How Consumers Use Smartphones: What Every Local Business Owner Needs to Know and Understand

How Consumers Use SmartphonesIf you are a local business owner, you need to pay attention to the mobile phone / smartphone revolution. Here’s why.

Google — the most-used search engine in the United States — recently interviewed 5,013 U.S. adults ages 18-64 to find out:

  • How consumers use smartphones in their daily lives
  • The kinds of information consumers search for using their smartphones
  • How smartphones influence buying decisions
  • How consumers multi-task with their smartphones
  • How consumers respond to mobile ads

Key Findings

Of special interest for small business owners, the report reveals that:

  • 81% of smartphone owners use their phones to browse the internet; and 77% access search engines (like Google) using their smartphones;
  • 89% use their smartphones to connect with others vie email and social networking sites;
  • 77% have contacted a local business after finding that business using their smartphones, and 44% have purchased from a local business as a result of information they found on their smartphones;
  • 88% acted within a day on information they found using their smartphones
  • 75% use their smartphones to get directions;
  • 46% visited retail websites using their smartphones;
  • 18% visited coupon websites using their smartphones;

What Does This Mean For You?

First, look up your own business on a smartphone, using keyword phrases like the products you sell combined with your location (i.e., insurance agency warrenton va, hair salon warrenton va).

Do you show up fast in search results? Are you happy with your search engine placement? (i.e., your position – ranking – in search engine results?

Does a “click to call” phone number show up for your business when you search for your business on a mobile phone?

Now, more than ever, you need to make your business findable via smartphone — and have a mobile-ready website in addition to your regular website (i.e., a streamlined website that is easy to navigate via mobile phone.)

What To Do Now

  • Claim your Google Places business profile. Make sure your Google Places page is optimized and complete. It’s easy to mess up your Google Places profile when you don’t know what you are doing. Email me or call (540) 937-7234 for expert help to make sure you do it right.
  • qr codes on business cards

    Print your custom qr code on your business cards

  • Consider moving your website to the SmallBiz WordPress Theme — a specially-designed software package that includes a built-in mobile website builder. Email me or call (540) 937-7234 for more information about the Small Biz WordPress Theme and how it can help your business.
  • Consider getting a QR code and putting it on your business cards, brochures, print ads and other print marketing materials.

Read the Full Report

Click here to view or download Google’s full report about consumer smartphone behavior.

QR Codes: Local Business Case Examples and Success Tips


Herbst Marketing QR Code

Success Tips: QR Codes for Local Business Marketing

In my last post about QR Codes, we discussed the whys and hows of getting a QR Code to promote your local business to smart phone users. The power and appeal of QR Codes as a local business marketing tool is that they make it easy and enticing for your customers and prospects to learn about your business information in ways that are novel, unexpected, fun and engaging.

Success Tip #1: Give Your Customers and Prospects a Reason Why

You can motivate your customers and prospects to scan and view your QR codes by offering a reward when they do so. A recent study found that people are more likely to scan QR codes when they know they can access discounts and additional information about a product or service. The more valuable the information linked to your QR code, the more people will want to scan it.

Develop a clear call to action that lets people know “what’s in it for them” to scan your QR code.

  • What are you offering?
  • What will happen when they scan your code?
  • Where will the code take your customers?
  • What do you want customers and prospects to do once they reach your landing page?

Imagine yourself in your customers’ and prospects’ shoes. If you were looking at your QR code and invitation to view it, would the offer be irresistible? Would it compel you to grab your phone, download an app and scan the code to view your content?

If the novelty of your QR code doesn’t get you excited enough to scan it, it won’t excite your customers either.

Vancouver Opera Example

The Vancouver Opera brought patrons to the theater through
this intriguing QR code campaign.
QR codes scattered around the city linked to a YouTube video presentation on the historical legend behind the opera. The posters displaying the QR codes were intriguing enough to get people scanning. The video content was relevant and interesting to their target audience.

Take-Away Lesson: Make it worth your audience’s time to scan your code and reward them for their efforts.

QR Codes and Scavenger Hunts

QR codes can also be used for fun and rewarding scavenger hunts. Place a web form on your landing pages that invites your customers to sign up for clues. Include pieces of a coupon on each landing page with the last piece linked in a QR code at your storefront.

This image is an example of a scavenger hunt that Red Door Interactive ran at South by Southwest in 2010. Players looking for clues were registered to win a new laptop at the end of the game.

QR Codes and Customer Reviews

Google ran a Favorite Places campaign that gave establishments across the US a QR code decal linking to their business profile with location information and customer reviews.
You can follow in Google’s footsteps by generating your own QR code that links to your Yelp! reviews or Google map location. Place your QR code in your window so passersby can get all the information they need even when your shop is closed.

Next: QR Codes for Wineries

Stay tuned for our next article, when we will explore the ways that wineries are using QR codes to stimulate wine sales.