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    Holiday Shoppers On the Go: Can They Find Your Business?

    Last updated 4 months ago

    With the number of people who own smartphones and tablets continuously growing, it’s no wonder why mobile marketing is such a valuable tool in a business’ arsenal. So if you don’t already have a mobile strategy, what are you waiting for? These latest mobile stats make the case for using mobile to market your business this holiday season. Take advantage of these trends and tips so you don’t miss out on any more opportunities from consumers using mobile devices to look for, research, and buy from local businesses.

    Mobile Holiday Shopping Trends 

    Consumers Rely on Tablets and Smartphones

    If you don’t already have a mobile-optimized business website, it’s time to factor one in to your marketing budget. That’s because smartphone penetration is at nearly 65% in the U.S., up from 54% only a few months ago. And, today 35% of Americans now own a tablet, up 17% from last year. It’s no secret that consumers are relying on mobile more than ever to access the Internet, but did you also know that 46% of consumers reportedly use a mobile device exclusively when conducting shopping research online? Without a mobile presence, you’re potentially missing out on reaching these consumers.

    Shoppers On the Go Look for Local Information

    You might be saying to yourself: “Consumers are looking to buy from big brands, not my business.” But in fact, nearly one out of three smartphone users and one out of four tablet users use their mobile device specifically for business contact information such as a phone number, address, and map or driving directions. And, 55% of smartphone conversions happened within an hour of a mobile search.

    It doesn’t matter if your business is large or small; if it’s local, consumers are using mobile search to look for it. And what better way to compete with big brands than by making key business information like your phone number, hours, and map location accessible for consumers searching on a mobile device? Make sure your local listings are up to date so consumers searching via Apple Maps or Google Maps can quickly find you and contact you. Then, put all these details front and center on your mobile website. 

    Mobile Searchers Make More Calls

    Recently, Google announced ad extensions including functionality like click-to-call that are now of great importance when it comes to mobile paid search results. According to a Google study, 70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from the search results. While most businesses capture the phone call once the consumer lands on their website, having the ability to call directly from search results could provide an advantage, especially for urgent services. If you do include click-to-call in your mobile search ads, it’s important to take advantage of call tracking and call recording technologies so you can tie any calls you receive back to your search ads.

    Consumers Want Holiday Deals  

    Did you know that 81% of people surveyed rely on discounts from businesses during the holidays? If you’re offering special holiday pricing or seasonal promotions, make sure they’re featured in your mobile advertising and email marketing as well as on your website or landing page. And with the holidays just weeks away, make sure your website is mobile-ready and contains not just your special offers, but other relevant information that consumers may need when making a purchase decision, like product and service details, pricing information, and customer reviews.

    Shoppers Use Multiple Devices 

    While nearly half of consumers used mobile devices exclusively when conducting online research, it’s more common for them to use multiple screens throughout their path to purchase. In fact, 80% of consumers will use more than one device simultaneously, and 84% will start researching products on one device and complete the purchase on another. So, make sure consumers get the same information no matter how they find your business, whether it's on your website, social media pages, directories, map listings, or review sites, across both desktop and mobile. Take the time to audit your pages and ensure all your business details, including special holiday hours, promotions, images, and more, are consistent across them all. 

    Consumers Read Branded Emails on Mobile

    A new report from Movable Ink states that more emails from brands are opened on a smartphone or tablet – 61% – than on a desktop computer. Think about it—how often do you personally check your email on your mobile device? And if you’re doing it, your consumers probably are too. This means that any email communications your business is sending to your prospects and customers during the holidays should be optimized for a mobile device, whether it is a regular communication, a seasonal promotion, or a special holiday greeting. And, make sure that any links you include in your emails send your prospects to a mobile-optimized website to ensure a consistent and satisfactory mobile experience.

    What mobile marketing tactics are most important to your business?  Let us know with a comment.

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    About the Author

    Tamara Weintraub helps equip small business owners with information about local online advertising, social media, and content marketing as a writer for the ReachLocal blog.

    ReachLocal Named to Deloitte Technology Fast 500™ for 5th Year

    Last updated 4 months ago

    ReachLocal proudly announces our ranking on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500TM list for the fifth year in a row. The list is a prestigious annual ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, and life sciences companies in North America based on percentage revenue growth over five-year periods.  

    In 2009, we topped the Technology Fast 500 list at No. 1 with over 146,050% growth since our company began in 2003.

    This year, we’re celebrating our tenth year in business, and we’ve hit numerous milestones since our beginnings as a small search engine advertising firm. Over these past ten years, our company has seen tremendous growth and innovation as our product, technology, and service teams develop and deliver integrated marketing solutions for more than 20,000 clients on five continents around the world.

