For business owners who are used to traditional methods of customer outreach, making the shift to advertising and marketing online can seem daunting. Almost three-quarters of American consumers who responded to a recent survey indicated that they do not use the phone book to search for business phone numbers and addresses anymore. More than half of shoppers report that they start their searches online, and that they are willing to use new phone search technology to locate local businesses.
Customers are looking for convenience, and effective web design must include clear, original information and eye catching design. Recently, about 60% of companies that contracted for professional web design and development reported an increase in sales after streamlining and updating their mobile websites. Most customers consistently report that if a business does not have a mobile website that is easy to use and quick to load, they will abandon their purchase mid-stream.
Not sure if it is necessary to optimize your website? There are “search engines” online that comb through millions of websites and deliver the customer an ordered list of results based on their search parameters. If a customer searches for “order pizza online,” the search engine will automatically seek out, identify, and rank the websites that best match that search term. Businesses want customers’ patronage, so they naturally want to rank higher on the search results page, figuring that a high ranking will make customers more likely to click on the link to their website.
Once a customer clicks through to a business’ website, they will wait for a few seconds while the page loads. Websites that take longer than three or four seconds to load will lose about four out of every 10 potential customers right away. Of course, loading speeds depend upon the customer’s internet connection primarily, but ideally a “landing page” will be simple, graphically appealing, and easy to load. The idea is to make a landing page, or front page, to the website that welcomes the customer and invites them to peruse the rest of the website.
There are a number of other factors that will enable you to optimize your website, both online and on mobile. Search engines look for sites that have relevant links to other sites, and they look for relevant keywords. If customer searches for pizza include certain words more often, like “discount” or “party sized,” then business owners should look to include those words in their onsite text. Advertising and marketing is most effective when business owners have a strong sense of what their customers are searching for on a regular basis, and pinpointing keywords is a process that can evolve over time.
Financially, it can make sense to take the time to optimize your website: almost 80% of consumers conduct product research on their mobile phones, and understanding that retail is increasingly shifting to an online model can allow existing businesses to introduce their products to consumers around the world. About 40% of mobile phone users indicated recently that they would like their favorite brands to send them coupons and incentives via their phone, and the worldwide digital retail market is worth more than $1 trillion every year.
Every month, there are more than 100 billion separate searches online: customers look for products, repair services, investment opportunities, music, and videos online. They spend more than eight hours every month watching video content, and cell phone ownership among potential customers with incomes of more than $80,000 yearly tops 95%. Looking to optimize your website? It could be the best way to stay competitive and relevant in a rapidly changing economy.