Use Mobile First To Get More Customers Now!

Mobile First

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Let me ask you a question.  Have you found a way to separate your small business from your local competition?  Do your potential customers understand your competitive difference?  Standing out is a major challenge for most small business owners. 

When I was in the carpet business, we sold the major carpet brands, Shaw, Mohawk and Belieau.  The problem, so did every other carpet store.  We tried to distinguish our business by our brand of customer service.  This gave us some repeat business.  But every business promises the best customer service in the world.  How were we different!

As a small business owner, if you cannot make your business stand out from your competition with unique products or services, you will be forced to compete on price.  Few small businesses succeed on price selling!

Let me suggest another alternative.  In 2013, you have the opportunity to separate your business from the competition by making your business “Mobile First.”  Mobile First means you view every aspect of your business operation from a mobile access perspective.  You are not just accommodating mobile friendliness.  You embrace the changes mobile access brings.  If you make your business Mobile First, you will separate your business from your competition. 

Let me show you how and why Mobile First can accomplish this for your small business.

Mobile First Means Customer Control

Mobile First means you recognize that mobile customer controls the business relationship.  Mobile customers choose how they will learn, where they will learn and when they will learn.  91% of smart phone users keep their phones within three feet.  51% of the mobile users continue to access the internet with their devices at home.  They control the business relationship.

Mobile First Means Mobile Friendly Websites

The starting point for Mobile First means you change your internet presence to make your website mobile friendly.  Try accessing your competitors on your smart phone.  80% of their websites cannot be read on mobile phones.  The images are too big.  The text is too small.  It takes too long to load on the phone screen.  The buttons are too small to navigate with your thumbs.  Websites that maybe brilliant on a desk top computer, maybe useless on a mobile phone.

In previous posts, I showed how to test your website for mobile accessibility and the ways you can modify your website to make it mobile friendly.   You can go to these posts for more details.  If your website is inaccessible on a mobile phone, you online commerce will be dead.

Test Your Website for Mobile Friendliness
3 Fixes To Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
9 Tips for Mobile Friendly Websites

Mobile First Means Different Content

Making your business mobile first is more than fitting things on a smaller screen.  The real challenge is that Mobile searchers want specific pieces of information.  Since they often view the information on the fly, they don’t have time to try viewing long streams of irrelevant information.  Business owner need to ask the question, “What information is most critical for my customers?””What are the core items in my business offer?”  “ How can I use text and limited images to express a simple version for my customers?” 

This means you have to examine every piece of information you are using so that it is concise and to the point.  It is what your mobile customer wants. 

Mobile First Means Catering to a Different Shopper

Mobile searchers are more immediate shoppers.  They want to see their buying possibilities quickly.  They use their devices to price compare their purchases.  Mobile ads and coupons have already made an impact on the mobile user.  Ads and coupons feed directly into the immediacy and price comparisons, two elements that mobile searchers bring to the market that are traditional website shoppers do not make a priority.

Mobile First Means Changing Your Emails

Mobile First means that you have modified your email processes to become mobile friendly.  Any email subject line more than 5 words becomes unreadable on most mobile phones.   Over 1/3 of today’s customers open their emails with their phones.  Here is the post on making your emails mobile friendly.  

Mobile First Means Changing Your Sales Process

A traditional sales process might look like this.  On their home computer, a potential customer goes online to identified potential products and businesses that could solve their problem.  Using the information from their online search, they select one or two businesses to investigate and compare potential solutions to their problem. 

The use of mobile access in the purchasing process changes this sale dynamic.   What do you do with the customers who are in your store and use mobile access to check prices and options from your competitors?  

Experts call this “showrooming.”   Almost half of the mobile users use their phones inside the stores to check prices and competitive options.  Where does “showrooming” fit in your sales funnel?

Just this afternoon, my wife was in Barnes and Noble looking for a graduation book.  The clerk could not find the book.  My wife, used her phone to access Amazon with all of the information about the book.  The clerk used this information to find the book.  

Will you or your staff need retraining in light of mobile searches?  73% of the smart phone users say they would rather use the phone than talk with retail staff. 

Mobile First Means Different Business Hours

Mobile Access Surveys Show…

  • 42% of customers with mobile access expect a response to their questions within 60 minutes.
  • 57% expect the response nights and weekends the same as daytime hours.

