The majority of searches today start out on a mobile device. That means if you’re not optimizing your business’s online presence for mobile searchers, you’re missing out on the opportunity to get found by most consumers.

Mobile marketing has become hugely important for local businesses. It’s the way for you to reach consumers who are in your area, on the go, and looking for immediate solutions to their problems. Which means that local businesses have another aspect of mobile marketing to consider: local mobile marketing.

When you know how to leverage local mobile marketing techniques, you can get discovered ahead of your competition and capture the attention of new, relevant consumers. Here’s how you do it.

Capture High-Intent Consumers

The great thing about employing a mobile marketing strategy is that it allows you to capture the attention of consumers who are actively looking to make a purchase by researching or buying from their mobile devices. And, according to Google, the number of searches that contain the phrase “near me” and either “can I buy” or “to buy” increased more than 500% between 2015 and 2017. That means mobile users are looking for immediate, local solutions to their needs.

And further research bears that out. Nearly 80% of local searches led to a direct purchase within 24 hours.

People are looking for local solutions and are serious about doing business with whoever they discover offers the right products or services. If you cross their line of sight first, you might very well be the one to win over that new business.

Related: 5 Stats that will Make You Believe in the Power of Mobile Marketing

Make Sure Your Website Is Ready for Mobile

Creating a strong, mobile-focused and local-focused SEO strategy is the first step to making sure you’re well-positioned to capture new local customers. Because nearly 60% of all searches today begin on mobile, it’s important that your site performs well on these devices. There are hundreds of factors that Google uses to evaluate websites and determine where to show them in search results, but there are a handful of mobile-specific factors that are easy to test.

Start by checking your mobile load speed to make sure the page is loading quickly. Forty-seven percent of consumers will leave a site that doesn’t load within two seconds.

Then, make sure your site displays properly on mobile. Using responsive design guarantees that your site will be resized to look appropriate on any device. If you don’t have a responsive site, it’s possible that what looks great on a desktop will look sloppy or be difficult to read on a smaller screen.

Finally, make sure your site is easy to navigate on mobile. Eliminate unnecessary clicks and multi-tiered menus, which are hard to handle on a small device.

Related: How to Get Started with Mobile Marketing: 5 Simple Tips

Get Found via Other Mobile Channels

Your website is the heart of your online presence, so you want it to look great across all devices. But ensuring that your business can be discovered by those who choose to search for local solutions beyond the bounds of their web browser is equally important.

That’s where local listings sites come in. Local listings are online directories for local communities or specific areas of interest. Because consumers sometimes turn directly to these sites for answers, foregoing a Google or Bing search altogether, it’s important to make sure your business is listed on key local listing directories.

Take, for example, Google My Business. Setting up your profile with Google My Business is how you get discovered in Maps results. This means that people who go straight to their map app and bypass their internet browser will still find you.

The same goes for other major local listings sites, like Yelp and Facebook. Each has its own app, so if you’re not present on their sites, those searching for business solutions through the apps will miss you altogether.

Related: How to Prepare Your Strategy for the Future of Mobile Marketing

Be Reachable on the Go

Many mobile searches are initiated by consumers who are on the go. They’re running errands or are dashing from work to school pickup to home, and they’re looking for a local solution to their problem — fast.

Make it easy for them to get in touch with your business as they’re running around. Maybe they found you in a search or on a local listings site, and they think your business might have the solution they’re looking for. But before they come out of their way to check out your store, they want to call ahead to be sure you can definitely fulfill their need!

Incorporating a click-to-call feature on your website and making sure that your phone number and hours are clearly displayed across all other listings online makes it easy for them to do just that. You might also consider incorporating live chat, which allows consumers to get in touch with you on their terms.

Talk Directly to Your Local Audience

While it’s important to make it easy for consumers to reach out to you, you can also be proactive and use some mobile-specific local marketing tools to reach out to consumers first. Geofencing, for example, is a great way to capture the attention of those who are in the area but might not be familiar with your brand. This technology allows you to establish a perimeter anywhere you choose (say, around your business, or even around a competitor’s) and then send anyone who enters the area a notification on their mobile device.

Maybe it’s a special discount or offer. Or it could be a link to book an appointment with you. Whatever the offering may be, it greets consumers who are in the right place and introduces them to your solution.

QR codes are another clever way to reach out to consumers proactively. Including a QR code on your marketing materials, whether that’s a sign in the subway or a direct mailer you send to local consumers, makes it easy for them to access additional information about your business or deals that are relevant to their needs.

There’s a great opportunity out there for local businesses who know how to leverage mobile marketing strategies. If you need help getting your mobile marketing plan off the ground, let’s talk.

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