Just In: Nearly 60% of All Searches Come from Mobile

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Okay, so the truth is this is an estimate. However, it’s likely more accurate than any other out there.

According to an article at Search Engine Land, Google’s said more than 50% of searches come from mobile devices.

Now, they’re reporting that Hitwise has done some extensive research of their own and believes that number sits around 58%. To get the data, Hitwise analyzed several hundred million searches across both smartphones and tablets.

So, whether the number’s at 58% or not doesn’t matter. What we do know is that most online searches happen on mobile devices.

By the way, they found this pretty cool data too, which shows the percentage of mobile searches by industry:

mobile graph

Is Your Website Optimized for Mobile Searchers?

Having a responsive design is not enough. It’s a good and necessary start because Google says you should have one. Don’t have a responsive design, and it will hurt your search rankings.

But, just being responsive won’t be enough over the long haul. For example, your site may look good for mobile devices, but you could still have buttons that are way too small for people to click with their fingers.

So, instead of buying or clicking to call, they click the wrong button and go to the wrong page and get lost. Or, they get frustrated because they can’t click the button and leave.

Sales lost right there.

Or, maybe you sell a service and rely a lot on them to read your content to sell themselves on you. If they have to constantly zoom in and out and scroll around to read, that takes more work.

The more work they have to do, the less likely they are to buy eventually.

Your website could also be too fancy and take way too long to load. Every second counts. Even though data download rates are increasing, you still have to keep your website compact (in terms of file and image sizes), to make sure it loads quickly enough.

You see, it’s all about user experience. They just want to click a couple buttons and get what they want now. And that’s it.

The smoother and more valuable you make their experience, the more sales you’re going to make. With online marketing, it really is that simple.

4 Business Processes You Should Outsource (And Why)

Today, it’s so easy to outsource. And, you can outsource literally every aspect of your business.

Websites make it easy to find contractors from around the globe willing to do anything. The cloud makes it possible to get just about any kind of software. SaaS means you can get what used to be expensive software at affordable monthly prices.

But that doesn’t mean you should outsource everything you do. So what should you outsource?

Some suggestions:

  1. Website Design

Let’s put it bluntly: design is hard to learn. First of all, coding is a language all its own. It’s not easy to pick up on. And it takes a lot of time to do, even if you are already a designer.

Your other option? Use a template website that you can modify. But, you can guarantee you won’t be able to make your website look exactly the way you want. Or one that’s best for your customers.

Plus, a professional design makes a clear, positive impact on your website’s visitors. And on top of that, you need to do a fair amount of routine updating to keep your website operable and secure. It’s a lot of grunt work you don’t want to do.

  1.  Business Apps

If your company doesn’t have the money for an IT team, outsource your business applications as much as possible. Office 365 and Google Apps work great for your typical business functions. For example, you can get all the basic office applications for just $5 per month.

That means you don’t have to deal with all the updates and bugs or licensing. It’s all done for you by Microsoft at an affordable price.

  1. Anything You’re Not the Best At

As a business owner, you know your strengths. You’re a good bookkeeper, but maybe you’re not the best salesperson. In business, it always pays off best when you focus on your strengths, rather than improving your weaknesses.

So make a list of what you do well. And make a list of what you struggle with. Find ways to outsource what you struggle with.

  1. SEO

Make no mistake about it. search engine optimization is amazingly more complex and time-consuming than it was just a few years ago.

Unless you want to be a full-time SEO specialist for your company, you should outsource it. But that’s where many companies make a mistake.

You can outsource it cheaply, but you’re guaranteed trouble if you do. Instead, talk to multiple vendors to see how they work. Use one that charges at least competitive rates, if not more.

It’s far easier and less costly to start a business these days. But you still have to make wise decisions as you outsource. And hopefully, these get you on the right path to doing that.

At it Again: Google Experimenting with Local Business Cards

What new ranking changes does Google have in store? You never actually know. They test out a lot more than you think. Many of their changes never even roll out.