If your mobile access customers have these expectations for your customer services, how are you going to meet them?  What are your new business hours?

Mobile First Means More Customer Complaints

If a customer dislikes their experience with you, their smart phone becomes an instant weapon to satisfy their negative experience.    It’s not unusual to see people sitting in a restaurant, tweeting negativity without speaking to customer staff.  Hotel managers report they see more complaints on Trip Advisor than they do at their front desk. 

Most customers do not like to complaint.  They would rather avoid the confrontation and disagreements that are involved in the complaint process.  With mobile devices, people do not need to call out a business face to face.  They use their smart phone and put their negative experiences directly online.  They get personal satisfaction without the person to person confrontation. 


Beyond these elements, you have mobile apps, mobile advertising, mobile text messaging and new forms of mobile payments processes.  Mobile has become the new desk top.  The changes mobile access brings are more profound than dealing with smaller screens.  Mobile access is forcing businesses to create a different experience with customers from first contact, through showroom experiences, to new payment processes.

You have the opportunity to be one of the first small businesses in your niche to fully embrace Mobile First.  By embracing mobile and its ramifications, you will clearly separate yourself from your competition.  It will position your business for a very bright future.

Share your ideas on how mobile first can set your business apart from the competition… 

Does Driving More Customers to Your Local Business Really Work?

Last week after the launch on Amazon and Barnes and Noble our new book, Driving More Customers to Your Local Business, I received from Gary in St. Paul the following email:

“Can Driving More Customers to Your Local Business really work for my business?  Or is this just another program filled with hot air like so many small business marketing programs?” 

Here’s my response to Gary…

Mobile Apps Get More Customers

Ken Pirkl has made a recent video demonstrating how mobile apps can get you more customers.  Take five minutes to learn how these apps can work for your business.


Two Steps to Expanding Your Local Search Marketing!

Want a simple way to get more customers from your local search marketing?  Follow the suggestions I made to my client Tom, who owns a local tennis lesson business called “Tennis with Tom”.  

Tom lives in one suburb where he provides youth tennis lessons.  He used his own home address to develop his first series of local search directories for that address.  He wanted to expand the reach of his local search marketing to other areas.

Step One–Add Geographic Keyword domains 

We decided to create two new domains with geographic identifiers.  He will purchased,  as one domain.  Since his parents live in Woodbury, he can use their address to create another search directory listing for this new domain name.   He will build local search directories around this new domain and have this domain point to his original website.

He will also purchase a new domain,  to get exposure from the larger city of St. Paul.  Since he does not have a physical address in St. Paul, he will point this domain to his original website “Tennis with Tom.”

When searchers type into a Google search, “Tennis lessons in St Paul” or “Tennis lessons in Woodbury”, Google will see his domains as a matches for the searchers.  They will take the searcher to his website or his local search sites. 

The cost for this added geographic exposure is less than $25.00 a year for the domain purchases.

Step 2–Localize Your Website with New Geographic Domains

Google wants to see more than a “domain name.”  They want to see other references on a website to the localized information.    Tom is now going to make some additional adjustments to his existing website to match content, text, and pictures to his two new domain names. 

Keyword Phrases–Tom will incorporate his two new keyword phrases into his website. To make his site local search market friendly, he will want to use “tennis lesson in St. Paul, “tennis lessons in Woodbury” as two of his major keywords.

Meta Tags–He will to place these new keywords phrases in his text, Geo code his pictures with them, and place them in his Title tags, Meta tags, Meta descriptions, H1 tags.

Add Addresses to Each Page–Since search engines index pages and not websites, Tom can start by adding his local town descriptors to each of his web pages. These can work well in the footer of each page.  He will want to put St. Paul, Woodbury and Maplewood (his original site) in the footer of each page for visual validation of his local addresses as well giving search engines proof about his local business.

Local Articles–I suggest Tom create a new webpage where he can add information about local tennis history, local tennis events, local tennis celebrities. People will read local tennis articles and it will also give search engines additional reasons to choose his site when people type in “tennis lessons in St. Paul”, or “tennis lessons Woodbury”.

