A growing number of individuals are using a smartphone to find local businesses that meet their needs. This trend has dramatically changed online marketing in general, making mobile marketing perhaps the most important local search marketing priority for every single small business targeting a particular city or zip code area. Following are three important reasons why a business can no longer afford to overlook smartphone internet users.

Local Customers Rely on Smartphones to Find What They Need

It has been estimated that an astounding 80% of all internet users own a smartphone. What is more, the number of smartphone internet users is set to rise now that many mobile phone services are giving away free smartphones to new customers.

Furthermore, a recent Google report shows that nearly 90% of all individuals conducting local searches on a search engine do so using a smartphone. The majority of these searches have a local intent; in other words, potential customers are looking for businesses in the immediate vicinity that can meet their needs. An astounding 50% of these searches end with customers visiting a local business the very same day; what is more, 18% of all local searches from a smartphone end with customers making a purchase the very same day the search was conducted.

Google Ranking Now Depends on Having a Mobile Friendly Website

In April 2015, Google announced that mobile friendliness would be used as a website ranking signal. If you don't have a mobile friendly website and you've noticed that traffic has dropped over the last couple of years, this could very well be the reasons why.

Just this year, Google took this measure a step further when it ramped up its mobile first index for 2017. At this time, Google made it clear that only mobile friendly websites would be considered for top spots in its search engine. Websites that are not mobile friendly no longer have a chance of gaining a first page listing.

Having a Mobile Friendly Website Affects Your Reviews

Every single business needs positive reviews. Such reviews not only bring in new customers but also affect your website's standing in Google and other search engines. Given this fact, it is not surprising that many companies go out of their way to offer incentives to customers who leave a review after making a purchase.

While a marketing strategy on its own won't provide full customer satisfaction, bear in mind that that nearly 60% of all smartphone users won't recommend a business that does not have a properly designed mobile website. A poorly designed mobile website tells customers you don't care about helping them find out about you and puts people off, leading to negative reviews or no reviews, both of which can be extremely damaging for any company.

Mobile Marketing: Where Should You Start?

The first step in developing a mobile marketing strategy is to create a responsive website. Thankfully, just about all website hosting services offer a number of responsive templates for you to pick from. Choose one that suits your company's needs and then check the website on a mobile device to make sure it loads quickly. You may need to edit the website further to boost the loading time as internet speed for mobile phone users on the go is typically slower than the internet speed on a home or office computer.

You will also want to make it clear that your business is located in a particular area. Claim your Google Places listing and use schema tags and meta tags to identify your business as a local one. It is also important to put up contact information, driving directions, coupons and business hours on your website as this is information that most mobile phone internet users look for. Furthermore, you may want to note if you are located next to one or more local landmarks as this information can help tourists and newcomers to your town find you easily.

Mobile marketing can no longer be ignored by any business that hopes to be successful in reaching a local market. If you don't have the time to invest in creating and maintaining a mobile-friendly website, find a reputable third party to handle this task for you. Brandgy specializes in providing top quality yet affordable website design as well as managing local SEO, content creation and offsite marketing. Get in touch with us at your convenience to find out how we can help you create or modify an existing business website that will reach smartphone users in the best possible way.