At Search Engine Land, SEO experts say Google is testing out a new feature called “local business cards.” And they’ve actually confirmed this with Google. You may have seen these already. They look something like this:

local-1

However, this hasn’t been rolled out on a large scale yet. So it’s possible you haven’t seen these. Currently, they’re being tested at the local level, so you won’t notice them for large companies or brands.

What Could Be Going on With These “Local Business Cards?”

You never know exactly what Google’s doing with any of its changes. As we like to say so much on this blog, you have to remember they are a for-profit company. Currently, they are worth $474 billion, which puts them about $79 billion behind Apple ($553 billion).

As with any company, the goal is to be number one. So how’s Google going to get there?

Well, their top revenue generator is Adwords PPC campaigns. And it’s their top dog by a large margin.

Take a look at how Google ranks local businesses to a certain extent right now:

This is called Google’s local 3-pack. Before the 3-pack, there was the 7-pack. And SEO experts believe that Google reduced the number from 7 to 3 so more businesses would move over to Adwords to get on the front page of Google.

Now if you notice, going back to the “local business card,” it shows two pieces of content from local businesses. And again, it takes up the top space of the first page of the search results.

That’s less real estate for other small businesses to use. And how many people will click around on that carousel to see the other results anyway? Many web designers advise against those scrolling carousels on websites because users don’t like them.

So that means user experience gets compromised to some degree. And that leaves only one reason Google could do this:

To roll in more profits.

Likely, Google wants to continue to optimize their PPC revenues, their most significant source of profits. They may be able to compromise user experience a little. So, they’re testing it out to see what happens.

Stay tuned to i5ww’s blog for more updates on this issue as it evolves.

Google: Mobile Makes Up Nearly 88% of All “Near Me” Searches

ThinkstockPhotos-517470080Do you know what a “micro-moment” is?

Google’s been coining the phrase over at their blog, which highlights their latest search data.

What’s their latest finding?

Just how prevalent “near me” searches (the “micro-moments”) have become. In fact, they’ve increased 146% year over year.

And it makes sense that mobile is where most of these searches happen.

But the real question is: are you ready to market to possible customers that do “near me” searches?

  1. First, More Data

Will consumers do “near me” searches for your business? According to Google research, these searches happen across every type of business.

Some examples they give include:

  • Hotels
  • Car rental outfits
  • Nail salons
  • Shoe stores
  • Pizza parlors
  • Banks

Basically, Google concludes, if you have a physical location, consumers will use “near me” searches for products or services your business offers.

So How Do You Make Yourself “Ready” for These Kinds of Searches?

We’ve covered the SEO part of this. By now, you know enough about SEO that we don’t have to explain all the ins and outs of how that works.

What we really want to emphasize: a responsive design.

SEO helps people find your site instead of your competitor’s. An attractive responsive design keeps them glued to your website so they’re more likely to buy from you than anyone else. And a useful design closes the sale.

Your digital “storefront” is more important than your physical storefront. While it’s important to have an attractive design, it’s more important that consumers can get what they want in as few clicks as possible.

Have you ever heard of the “3-click” rule? It means that most consumers will click on your website about 3 pages deep. They’ll click your main navigation, click again on the next page, and once more.

But, for most consumers, that’s about it.

Take a Look at an Example

So let’s say you run one of those stores Google mentioned people search for – a shoe store. In fact, you have a specialty shoe store that uses advanced video technology to analyze people’s feet and give them the perfect shoe for their needs and foot shape.

To engage them immediately, you may want a video on your home page showing exactly how your process works. Then, as they scroll down, they learn more about your business. By the way, this type of website is called a “parallax scrolling” website.

Here’s a screenshot of, and a link to, a website that shows parallax scrolling in action:

And it makes perfect sense for mobile users. You’ll also notice it follows the “3 click” rule.

By the way, you can learn more about i5ww’s responsive design and SEO services when you follow those links.

Top 4 Business Tools to Get You Through 2016

ThinkstockPhotos-100820219Have you ever scoured the web, trying to find the right tools and applications you need to run your business just the way you want? It’s hard work.

