Despite all the buzz about social media, its main purpose has nothing to do with closing sales. Even in today’s digital market, social media’s best days last year were the holiday seasons (including Black Friday and Cyber Monday) and they only accounted for a little over 3% of all e-commerce sales world-wide (source: Custora).
The way mobile has assisted growth in e-commerce has primarily been through the avenue of increasing ease of use. Amazon’s one-click buying feature, Apple Pay, and Google Wallet are some technologies to name a few. Perhaps the ability to buy something without spending the extra 30 seconds it takes to pull out a credit card and process a payment, believe it or not, accounted for massive growth in online and offline shopping (via Apple Pay-like technologies).
Social media’s main purpose in e-commerce is brand-recognition – a warming of the market for your product / service, and an additional layer of “trust.” The more times a potential customer sees you, the more s/he trusts you, whether there’s merit to the trust or not – that’s just branding 101. Social media has its greatest purpose here, with the exception of LinkedIn, where billions of B2B dollars have already transacted through that medium this year.
Mobile responsiveness (you’ve probably heard the term repetitively by now), allows for a website to transform in real-time between varying screen-sizes in a way that is user-friendly and easy to read on all devices (phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, smart TV). This is where the “new” money is at in e-commerce and, really, any site focused on generating revenue. Custora reported that desktop computer shopping dropped from ~74% to 68% last year and the market share was gained by mobile shoppers, mostly using Android phones or tablets. 6% may not seem like that much, however, when there are hundreds of millions of desktop computer sales yearly and even monthly in some countries, this is actually a huge gain in a very short time.
The point is, a site which isn’t mobile-ready is literally leaving money on the table. Customers are more impatient than they used to be and ease-of-use technology is making attention span even worse. Users will literally leave a site from their phone if they have to zoom in and scroll around too much. Letter should be large, layout simple, and call-to-actions frequent! Attention span, on average, is only 8 seconds for a typical internet user.
If you’re someone who looks at economic climates from an honest perspective, you know that things have not really been all that great around the world. The most robust economy is still America, however, and the data still shows that when you make something easier for people, it inspires stronger buying habits. And this is the importance of having a mobile-ready site, especially so for local businesses. Remember the Yellow Pages? Those books that they send you once a year or so? Nobody uses them any-more. 38% of cell phone users search for a local business minutes before they buy from the one they found.
On average, even in a not-so-populated town, 1,000-3,000 searchers daily look for a local business to shop at. The question you should be asking yourself here is “how many of them are calling me?” Where I live in Warren, MI, there are 1,000 businesses in my zip code, and 13,000 houses. On average, the people here have a monthly disposable income of $400 – $600 per household. Typically they are more than willing to spend every last dime somewhere. Your competitive edge is to be “first in their minds” as much as possible, especially when they are already looking for you (A.K.A – A Google Search)!
Mobile-readiness is the new pipeline of salesmanship, just as SEO is today. If you think about it, your website is essentially a digital sales pitch that works for you 24/7, and Google is your salesman. Henry Ford once said, “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops the clock to save time.” The implication here is that sales will go on regardless, but if you don’t advertise or get your name out there, exploiting every avenue of marketing that you can, you simply wont be getting the sales. Despite what CNN likes to puke at you 24/7 about how bad the economy is, there are still $12 Trillion in United States circulation. You deserve some of that, right? Well then get your scary self up and start doing 10x more than you used to do to get your name out there!
Alright, now let’s move on to some more mobile gold. There is a second way to take advantage of the mobile gold-rush and start making more sales – that’s through mobile apps. An app is different than a responsive website because an app can access the hardware on the phone and do things a website can’t do such as access contacts, send out text messages, start other programs or, my favorite, surprise notifications! 60% of adults check their phones more than 50 times daily. If they have an app you gave them on their phone (perhaps a free app meant specifically for promoting your services – think creative here) then an automated push-notification every so often is a great way to promote yourself. You can also do light data-collection and get to know your customers a lot better by automatically gaining an understanding of who they associate with and what they use their phone the most for – these are all clues as to what you should sell them at some point.
You’ve heard the saying that it takes 5 – 12 contacts before a salesman closes a customer. Utilizing a mobile app, responsive websites, and social media removes half of these steps on a bad day. Once you have the attention of the prospect in these mediums, the sale is 98% completed for you and huge orders easier. In fact, SEO is so powerful that eMarketer reported 79% of people who have utilized SEO have said their ROI has been better than any other advertising campaign they’ve done.
Remember, doing any of these activities already puts you ahead of about half the competition. Unfortunately, though, doing just enough only separates you from people who don’t do anything with their business. But having a strong social media presence, a responsive website, and an accompanying app with a steady stream of content-marketing dripping into all three avenues puts you in the top 25% of small businesses, where all the income is. Sooner, rather than later, it will be a business standard to have all of these things going on regularly and at once – that’s still a good 5 years away though and there’s enough time to take advantage and win ground still with a strong SEO campaign.
And yes I mean strong. Your “SEO guru” from 5,000 miles East of the US is not going to be able to output what you’d expect from a proper American company with the same level of care you really need – they know how to do the tasks repetitively but they still don’t fully understand your goal and the fact that American businesses aren’t even on the map without a solid 6 figure income, minimum. Always take strong action!
In summary, the 5 things you can do for your business to drive more (much more) revenue are:
- Make your website responsive. Call your web developer and do it today, it’s easier and often less expensive than you think.
- Learn SEO or hire an SEO agency immediately
- Strong social media presence (these are all free advertising mediums – don’t leave money on the table)!
- Accompany your website with a mobile app
- Put content marketing on your list of to-do tasks this month and plan a massive online campaign
About The Author
I’m Mike Bianchi, professional web developer serving the Warren, MI area. My passion in life is to contribute to restructuring the digital infrastructure, improve the internet, and emphasize profitability for my client’s websites through SEO and custom website coding solutions