The Art of Capitalizing on Google’s ‘Micro-Moments’

Mobile Marketing to Inspire EngagementThe days of ‘Must Watch TV’ are over. The captivated audiences of yesteryear no longer exist.

Mobile is changing the way we live. Our days are hectic and broken into mere moments. We have no patience for more than 140 characters, let alone a 60-second commercial. Marketing must be useful at the exact moment we need it.

Google refers to these critical minutes as ‘Micro-Moments.’ In moments, consumers explore where to find products, evaluate whether they are worth it, and even uncover how to use them.

According to Google, 82 percent of smartphone users turn to their phone to influence a buying decision while in a store, helping to determine the final product selection even at the very last moment.

We also pursue big goals in small moments, like planning a vacation. According to Google, 69 percent of consumers search for travel ideas during spare moments. Say, standing in line for a sandwich. Then, nearly half of those consumers book their travel through a separate channel. We are these consumers. We search on our phone, then hop on a desktop at work, and then jump on an iPad at night.

In order to attract and retain customers, businesses need to be timely and relevant at each moment people look for or interact with your products or services.

Solve the What/When/Where/Why of Your Marketing
When do your customers need your services? Define these moments. Where are they at these moments? What are they doing at these moments? Examine the journey they take before, during, and after each moment in the purchase cycle.

The Power of ‘Near Me’ Marketing
People want what’s near them. ‘Near me’ search volume has increased 34-times since 2011, with 80 percent of “near me” searchers in Q4 2014 coming from mobile, according to Google.

How are your potential customers searching? If they are looking for products or services like yours close to them, then optimize your search marketing for local searches — paid and organic.

Steps to Capitalize on ‘Micro-Moments’
To maximize your marketing ROI from ‘Micro-Moments,’ follow these six steps:

  • Step 1: Start With Your Website
    Some of you may cringe, but you really need to blow your website to smithereens if it’s not yet mobile-friendly. Consumers need to get what they want from your site no matter what their device. Make sure your website is responsive for different screen dimensions.
  • Step 2: Directories and Social Media
    If you have a storefront or meet with customers face-to-face (e.g., realtors, dentists, landscapers), you need your company in all local directories, local review sites and relevant social media platforms, such as Yelp.
  • Step 3: Localize Your Google Ads
    Use local extensions, which show your business address, phone number and a map marker with your ad. Show more information and take up more real estate in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). For example, if you are a retailer, consider using Google’s Local Inventory Ads. Local inventory ads market in-stock inventory at your stores to online shoppers. When a consumer searches for, say, a bicycle, they see bicycles in stock at stores near them. The consumer can then drive to the store and buy the exact model they saw online.
  • Step 4: Use Geo-Targeting
    Does your business have multiple locations around the US? Have customers in only one part of the country? Then stop wasting your money! Target only your audience, through city, state, zip code or radius targeting.
  • Step 5: Use Geo-Fencing
    Geo-fencing allows you to send messages to people’s smartphones when they enter a predefined geographic area, like a shopping mall. Identify your consumers’ state in a specific geographic spot and then offer content and deals that correspondingly make them happy. For example, if you’re an ice-cream brand, send a message or coupon to users on hot summer weekends as they walk down a grocery aisle. Be contextually helpful, not intrusive.
  • Step 6: Local Google Ad Campaigns on Steroids
    How about mixing zip code targeting, ad scheduling and in-store promotions? Let’s say your consumer is walking down the street near your restaurant at lunchtime. She searches on her phone for a place to eat near her. Then, your Google PPC ad appears with a free appetizer promotion. Later that day, your ad changes to a free dessert with dinner. Repeat customers!

Map the Customer Journey
A customer’s journey to your doorstep or online cart can be a long, winding road. The two-step sales funnel doesn’t exist. There are instead many ‘Micro-Moments.’

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Elizabeth Cagen is director of strategy and operations at Boston-based marketing, branding and design agency Stratabeat.