This post was inspired by a section in The Ultimate Guide to Conversion Centered Design by Unbounce’s Oli Gardner. Get the book here.
Mobile conversions happen very quickly. They also fail very quickly. It’s the same with brand perception. Provide a disappointing mobile experience and you’ve not only lost your mobile conversion opportunity now, but the opportunity of a desktop conversion later.
“If you don’t treat me well when I’m on my bike, I won’t be showing up in my car.” -- Mr. Not Your Customer.
The mobile race is on
That title probably made we were going to discuss the carrier wars: AT&T vs. Verizon. Wrong. When it comes to local mobile optimization, your biggest competitor isn’t just another neighbourhood business. It’s “The Fastest Finger in the West”. Let me explain.
Your business is now competing against the person or persons in a social group who manages to rock out a search query faster than anyone else. Patrick may have a preference for Indian food, but if Jodie likes Thai and happens to hit a mobile optimized landing page, she’ll be booking a table before Patrick even finds a location. Thai it is. Nobody won Family Feud by being the slowest to hit the button. Convinced? Good. Here’s what you need to know to build mobile experiences that convert local visitors into customers.
Step 1: Convert on-the-go people
Mobile landing pages are really effective when converting on-the-go people, because you can be much more specific on a landing page then you can on a homepage. To convert people who don't have any attention to spare, you must answer the following questions immediately:
1: Will it work for me?
Greet their arrival with a simple statement that relates to their intent, using a formula like this: Welcome to establishment name, the differentiator of awesome in the name of the area you serve. For example, if someone were to search Google for “Thai lunch downtown Boston” (a phrase you may be bidding on in your PPC campaign), a good landing page headline would read: “Welcome to Thai-tanic, Pad Thai lunch specials in the heart of downtown Boston.” This headline confirms the search intent of your visitor, giving them the information they need to continue reading your page.
2: What will be there when I get there?
Qualify desire with a more detailed description of what you have to sell. This could be a dining menu, product listings, showtimes etc.. The key here is to have your content in a format that’s mobile friendly. A mobile friendly page with easily readable text is a much better option than a PDF download that would require lots of zooming in and out to digest the content.
3. How do I get there?
You must show two pieces of information here: where the business is on a map, and directions to get there from a current location. Seeing visually where you are and where you’re going makes a direct subconscious connection between you and your destination, effectively blocking out other options. Tie this into native wayfinding mobile apps like Google Maps.
However, only 17% of mobile searches actually occur “on the go” (source). This means you need to be aware of how people interact with local brands while sitting in the comfort of their own home (or office).
Step 2: Convert on-the-sofa people
The key here is to encourage a conversion that will happen later. If people are searching while sitting on their sofas, they’re most likely planning a trip to a local business sometime in the future, not this instant. Your strategy just became all about ensuring you are top-of-mind later on and the conversion goal of your landing page should reflect this.
Back to our restaurant scenario. Imagine that Jodie is relaxing on her couch, looking for somewhere to take the crew for dinner tomorrow night. She finds her favorite Thai place and is all set. Except that Patrick (on another piece of furniture) has found his favorite Indian hangout at the same time.
The mobile race is on again
This time, the key to the success of your mobile landing page is to enable the distribution of information quickly and easily. The choice of destination will be based on who can share their choice with their friends the fastest. The difference between on-the-go and on-the-sofa is that the latter relies solely on digital communication in the absence of physical cues. Your competitive advantage here comes from enabling your visitors to take the information on your mobile-ready site and share it with others more quickly than a competitor. You must allow visitors to share the following pieces of information in a format that sounds personalized.
Where are we going?
How do we get there?
A good example looks something like this:
“We’re going to Thai-tanic tonight. They have the biggest plate of Pad Thai in downtown Boston. Check out the menu and meet us there.”
Offer communication choices
When someone is ready to perform a future conversion (act now to convert later) you need to let them do so in their chosen medium. For instance, you could provide a link to share this tailored message via SMS, Email, Twitter or Facebook. Future conversions rely on combining the right message with the right medium. By “tailored” I mean a pre-built sentence based on the context of use, containing links to your mobile-ready content and map information.
A future conversion for your business may include making a reservation, booking an appointment or informing someone of an event. If so, make those options available on your landing page. Alternatively, take advantage of the fact that their mobile device is likely a phone and include a click-to-call (tel:) hyperlink, so users can easily call in to make a reservation.
Enabling sharing from your mobile site exposes you to faster growth potential. Anyone that has received a communication of this type will not only have you top of mind, but they’ll have your details in their phone for next time.
To summarize, you need to do two things to optimize local mobile experiences.
- Design for immediacy: to capture customers who are on-the-go
- Design for sharability: to capture customers who are in the planning phase
If you're bidding on "Best Thai food Boston" for a PPC ad, recognize that your visitors could fall into either category as the timing is unclear. But if you’re sending an email at 11:30am about a lunch special, you clearly have to send people to a page designed for immediacy.
Pick up your mobile phone and go to your website. Now go to two of your competitor’s websites. Who has the better mobile experience? I hope the answer is “Me”.
About Oli Gardner
Oli Gardner is Unbounce's Co-Founder and Creative Director. He is a former interaction designer who tends to use metaphor more than he probably should in his writing. Oli writes about conversion-centered design (a term he coined), marketing, and landing page optimization. You can follow him on Twitter @oligardner. Download the complete ebook to learn more about how to beat the average and use design to help increase your landing page conversion rates.