In fact, it can be a full-time job just testing all those tools and apps to find the right ones. Yes, you can find that many out there.

So here’s a list of some of the best and most useful apps to use in 2016. You’ll save lots of time downloading, installing, and testing the apps, getting straight to the right ones you need instead:

  1. Use Upwork for Outsourcing

Odesk and Elance have combined to form Upwork. There, you can choose from contractors around the globe to help you complete just about any kind of project you can imagine. It’s up to you to select the best contractor. But Upwork has plenty of measures built in to help you make a good choice.

  1. Make Zenefits Your HR Department

This company hasn’t had its IPO…yet. The reason they’re able to grow so fast is they charge you absolutely nothing to use their service. Zenefits makes their money when benefits providers pay them for you using their services.

Payroll, benefits, time, compliance, and every other human resources task you can imagine gets done through Zenefits. And because they’re already so popular, they’ll be around for a long time to come.

  1. Pipedrive Works as a Sales CRM for Small Teams

Setup for this app takes just minutes. It’s simple and visual. You won’t miss out on following up with a single lead. You get a 30-day free trial to start. And, it’s dirt cheap to use when they ask you to pay.

Learn more about Pipedrive here.

  1. Invoice and Payment Management – Freshbooks

Do you have a lot of customers that want to pay with Paypal? Freshbooks has an awesome unadvertised deal with Paypal where they charge just 50 cents to receive money from Paypal customers, assuming those customers are also in the United States. Figure that saves you around $3,000 – $4,000 per year on every $100,000 in revenue from Paypal customers.

But that’s not all. Freshbooks is super-simple for managing invoices and customers. It’s SaaS too, so you don’t have to worry about maintenance, upgrades, or fixing bugs. You also get great customer service. And they’re one of those startups that always adds new features, as demanded by users.

Today, they also offer basic accounting functions, although they’re not as comprehensive as QuickBooks…yet.

Those are some of your best options for business tools here in 2016. If you need them, you won’t regret using them.

YouTube: A New Marketing Tactic to Watch in 2016

ThinkstockPhotos-45810721510 years later, YouTube still isn’t turning a profit for Google. According to this analysis (and if you cross-examine it with others), it invests a lot of money into content and better streaming technology. So, though it turns $4 billion in revenue, it barely breaks even each year.
Google, who owns it, fortunately has fairly good business sense. They don’t want to see YouTube break even on profits if they don’t have to. At the same time, they’re smart enough to continue improving the benefits of YouTube so people want to use it more, and YouTube can likely become more profitable.

At i5 web works, we’re a big fan of using YouTube videos to promote your business. And today we’d like to explain to you some emerging reasons why:

  1. Most Companies Use YouTube to Drive Brand Awareness, But Data Shows It Increases Sales Directly

For many businesses, especially smaller ones, “brand awareness” isn’t the metric you want. You want sales. Brand awareness can come later.

Google performed an analysis of hundreds of YouTube marketing campaigns. They found that 35% of campaigns that included the “TrueView” option (that lets you skip the ads after viewing them for just 5 seconds), saw an increase in purchase intent. The average lift for each campaign was 4%.

For people who watched YouTube videos for 30 seconds or more, 61% of campaigns experienced a difference in purchase intent.

  1. What Works with YouTube Videos?

While YouTube doesn’t have a precise formula for success, YouTube videos do have some science behind them. For example, Google’s research found that people will watch videos longer when you show celebrities or make the videos funny. Also, if you show your logo during the video, viewers respond better when they see it attached to one of your products.

You also want to show your logo later in the video. People are more likely to skip your video if you show your brand early on, and especially if you do so within the first 5 seconds.

If you insist on not taking a humorous approach in your video (although you should consider it because it helps in ad recall a ton), then you should go with a suspenseful or emotional route in the first five seconds.

With music, humor again wins the day. However, brands see better engagement when they avoided music entirely in the first few seconds of the video.

Does YouTube work to boost your sales? Absolutely.

Consider adding it to your marketing mix in 2016.