A while back, Google released an ebook on Micro Moments, the short yet critical touchpoints that consumers have with a brand via their mobile phones. They continue to provide research on this and you can catch up here.
I was re-reading their guide today and thought it'd be good to highlight the four types of moments discussed in the guide. These four moments offer SMB marketers an opportunity to reach customers when they are more concerned with content, action and value than brand names.
I find that many small business marketers take this moment for granted: most of their marketing is geared toward later stages where people know what they are looking for and are deciding to buy based on features or price.
Ignoring this moment is mistake because you're letting your competitors build trust and brand recognition before you even show up. If you want to be found by new prospects and be remembered when it's actually time to buy, then you need to start being found during the I-Want-To-Know moment.
How SMBs Can Leverage I-Want-To-Know Moments
Start thinking about topics that people search on when they don't know much about your industry or subject matter. Maybe try combining the 5W's (Who, What, When, Where, Why) with generic concepts related to your business (e.g. Why use SEO?) Write guides and blog posts that answer the big questions and explain concepts. Try videos, SlideShares and other content formats to get your knowledge in front of people. In my space, a great example of this is the Moz Beginner's SEO Guide — everyone SEO I know read this at some point early in their career and it helped shape their perception of SEO and Moz.
You can also use curation as a supplement or alternative to creating your own material. A good list of resources from around the web can help you show your knowledge, and you can leverage social media to source and curate the content. Just make sure that the list is robust and that it is targeted toward user needs.
These are important moments for restaurants, theaters, hardware stores and any other type of business that depends on people walking in off the street. This includes local professional services like accountants, general contractors and architects too.
Small businesses are still figuring out how local SEO works and it can be hard to convince them to put energy into being found online. Fortunately, there are some basic steps you can take to help yourself.
How SMBs Can Leverage I-Want-To-Go Moments
A lot of this comes downs to having your address in the right places on the web. That, and then getting reviews and links. Start by making sure your business address and contact information is visible and search crawlable on your website. You can also wrap the info in the schema.org LocalBusiness tag to make the info more search-engine friendly.
Next, claim your Google Business listing and your listings on sites like Yelp, CityPages, Whitepages.com, etc. You should also look at getting memberships with local chambers of commerce and local business directories to get some links.
If you want to go the extra mile, then start an AdWords campaign for your local area. A local PPC campaign will let you show up on a larger set of keywords than you initially can with SEO. You'll also be able to share your address and phone number in the ad with Location extensions.
Last, think about blogging and social media to promote your business and build your connections to local audiences. Consistently publishing will help you generate more search traffic and get you attention from other local businesses and press talking about your local scene.
Having content for these moments are how you nurture engagement across a customer journey. You can use these moments to bring new prospects into your sphere of influence and to boost retention of existing customers.
How SMBs Can Leverage I-Want-To-Do Moments
Google talks about How-to content to address this moment. The image mentions YouTube and video is powerful, but don't obsess about producing video on a limited budget. An email series, an ebook, podcasts, or a series of social posts could also be effective. Match the medium to your resources and style, and focus on providing usable instructions and guidance.
Note: You might take this offline by starting a Meetup or offering classes at your store. Hardware stores have been doing this for years and you also see gyms, craft shops and other using this approach to get people in-store and connect with them. YMMV, but you might try a Groupon offer to boost traffic. If you go this route, then make sure to record the session and also do your best to get email addresses so you can continue marketing after the event.
This is the moment we've all been waiting for. And this is the moment where small businesses are going to have the most competition in search and other channels.
Any firm with an online presence wants to be there when someone is looking to buy. If you want to be part of this moment, then you'll need to be strategic and aggressive.
How SMBs Can Leverage I-Want-To-Buy Moments
The strategy part comes down to knowing who you want to reach (first time buyers, business travelers, specific geographic areas). The aggressiveness is about having a presence everywhere that makes sense and a few you aren't so sure about.
- A brick and mortar example: you want business travelers staying at a nearby hotel to use your place for meetings. You emphasize your location (2 blocks from Union Square), ample seating, lunch deals and status as a local fixture. You then use a mix of paid search, blog posts about the area and meeting accommodations (3 great places in Union Square for a lunch meeting), a landing page for bookings, and a social campaign with geo-targeted ads and hashtags to get attention.
- An online example: you sell a popular coffee maker. You want to make sure that you show up in mobile searches whether they happen at home, on the go, or in someone else's store. First, make sure that you have a responsive site or mobile-friendly site, so searchers can quickly purchase from their phone.
Then, you make sure your product shows up in search by using the right keywords to describe it, have your pricing show up in organic search results by using rich snippets/microdata; post your sale on message boards for coffee enthusiasts, run Shopping Campaigns on Adwords, Bing Ads, and Facebook Ads; and send an email to your subscriber list. You might also try banners and listing your product on Ebay, Amazon and other marketplaces.
The examples might seem a little excessive for your budget, time or knowledge. It's okay — even expected — that you won't do all of this stuff. But don't sit on your hands. Start testing a few of these options and you'll be able to develop some scalable multi-channel campaigns over time. Start small, set goals, and try optimizing a channel before moving on to the next one.
Seize the (Micro) Moment
Our phones, tablets, and phablets are now extensions of our beings. Yes, that is kind of scary but it can't be denied. As a marketer, you have to embrace this change and start thinking of mobile as the first place people will see you and the place where they'll decide if you're worth their time and money.
Micro moments represent a great starting point for figuring this stuff out because they are targetable, near-universal experiences. Take the time to align content and promotions to these four moments and you'll see growth in acquisition, engagement, and conversions through mobile search traffic and other channels.
Featured from Death to Stock Photos (great service, check it out)
All other images from Micro Moments: Your Guide to Winning The Shift to Mobile