Why the tourist drove past your business

Changes2005vs2013Photo credit: AP

You’ve probably seen this AP image contrasting the crowds at St. Peter’s in Rome over the last eight years.

The first photo was taken by Luca Bruno in 2005 during preparations for the public viewing of Pope John Paul II’s body – almost two years before the iPhone was first announced.

The second photo was taken by Michael Sohn in March 2013 as the crowd waited for the first balcony appearance of a newly-elected Pope Francis I.

No matter how you feel about mobile devices, smartphones, the mobile browsing experience, the quality of smartphone photos, the always-connected lifestyle and how these things relate to your personal life, ignoring the business impact of the widespread adoption of these devices is done at your peril.

So what?

Seems like just yesterday that I did a series of speaking gigs with groups of local business owners about social media, getting found via local web search, the growth of mobile and the impact of these things on local businesses. Fact is, it’s been closer to 18 months since that series concluded.

To their credit, some have picked up on what we talked about and are interacting with their prospects and clients via social media. At least one local business that I frequent offers occasional coupons for subscribers to their text message (SMS) based opt-in list.

While most local business sites display acceptably on today’s tablets, the story is altogether different on a phone, where a smaller number have made efforts to improve the experience of a website visitor using a phone. Let’s refresh why it’s important to deal with this.

It’s not uncommon to hear “So what?” when this topic comes up in discussion. That’s not the right question.

First impressions

Again, you must set aside your personal likes/dislikes about these devices because it isn’t about you. It’s about your customers.

If these customers are tourists whose first impression – and purchase decision – is tied to the usability of your site on their phone, it’s worth considering whether your site is helping them (and you).

You might be thinking “Well, they have smartphones, but do they use them for that?” It’s a good question. I can tell you 25% of visitors to the Columbia Falls’ Chamber website are using mobile devices – a number that grows every month. I’ve been told churches see an even larger percentage of mobile users.

So what do you do?

A mobile website checklist

Let’s talk about mobile website basics:

  • Do you have a website that is actually usable on a phone?
  • Does it clearly describe what you do, when you are open, how to get there (using Google Maps, et al) and how to contact your business?
  • Restaurants, is your menu visible on the phone or does it appear on a phone as tiny print because it’s in a PDF intended for desktop users?

To start this process, claim your business on Google Places for Business and setup a Facebook Page (not a Facebook user account) for your business. Both of these will give you a basic summary presence on mobile devices that includes hours, contact info and location.

Compare these two mobile search results:

flathead beacon mobile search result dmbdgoogle

The one on the left (without a Google Places listing) is tougher to read on a phone and requires additional screen taps to get answers to the basic questions listed above.

The one on the right (with a Google Places listing) gives you everything you need to make the next choice. One tap to call, get directions or view their site.

Which of those do you want your prospects to see?

Why’d they drive by?

When your website makes it easy for mobile phone users to learn about your business, it helps them decide what to do, where and when to go, and how well your business fits their needs/wants.

So why did the tourist drive past your business?

Three reasons:

  • They didn’t know your business exists, or they didn’t know enough about your business
  • The info they found didn’t help them make a decision.
  • The info they found helped them make a decision to go elsewhere.

The last reason is acceptable. You shouldn’t expect everyone to be your customer, much less to stop in simply because your business is easy to learn about and find online.

22 things you dont know about your customers’ web viewing habits

Today’s guest post is from Ian over at Conversation Marketing and talks about little things you need to know about the folks who visit your site.

These kinds of things hit close to home here at Business is Personal. Little tweaks make a big difference.

What are 22 things (at least) that you dont know about your customers’ website viewing habits?

Most of us want people to stay on our site for as long as possible.

These 22 things are the kinds of things that drive them off.

Taking the kids – and your website – on a long road trip

Today’s guest post is from Jill Whelan of HighRankings.com.

Jill describes a nice parallel between the preparation necessary for taking the kids on a long road trip (vs having them cry) and the symptoms your website uses to tell you what a crying child is trying to tell you.

It’s a good read, go check it out. Your website will thank you.

Look what the Easter Bunny brought: a ping list for your blog

Happy Easter, everyone.

Below, the ping list I’m using with this blog. If you know what a ping list is, maybe there’s a link or 2 in there you aren’t using. If you’re using one (or more) that I don’t have, please make note of that in the comments.

If you don’t know what a ping list is…keep your eyes on this blog,

http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2
http://api.feedster.com/ping
http://api.moreover.com/ping
http://api.moreover.com/RPC2
http://blog.goo.ne.jp/XMLRPC
http://blogdb.jp/xmlrpc/
http://coreblog.org/ping/
http://ping.blo.gs/
http://ping.bloggers.jp/rpc/
http://ping.cocolog-nifty.com/xmlrpc
http://ping.syndic8.com/xmlrpc.php
http://ping.weblogalot.com/rpc.php
http://pinger.blogflux.com/rpc
http://rpc.blogrolling.com/pinger/
http://rpc.icerocket.com:10080/
http://rpc.pingomatic.com/
http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping
http://rpc.weblogs.com/RPC2
http://topicexchange.com/RPC2
http://www.blogdigger.com/RPC2
http://xping.pubsub.com/ping
http://api.my.yahoo.com/rss/ping
http://www.bigskyblog.com/index.php/big-sky-blogroll/trackback/
http://api.my.yahoo.com/RPC2
http://ping.rootblog.com/rpc.php
http://ping.feedburner.com
http://api.feedster.com/ping