Search is going mobile. Which means online businesses should focus on marketing to mobile customers as soon as possible. To get you started, using an SMS messaging service would be a major coup. Google announced earlier this year that a proposed mobile-first index is in beta testing. The company hopes to launch the full version early next year.
The plan is to replace the existing desktop directory with the mobile-first index. This will mean that websites rank on the basis of how they perform on mobile devices.
The mobile revolution
Mobile devices play a major role in our lives. And since manufacturers introduced tablets and smartphones with bigger screens, internet users are encouraged to access the internet on their handhelds.
This change in user-behaviour has not gone unnoticed by search engines. In 2013, The Big G noted that “over 50% of searches are performed on a mobile device”.
And so began the mobile revolution. In April 2015, Google launched the so-called mobilegeddon which penalised websites that are non-responsive and make engaging with content awkward on small screens.
A litter of mobile-friendly tweaks and testing tools followed. The world-wide AMP project encourages web developers to make mobile friendly sites by using open source HTML codes that do not lag on slow internet connections.
And then came the cruncher news that Googles search rankings will be based on a mobile-only index. Which means mobile-only analysis. Business owners need to act now before this intervention has a negative impact on your search engine rank.
This mobile-centric focus begs the question whether we will live in a virtually mobile world in the not too distant future. That industry leaders such as Google, Facebook and IBM et al are investing billions in artificial intelligence (AI) suggests we will.
The future of marketing is mobile
Machine learning, semantic text and voice assistants are all key components to the future of the internet. If you have seen the film “Her” with Joachim Phoenix, you should get the picture.
Essentially, we are not far away from being able to speak to our voice-assisted mobile devices to conduct searches for us. And with the growing reliance on mobile device, together with the bulging price tags, smartphones and tablets will replace desktop computers for many people.
Which means mobile marketing will be the major driving force for brands to connect with customers. The mobile-first index will be a game-changer and brands need to review their marketing strategy in order to take advantage of the impending changes.
Although Google says they intend to keep the desktop directory in the background, it will not be updated as often as the mobile-index. It will not be as fresh.
That means the search engine giant will be ranking websites based on the interaction with mobile users. Therefore, brands have to look for innovative solutions to engage mobile users.
If you have done any data research into the effectiveness of sms marketing, you will know the results have a high-impact. Numerous studies show that over 90% of branded text messages are opened within 15 minutes of receipt.
Furthermore, there are various ways of utilizing sms marketing messages to steer customers towards products, offers or events. Text messaging is often used to promote apps, for example.
But not every company can justify building a mobile app. But every business can use a text messaging service at low cost to promote content, discounts and anything else you want to draw attention to.
The key to mobile marketing will be the innovative use of content. Anything you publish will have to be mobile-friendly. If readers cannot digest your content on a small screen, your rankings in search engines will be negatively affected.
Graphic design will make a huge difference. The way you structure content will also need to be reader-friendly. Scannable content is the way to go for mobile users.
As online marketing options for small businesses become, well, smaller, sms messaging provides you with bigger advantages. Most notably, you get noticed. And in a mobile-first world, earning visibility will be more difficult for small business on a small budget.
Which is why sms marketing should be part of your digital strategy. The way things are headed, texting may be the only line of communication small brands have of reaching your customers.