Videos–Attracting interest is a critical part of marketing. Sports are great video material. Tom could put videos on his site showing tennis tips or showing a class of young people learning tennis.  He could put them on YouTube, with Title tags and Descriptions that match his new geographic website tags and titles. YouTube also allows for a geographic indicator on each video. Using the same keywords as the video title really strengthens the overall page and makes it extremely easy to get on the 1st page on Google.

Craig’s List–Put his new domain sites on local Craig’s list as well as local Chamber of Commerce. Both of these local references will validate his local claims for people and search engines.

Links from Local Businesses–Find friends in related local businesses, such as sport  shops, shoe stores (tennis shoes) from both St. Paul and Woodbury to provide links to his website. People love these links to find related products; search engines also love links from local businesses.

Testimonials--Tom needs to gather local testimonials on his website. Since he deals with younger people, he should have testimonials from both the children as well as their parents about the value they found in Tom’s lessons. These testimonials should include name of local city added to their testimonial, giving credibility to the tennis lessons in St. Paul or Woodbury.  Search engines also love these local testimonials.


50% of all internet searches are for local products or services.  By adding geographic domains and making a few tweaks to your existing website, you can also expand the reach of your local search marketing to reach more customers.  Follow the two step process above to expand your local search marketing.

Use Leave a Reply in the section below sharing your thoughts or questions on this expansion strategy.


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6 Best Practices for Great Video Content

As video marketing becomes more common, especially when used with your local search marketing, it becomes easier for the average small business owner to add videos to their website or blog.  These videos can range from training videos, product demonstrations, meet the business owner videos and others. 


6 Ways to Create Great Video ContentKevin Jorgensen has written a delightful article with many practical tips on how to improve your small business videos.  He calls his article “6 Best Practices for Great Video Content.  Go to Social Media Today to read his insightful article.  Enjoy and prosper.

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Can Pinterest Help Your Local Search Marketing?

Local Search Marketing ST PaulIn previous posts, I review the popular social media sites and how they can support your local search marketing.  In this post I will review the newest and very popular Pinterest to see how it can help move your business to the top of the local Map. Enjoy and prosper.

Pinterest and Local Search Marketing




Top 5 Online Marketing and Advertising Strategies for Small, Local Businesses

Local Search Marketing st paul and Al Hanzal

Local Search Marketing

Small business advertising and marketing just got easier.  Now it is possible for a small business owner to advertise and market at little to no cost. 

In an article from, you will learn five ways to make your local advertising more effective.  Below is an outline of the five ways.  To read the details of the article click here: Top 5 Online Marketing and Advertising Strategies for Small, Local Businesses.

1. Claim your “Maps” listings and make sure they are set up properly for maximum publicity.  Some small business owners report that the Google Local listing alone is responsible for up to 50% of their new customer contacts.

2. Optimize your company for local search – which means putting your business in the third-party directories, data centers and Internet Yellow Pages that routinely figure heavily in the search engines.

3. Create a website that is specifically designed for local exposure.  Local SEO is not the same as traditional SEO.

4. If you have a website, spread the word.  Your web address should be on every business card, sign, invoice, check, advertisement, and email that exists for your organization.

5. Solicit online testimonials for your organization.  Give them an incentive and make it simple for them to do.

 Where have you found your best success with local marketing?

Eight Ways I Use Linkedin to Foster My Local Search Marketing


Local Search Marketing st paul and Al Hanzal

Linkedin and Local Search Marketing

In the most recent series of posts, I have been showing you how to use social media sites to enhance your local search marketing efforts. In this post, we will look at how to use Linkedin, to help with your local search marketing.

What Kind of Party Would You Have for Your Customers?

If you invited your customers to a local search marketing party, what kind of party would it be? Would it be a barbeque party with beer and brats? Or would it be a cocktail party with hors d’oeuvre and drinks?

You are more likely to find Twitter and Facebook participants at the beer and brat party. (Someone may even video the party and put it on Youtube!) This type of party is a great place to meet friends, exchange stories and jokes. From a business perspective, it’s a good place to sell retail products, e-books, find others to do viral marketing. The party might get loud and noisy.

The Linkedin customers will be found at the cocktail party. This group is older and more professional. They wear a white shirt and stripped tie rather than a T shirt with Save Mother Earth written in green letters. Loudness is replaces with a low humming sound. It’s a great place for selling local professional efforts.    Linkedin is a place for larger business sales.