    "This year's list is a who's who of companies behind the most exciting and innovative products and services in the technology space. We congratulate the Fast 500 companies and look forward to what they do next," said Eric Openshaw, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP.

    We are honored to be recognized for our growth and achievements by Deloitte and we send our sincerest thanks to our teams across the globe who make it happen.

    About Deloitte's 2013 Technology Fast 500

    The Technology Fast 500 list, conducted by Deloitte LLP, provides a ranking of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies — both public and private — in North America. Technology Fast 500 award winners are selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth from 2008 to 2012.

     

     

    5 Stats To Help You Identify Leaks in Your Education Marketing

    Last updated 4 months ago

    Marketing your college or university is extremely competitive now that students have multiple options to choose from and use a vast array of digital methods to communicate with institutions and with other students. The key to increasing enrollments from today’s savvy students is having an online presence in the top places prospective students are performing research, like search engines, your website, social media pages, review sites, and more. Ensuring students can find you online and engage with you is important now more than ever. Research shows that:

    So how can you make sure prospective students find your institution, and once they do, what can you do to help them choose you? ReachLocal recently held a webinar, 25 Ways to Increase Enrollment, that shares tips on how to identify leaks in your education marketing. Consider these current online and education marketing stats and the best practices we recommend to help you enroll more students.

    1.) 43% of Search Traffic is Organic, Not Paid

    One of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to increase your organic search traffic is to claim and optimize your school’s business listings and review sites where prospects may find your institution. These can include Google+ Local, Yahoo Local, and Yelp. There are also some education-specific sites you will want to claim and update as well, such as College Grader, CollegeProwler, The University Review, School Digger, and Unigo. Don’t forget that many of these databases power third-party sites as well, so you want to ensure your listings are accurate and consistent. 

    2.) 35% of Searchers Use Bing and Yahoo!

    Sometimes, organic listings don’t always get you the traffic you want and you need that extra effort to boost your Web presence. Advertising on all the major search engines is a great way to get in front of prospective students. Although Google may be the primary search engine for many consumers, Bing and Yahoo! are popular and represent close to a third of all search volume. 

    3.) 25% Of Students Won’t Consider a School After a Poor Site Experience

    If a consumer visits your website and sees an unprofessional or outdated design, they may leave without even learning if your institution is right for them. They make an immediate judgment based on the look and feel of your website. In fact, 92% of prospective students said that they would be disappointed with a school or remove it entirely from their lists if they didn’t find the information they needed on the school’s website. Your goal is to build credibility and trust with visitors in a user-friendly manner so they’ll learn more about why you are a fit for them. We recommend the following website best practices:

    • Use a design that engages visitors and have them convert into contacts.
    • Include a strong call to action, a clear value proposition, and a list of degrees, programs and services in plain sight so visitors can find the information they need.
    • Have conversion paths on every page (i.e., phone number, contact form, email).
    • Set up a monthly review to check all phone numbers, Web forms, and email addresses to ensure they are active and working correctly.
    • Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly to make it easy for contacts to call you from your mobile site.

    4.) 68% of Students Have Looked Up a College Website on a Mobile Device

    More than two-thirds of prospective college students use a mobile device for college research, which means you need to optimize your website for a mobile-friendly experience. Otherwise, you risk losing prospects if they cannot navigate your site on their mobile device. This will reflect poorly on your institution’s ability to be innovative, relevant, and ready to address prospects’ academic growth in the process.

    Set out to make a mobile experience that connects with prospective students with the first click. Make sure prospects can navigate easily and provide access to phone numbers so a visitor can click-to-call you. For those who want a touch-and-go experience, ensure you have an easy Web form for them to fill out to receive more information about your institution or specific program.

    5.) 45% of Form & Email Inquiries Do Not Receive a Response Within 10 Business Days
    It is crucial for your staff to respond to inquiries quickly when a student expresses interest in your institution or program. Leverage their momentum by deepening their commitment to attend your institution. If you wait too long, they may just forget about you or feel that your school isn’t the right fit for their educational needs. Follow these best practices to ensure you can move that prospective student toward making the decision to choose your school:

    • Reply to Web forms and emails within an hour!
    • Answer the phone! If you don’t have a way to answer your phones at any given time, make sure you call back new contacts within the hour.
    • Send a few follow-up emails about why they should choose your institution and the benefits from attending by showing video or written testimonials from alumni and current students.
    • Follow-up with special offers or reminders of important dates to help them take the next step.

    These are just a few education marketing stats to help you understand where your institution could be leaking leads. Since the student’s journey is a complex one, take the time to fix these leaks with the proactive measures outlined above. Doing so will keep you top of mind with interested prospects and help you increase enrollment.

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    About the Author

    Paul Herrera is a marketing professional who helps equip both small- to medium-size businesses and B2C brands with information about local online advertising, social media, and content marketing as a writer for the ReachLocal blog. Connect with him on Twitter.

