usage will surpass desktop Internet usage by 2014! Because so many people are now relying on smartphones and tablets to search for local businesses, it’s easy to see how companies without a mobile site are destined to miss out on a large number of prospective customers.

Get Ahead with Mobile Optimization

That’s why mobile optimization is the new “SEO.” Having a fully functional website is crucial to your company’s success, but having an equally functional mobile site is increasingly vital as smartphone usage becomes more and more mainstream. As a result, mobile optimization is becoming a critical part of any online advertising campaign that hopes to be successful. Now, you may be thinking, “What’s the difference? I already have a website, so why can’t people just look at that page on their phone?” Well, they can, but that website is going to display with tiny print, a crowded layout, and difficult navigation that can be a major obstacle. If prospective customers can’t read your site from their device, they’re much more likely to move on to a competitor who does have a mobile site. The difference between regular websites and mobile sites is that the mobile version is simplified and scaled back to allow for easier readability/navigation on a mobile device like a smartphone. With a mobile version of your website, the font will be larger and the navigation more straightforward to make the overall experience easier and better for people who are trying to learn about your company.

The Growing World of Social Media

It’s hard not to notice that social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook seem to be consuming the time and attention of an entire generation. But did you know that young folks aren’t their only users anymore? Each and every day, people of all genders, ages, and backgrounds are turning to social media accounts to stay connected. Social media usage is becoming more and more widespread at the same time smartphones are growing in popularity, with the result being that a large number of people are now utilizing their mobile devices to access social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Why is this significant to your business? Here’s some food for thought: Local business searches performed via social media are up 67% since 2010. And 35% of the people who use social media for local searches do so on a daily basis. So, since more smartphone users are accessing social media through mobile apps, and these same social media outlets are becoming a tool to search for local businesses, you can see how it becomes even more imperative that businesses have a strong presence on these social sites.

Staying One Step Ahead

Here at PG, we’ve offered mobile versions of our sites since way back in 2008, but we’ve just rolled out a new and improved version for all of our clients. These sites feature all of the same vital information included in the full LeadTrax™ site, but with a simpler design that can be easily viewed on any mobile device. As part of your lead generation campaign, we’re also already in the practice of automatically creating a presence for your business on platforms like Twitter and Facebook as well as listing you in online directories such as Yelp, Citysearch, Yahoo!, Bing, and Google Places—all popular search destinations with their own mobile apps. To put it simply, while many business owners are worried about the changing direction of online advertising, PG’s clients have been ahead of this trend for years. Keeping your online advertising campaign at the cutting-edge of local search, we make sure you get the web exposure you need. Learn more about your business’s existing mobile site by contacting your campaign coordinator. Or, if you’re not already a PG client, call us to find out more about how our lead generation program can help maximize your business’s Internet visibility.