Here are Eight Ways You Can Use Linkedin with Your Local Search Marketing EffortsLinkedin and local search marketing

1. Enhance your Local Search Marketing by Creating a Linkedin Profile with Geotags. Your profile is your brand on Linkedin. Let people know how your brand can work for them. Make sure your geographic indicators and key words are a major part of your profile. Internet search engines search Linkedin just as they do other websites. Think of your Linkedin site as another internet location where people can find local products and services.

2. Enhance your Local Search Marketing by Using the Linkedin Group function. You can join as many as 50 groups. When you join a group, you get special Linkedin privileges. Hang around with the people who will be your best customers or valuable resources for your local business. Build your own Linkedin business network around your geographic location. By applying traditional networking skills you add valuable contacts with key people. Here’s an example:

The Boston Networking Club on LinkedIn was founded by Jeff Popkin, owner of over 5,000 Linkedin participants, there’s a pretty good bet this group serves as a conduit for Popin’s main business locally. (John Jantsch)

3. Enhance your Local Search Marketing by Getting Linkedin Recommendations. You know customer reviews are a key ingredient in local search marketing. Today’s customer wants to hear about other customer experiences. Get plenty of Linkedin recommendations that show why people like your business. These recommendations will foster your local search marketing.

4. Enhance your Local Search Marketing by Sending Linkedin Contacts to your Website or
You can continue the conversation and the relationship you start on Linkedin by sending them to your website or blog. Linkedin can help you identify the key local people. They can learn more about you on your website or blog. Linkedin allows you to send people to three different links.

5. Enhance your Local Search Marketing by Checking on your Local Competition. You can use Linkedin to check out your local competition. Who is on their team? What type of recommendations are they getting? Who are their clients? Having this information can help your local search marketing.

6. Enhance your Local Search Marketing by Showing your Local Expertise. By participating in Linkedin’s Questions and Answers, you have the opportunity to ask questions of others as well as to give answer to their questions. When you participate in these Questions and Answers, always add your geographic identifier so people recognize your local expertise as part of your local search marketing.

7. Enhance your Local Search Marketing by Linkedin Visibility. Google recognizes Linkedin as a valuable internet site. Your Linkedin Profile is given its own URL. The search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing) will visit your Linkedin site. When they find the same geographic indicators and keywords on Linkedin as in other parts of your local search marketing, your SEO rating improves.

Linkedin and Local Search Marketing st paul

8. Enhance your Local Search Marketing with Linkedin Advertising Program. If your local customers are professional, Linkedin advertising may be an option for your local search marketing. Linkedin allows you to advertise by geography, industry, gender and age. This targeted advertisement program may be a useful tool for your local search marketing.


If you are looking for a quieter, more disciplined approach to social networking, Linkedin will enhance your local search marketing. Included this as one of your social media tools. Linkedin rules are more complicated than other social networking sites. Once you learn them, you will find Linkedin to be a very effective tool for your local search marketing program. 

What ways are you using Linkedin to support your local search marketing?

Simple Website Makeover Produces 20% Increase in Local Search Marketing!

Local Search Marketing st paul and Al Hanzal

How to modify your existing website!

Have you made your website local search engine friendly? 

If you are like most small businesses owners, you’ve created a website build for the world-wide web!  You’ve kept it even though it does not generated new customers. 

Given the way customers use the internet today, you now believe local search marketing is a better marketing tool for getting local customers.  What do you do about your outdated website?

No need to throw it out.  Make it more friendly to local search marketing.  You will get a higher ranking on the local search Map by making your existing website more compatible with the other efforts you are making with local search marketing. 

How do you do this?  In this Local Search Marketing-St Paul post, I will show you several ways you can make your existing website a partner in your local search marketing efforts.  Click here to learn how: Simple Website Makeover Products 20% Increase in Local Search Marketing Traffic!

What ways have you learned to modify your website to make it more local search friendly?  Share your ideas below.  Thank you.

Facebook Fan Page

Below is a short video I did for my Facebook Fan Page.   You can become a fan of Local Search Marketing St Paul by going to Fan Page.  Enjoy the video