    Leaks on the Street: Do Consumers Search for Local Businesses on Mobile? [Video]

    Last updated 5 months ago

    Do consumers really use mobile search to find your local business? The answer is a resounding “yes”. Today more than ever, shoppers on the go use smartphones and tablets to search for products, services, and businesses in their local area. But how often does the average consumer rely on mobile search results to help them make a purchase decision? Find out in this episode of Leaks on the Street.

    As the number of consumers who own smartphones and tablets continues to rise, the more consumers will rely on the mobile Web. In fact, nearly 50% of mobile Web users use their mobile devices as their primary – and in some cases only – way to go online. So how does this growing mobile trend affect your business? Here are three great mobile search tips that can help you make sure on the go consumers can find you.

    • Claim and optimize your business listing on Google+ Local to get found in the Google Map app and in Google mobile search results.
    • Make sure mobile consumers see great things about your business when searching for online reviews by building a positive reputation.
    • When building a mobile website, make sure to include features like click-to-call that are most important to mobile Web users. 

    Check out more “Leaks on the Street” videos and other helpful resources at www.dontleakleads.com to learn how you can stop leaking leads from your target consumers.

    What is your local business doing to make sure that consumers find your business via mobile search and choose to do business with you? Let us know with a comment!

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    About the Author

    Tara Banda writes about how small business owners can reach local customers through online marketing for the ReachLocal blog. You can connect with her on Twitter.

    Google AdRank and Quality Score Updates: How Will Your Search Advertising Fare?

    Last updated 5 months ago

    It’s been a busy year at Google with all of the changes made to both organic and paid search algorithms. The most recent change involves its AdRank platform, which determines where your paid search ad will appear on a search engine results page (SERP). With this update, it’s now more important than ever to know some Quality Score basics and what the update means for you.

    What is Quality Score?

    Quality Score is a number from one through 10 that Google assigns to the keywords you are bidding on via the AdWords advertising platform. This score is used as part of a formula that determines how much you’ll pay when an online consumer clicks your search ad, or cost-per-click (CPC) for that keyword. It’s also used to determine where your paid search ad appears on a SERP. Higher Quality Scores can lower your CPC and help your ad rank higher on the sponsored section of the SERP.

    What Makes Up a Quality Score

    Three components make up a Quality Score: the keyword you’re bidding on, your landing page, and your online text ad. When calculating your Quality Score, Google determines how well these components work together and how relevant they are to your users’ online search.

    Keywords

    Google looks at how relevant your keywords are to the landing page or web page you’re sending search traffic to. Keyword click-through-rate (CTR) and a keyword’s competitiveness are also evaluated in determining your Quality Score number. When your messaging closely matches what your online audience is looking for, the keyword tends to have higher click-through and conversion rates. And, the more your ad is clicked on, the higher your Quality Score can go.

    Landing Page    

    The second factor in determining Quality Score is the landing page. One tactic to raising your Quality Score is to ensure your landing page contains the same keywords that you’re bidding on in AdWords. Google sees this as a plus because you’re providing a relevant search experience for online consumers. The landing page’s load time is also a factor in determining landing page quality.

    Text Ad

    The text ad is the third factor. It’s important that your text ad contains the keyword(s) you’re bidding on. Doing so provides your online audience with a relevant and helpful search experience, which Google highly values and rewards with higher placement and lower cost per click. When your text ad also contains the same keywords as your landing page, this is also a plus that can raise your quality score.

    Ad Extensions in Text Ads

    Google recently announced that ad extensions would be used as one of the factors to determine a text ad’s placement on the SERP. Previously, only the CPC bid and your Quality Score were used to determine an ad’s rank.

    So what are ad extensions? They’re the additional information included in a text ad; they extend out the amount of information an ad contains (thus the name, ad extensions). Your phone number, business address, and/or site links are all examples of ad extensions. You create them in AdWords platform.

    Ad extensions are a reliable way to increase an ad’s CTR. The more consumers click on your ad, the more your Quality Score can improve. And when your Quality Score goes up, your ad can appear higher and more often on a SERP. So it’s a win for both you and for online consumers. If your online text ads don’t include ad extensions, now’s the time to add them. It’s an investment that can lower your CPC, as well as have positive affect on your overall Quality Score. Without ad extensions, your online ad might now drop from SERP’s top spots.

    Have you taken steps to improve your Quality Score? Let us know with a comment!

     

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    ·     Search Advertising 101: Dos and Don’ts for Writing Text Ads

     

    About the Author

    Amy Neeley helps small- and medium-size businesses navigate the online marketing world with insights and information featured on the ReachLocal blog. Connect with her on Twitter.

     

     

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