I think it’s safe to say we all know that in 2016 that building an online marketing strategy is important. The gen-xers are in their 40’s and 50’s and everybody has a cell phone. I mean everybody. There are more people on the planet that have a cell phone than have a toilet. How does this change how we do business? Simply put, what do we have to start doing, or do better, to get more clients and sales in 2016 from our websites?
1. People in 2016 will Search
In the 2011 study, 76% of respondents said they used search engines to find local business information vs. 24% who turned to print yellow pages. Whether it’s searching for a dentist or car detailer people are going to the web. Are you showing up?
It may be time to serious invest in your SEO efforts. You need to find who is searching for you and how they are doing it. Is there enough traffic to grow your business? What share of that traffic can you get by being on the first page. And you’re going to want to be on the first page. As much as 72% of all search traffic goes to links of the first page. Being listed at the top of the results not only provides the most traffic, but it also instills trust in your visitors the worthiness and relative importance of your business and website.
What will doing more SEO change?
SEO will change the copy (text) that is on your pages. You will have the most important knowledge you can have in search… what are searchers looking for. If you pages match up with that you have the best chance of meeting their need and delivering the sale. The best on-site SEO is all about making real humans happy. Is your content fresh, relevant and sharable?
SEO will make your website more friendly to Google’s search bot and spiders. Think of Google as speaking English as a second language. Do you want Google to get the gist of what your site has to offer or do you want everything to be crystal clear? Web pages are not Microsoft Word documents. Links matter and so do title tags. Google wants you to tell them what you are all about, but not be pushy or redundant.
2. People in 2016 will Compare your services with your competitor’s
The shift towards search has given the consumer great power to instantly compare you with you competition. You may have been in business for 40 years with an amazing product and customer sales, but if your website doesn’t beat your competitor’s it doesn’t matter. Your website is the most important product you have. It is your business card and your office. It may be the only version of your products or services that potential clients ever see. It is you!
How do I change my site to beat my competitors?
Many times the last thing you need is a complete redesign. What your site needs is the best design for your traffic to find what they are looking for as quickly and compelling as possible. Think about the UX (User Experience) when they enter your site. Are you needlessly creating hurdles from them getting to what they are looking for?
Your pages should be built for simplicity and action. Take a look at all the newest and most popular platforms. iPhone still dominates the market with it’s child friendly usability. Facebook has had to make way for 144 character Twitter and the single square image Instagram. Web searchers have options and there is nothing you can do about that. If anything, they have too many options. You will do well by providing what they are looking and the simplest path for them to get it.
3. People in 2016 will Search with their phones
You may have already noticed a common trend. People are walking around retail stores with their phones out. They are checking the list they made, looking for coupons or even checking to see if you have the lowest price for an item. I use the coupon from Hobby Lobby’s website every time I go there.
In late 2013, Google’s stats showed that mobile search has surpassed desktop search. Is your website ready for mobile traffic? What does that mean? How is mobile traffic different? A website that is designed first for desktop has serious usability issues on mobile devices. Either the text is impossibly small or even worse, it looks glitchy and messed up. Are you willing to just say adios to more than half of all search traffic?
What does my site need to meet the needs of Mobile users?
Your website needs to be responsive. Responsive design is way to write your website code so if displays your website with different rules on different sized devices. Big bold text looks great on a laptop, but is dominates the screen on mobile. You can set the rules for that text to be smaller or not even there are all. Loads of well placed images make desktop website views appealing, but on a phone you feel like you’re scrolling endlessly hoping not a accidentally click on the image that takes you to a different page. Responsive design is about meeting needs of users where they are at and displaying your information in the best way possible on every device.
People are looking for information in a different way on mobile. They are looking for pages full of text. Most the time they are simply looking for directions or your phone number. That is the great thing about responsive design, it’s not just about how your site looks. You can make sure your direction’s link is top and center when they pull your site up on their phone and that the link automatically pulls up google maps. We tend to hide phone numbers on desktop sites, but on mobile it’s the most natural thing to do. They just call.
It will only get worse?… or better
The trend is apparent. Things are changing and doing so rapidly. The next technology and devices we’ve never dreamed of are right around the corner. You need to get in the habit of change, because your clientele is. You may be feeling further and further behind. New technology feels like constant hurdles and more spending. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re steadily investing in the future of technology and how it can help your business all this change is exciting. The new marketing tools will give you and your business the edge to grow into 2017.