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B2B Search: It's Time To Go Mobile

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The Who's song "Going Mobile" was written in 1971 about the joys of life on the road:

I can stop in any street
And talk with people that we meet
Goin' mobile
Keep me movin'

Out in the woods
Or in the city
It's all the same to me
When I'm drivin' free, the world's my home
When I'm mobile!

Forty-three years later, the lyrics have never rung more true. People can go just about anywhere and remain connected on mobile devices. I don't know if Pete Townshend envisioned such a world when he wrote this song, but it's here now.

And yet, every day I see websites that aren't optimized for mobile. This is especially true in the B2B world. Nothing is more frustrating to a user than trying to read tiny type next to tiny navigation or worse, sidebar ads on a smartphone or tablet.

I've heard varying reasons why businesses have not gone mobile:

  • My customers don't use mobile devices.
  • It's too expensive to create another version of my site.
  • My product is complex and prospects need to read lots of information before taking action.
  • I don't know how to get started.

Five or six years ago, these may have been legitimate reasons. Today, they're just excuses. Let's respond to each one.

Your Customers AreUsing Mobile Devices

Not long ago, most business transactions happened during the work day. People sat down at their desktop computer, ran a few searches, did research, picked up their desk phone, and called to place an order or inquire further.

Now, that's all changed. In 2013, "50% of the average global mobile web users now use mobile as either their primary or exclusive means of going online." This goes for B2B as well as B2C searchers – half of them, at least, are using mobile to go online.

If your prospects can't easily access your site or your content on mobile, you've lost them – it's as simple as that.

You Can't Afford Not to Go Mobile

If your business doesn't have a mobile site, you'll undoubtedly run into some time and resource cost to build one. When it comes to mobile, as the adage goes, you have to spend money to make money. Not having a mobile site in 2014 is like not having a website in 2004 – you'll be left behind if you don't create one now.

In fact, a lot of businesses are advertising on mobile whether they know it or not. When Google rolled out enhanced campaigns a few months ago, those who didn't take the step of modifying their mobile bids were suddenly showing up on mobile devices.

Let's look at an example. Here's a search a business might perform, especially given the challenging winter weather that many across the U.S. are experiencing this month:

Electricians Mobile Search on Google

I'd be willing to bet that the first two advertisers don't realize they are showing up on mobile phones. Only the third ad is using click-to-call – an obvious choice for those who want to generate phone calls.

I clicked on the first ad to see what I'd get on my smartphone. The result was discouraging:

Mr Electric Bad Mobile Experience

Tiny type, unreadable copy, pop-down menus too small to tap, and a huge right rail that further shrunk everything on the page are only some of the shortcomings of this landing page.

The good news? The only thing I can read is the phone number in the upper right corner.

The bad news? It's not clickable on my phone – it's obviously part of the header graphic and not text.

If your business has an electrical problem, would you bother to call this company, or would you hit the "back" button on your phone and call the guys with a "Call" button in their ad?

The point is, a poor mobile experience is costing you customers – and you're paying to send them to your site by using PPC!

Business Decision-Makers are Consuming Content on Mobile

So you have a complex product that requires research and discovery. People don't consume your services on the first visit.

You still need a mobile presence.

As The Who song says, "in the woods or the city, it's all the same to me!" So are the train, the plane, and the automobile.

Decision makers are using what used to be lost time commuting and traveling to research products and services on their mobile devices. They're filling out your contact form (as long as it's not too small or too long). They're are reading your PDFs or watching your videos on their phones and iPads.

Commute time is often the only time busy executives have to themselves, without constant interruptions from meetings and staff. Make sure your content is accessible to them during these precious moments of focused attention!

Getting Started Isn't Hard

The toughest part of any journey is the first step, especially when it's into unfamiliar territory. If you've never had a mobile site before, creating one can seem daunting.

If you use an agency for digital marketing, start with them. Chances are they've been bugging you to get going with mobile anyway! Let them know you're ready to get started – a good agency will lead you through the process as painlessly as possible.

If you don't use an agency, never fear. There are still resources out there!

Google has a multi-screen resource guide with how-tos, case studies, and more. Their multi-screen white paper (PDF) is excellent.

Entrepreneur has a good post with quick and easy ways to adapt your current site for mobile.

Bottom line: simplify, simplify, simplify.

Conclusion

Once your site is ready for mobile prime time, you'll be able to harness the true power of mobile PPC advertising. Why wait? Everyone's going mobile!


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