Let me start by telling you a story.
I’ve recently moved house, so have had to find new EVERYTHING – doctor, dentist, childcare, you name it. So I knew I needed to make a dentist appointment and I was travelling on the train for the next 40 mins or so. What would you do, would you wait until you got home to check a directory or turn on the computer to do an online search? Well I didn’t wait, I pulled out my phone while on the train platform and did some searching for a dentist that was fairly local to where I live. I needed it to be close enough that I wasn’t spending an hour travelling to/from an appointment.
So I found one that I hadn’t known about, which was really close. I did some searching on google and facebook to see what people thought of this dental practice. The feedback was really positive, so I thought that this was a good option for me. (I didn’t mention, but I have always had a fear of dentists so it was really important that I find somebody who was both good and gentle!).
So my next step was I opened up their website and clicked through to the Contact Us page. Brilliant…… a contact form, couldn’t be easier than that! So I filled in the form to send an email asking if I could book an appointment, figuring that I would probably get a reply later in the day but at least I’d started the process. I put my phone away and when I heard it beeping I didn’t think it could possibly be a reply so soon but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was!
To cut a long story short, in the space of 3-4 emails back and forth to confirm details I had booked an appointment and had received an automated email confirming the appointment, so I didn’t have to try to find a pen to write it down at the train station! Job done (quickly, easily, efficiently and all in the time I had spare while waiting for a train!), I was one very happy customer and will recommend this dentist to anybody before I’ve even gone for my first appointment!
So you’re probably thinking “yeah, that’s all well and good, but you’re a techy so obviously you’d be using the technology like this and most people don’t do that”. Am I right? Hmmm lets look at the statistics around this.
If you have a smartphone in your pocket, then chances are, you will pull it out and search for what you are looking for using that.
71% of Irish people own a smartphone, so there is a really good likelihood that your customer is that person with a phone in their pocket which they are going to use to try to find you.
In fact, 82% have researched a product/service on their phone and 36% have followed through and purchased a product/service. On their phone!
Where they are using their phone to do this research is also interesting – 95% while at home, 78% out and about and 63% while in a shop.
So the first category, who are at home, you may have expected those to use a computer or laptop as they were at home but think about how much easier it is for them to use the phone that they probably already have in their hand!
The second category is obvious, people kill time while waiting for public transport or use their phone to contact people while on the go and while they are using the phone anyway if they think of a product/service that they are interested in then they will automatically search for that on the phone too.
The third category is very interesting, and personally I’ve done this too. If I’m in a shop and I’m thinking about buying a product I will use my phone to look up reviews and to compare prices (Pricespy is a website set up for this exact purpose!).
In addition, most social media use is via a mobile device. Literally, most people access social media via their phone. So if you are targetting your customers via social media and then want them to click through to your website to contact you or even to purchase, it’s a safe assumption that they are coming to your site on a mobile device.
So the upshot of all of this is that chances are if somebody does a search for you and finds your website then they are on a mobile phone. Which means that it is absolutely crucial, critical, IMPERATIVE, can’t emphasise enough how important it is, that your site renders and displays correctly when they click through from the search results. Note that this is assuming that firstly they are able to find you on a search engine and secondly that google has rated your site as mobile friendly – if both of these are not in place then there is no chance that they are even clicking through to your website!
To display correctly on a mobile phone, your website must be mobile friendly. Responsive means mobile friendly but also friendly to all other device sizes, as a responsive site detects the screen size of the user’s device and adjusts to display correctly on it. The easiest way to check whether a site is responsive is to look at it on your browser on your computer and resize the screen. If it adjusts correctly to look good as the browser window gets smaller, then it is a responsive site.
There are other elements to a good responsive design, apart from adjusting to the screen size. You should also be able to click on any clickable elements on the screen. So icons, menu items and other links should be finger sized or bigger. Images should certainly resize to the screen, your user shouldn’t have to scroll to see the full picture. That goes for your site too. And your visitor should be able to contact you from your website in the least amount of clicks, so keep all of your contact details prominently displayed.
As with all marketing and selling elements of business, make sure that your customer can go from wanting your service to contacting you in the easiest path possible. Because if you don’t, somebody else will and when somebody else does then they will get the sale.
[ Smartphone usage stats were sourced from this article. ]