Why Your Small Business Cannot Afford To Ignore Micro-Moments in 2017

Google believes we “are seeing a fundamental change in the way people consume media”, so how can your business react?

Why Your Small Business Cannot Afford To Ignore Micro-Moments in 2017

‘Micro-moments’ are the talk of 2017 within the digital marketing community, and your business should be taking note. Labelled by Google, micro-moments refer to the hundreds of interactions we (read: your customers) make each day with our mobile devices.

Google believes that we “are seeing a fundamental change in the way people consume media”. These include actions such as checking the time or weather forecast, or using your phone as an alarm clock. How many of us wear watches but generally reach for our phones to check the time? I’d bet that I’m not the only one.

Then, there are ‘those’ moments. The I want-to-know moments, I want-to-go moments, I want-to-do moments, and I want-to-buy moments—that really matter. These are what Google are referring to with the phrase ‘micro-moments’, and they really are game changing for brands and consumers alike when you stop, grab a coffee, and read about it.

Like right now for example!

So what are micro-moments?

Micro-moments happen when we unconsciously reach for our mobile device, to learn something, to do something, to watch something, to explore something, or to buy something.

Micro-moments are segmented into four categories:

  1. I want to know
  2. I want to go
  3. I want to do
  4. I want to buy

They are the moments when we come across two options and need to find out what others say. In fact, 82% of smartphone users consult their phones whilst in a store deciding which product to buy.

They are the moments when we decide it’s time to visit a new country and instinctively reach for our phone to find out the price of a flight. 69% of us search for travel ideas in those spare moments – on the train or whilst stopping off for a coffee. What’s really interesting is that nearly half of these travellers will book their holiday through an entirely different channel.

They’re the moments when we wake up to discover that we have no hot water, and we scour the web trying to self-diagnose the issue, before finding a local plumber who can actually fix the issue – like me, today, this morning. I’m not alone, since 91% of us look up information on our smartphones whilst in the middle of a task.

Great, so what can micro-moments do for my business?

Think of micro-moments as an easy way of categorising your marketing activity. It’s so simple and brilliant, and removes the guff. If you’re a business owner or marketing manager, you’re probably as bored as I am with hearing terms like ‘automation’. Whilst I agree that, when implemented correctly, automation can be hugely powerful, when It comes to small business I believe that for the most part, it’s over-simplified by those that sell it, and under-estimated (in terms of time/resource required) by those who invest in it. I believe that it’s better to do fewer things very well, than many things averagely.

Micro-moments are simple to understand for the business owner and marketing manager, revolving proper verbs and human action. Frankly, I find it refreshing.

Each of your marketing activities can be placed into one of the four categories to create a collection of tactics, channels, and media that aligns with your overall marketing objectives. You can make clear sense of it, and it doesn’t require heavy software.

  • I want to know: blog posts, answers/FAQs, tools
  • I want to do: videos, how-tos, step-by-step
  • I want to go: directions, landing pages, citations, directory listings
  • I want to buy: in-store, online

Google believes that these micro-moments, when added together, ultimately determines how that [the consumer journey] ends”. It’s worth noting that these micro-moments do not have to occur in the above order.

Optimising For Micro-Moments With Targeted Landing Pages

Let’s look at an example:

Meet Jennifer, a 29-year old woman and general manager of a fantastic family-run gastro pub and B&B in the heart of the Peak District, after her parents decided to step back from the business a couple of years ago.

Meet Dave and Nicole, a couple in their late twenties from London with an adventurous spirit. Dave and Nicole are watching TV one evening when they decide it’s time to get away for a weekend. They both love good food and drink, and hiking in the fresh air.

I want to know:

After throwing some ideas around, Dave jumps on his smartphone to research great places to explore in the UK.

Jennifer, armed with her knowledge of micro-moments, is well-prepared for people like Dave and Nicole. She has kept close tabs on Answer The Public, Google Trends, and some well-known travel community websites, collecting information on the types of questions that people are asking, and the types of comments that visitors to the Peak District have been sharing.

Jennifer has also ensured that her website is fully optimised for the mobile experience, knowing that “69% of smartphone users are likely to buy from companies whose mobile sites or apps help them to easily find the answers to their questions.”

In response, Jennifer has:

  • Created a blog post on ‘Best walks in the Peak District’, which covers some unbiased reviews of some walking routes around her area. She’s collected research from the local visitor information website, and from travel community feedback. The list is informative and includes maps, difficulty ratings, photographs, and compelling copy.
  • Made use of Schema and has secured a Google Answer Box for her list of walks. This is big win for Jennifer, since she knows that her post will dominate mobile search results.

Jennifer knows that if she can be successful in sharing these stunning walks and provides real value content, she will most likely attract bookings since her B&B is perfectly located.

I want to do:

The couple are really interested in the walks covered by Jennifer’s post. The routes sound great, and the copy has captured their interest. They want to dive deeper into what they can expect, so start to look for richer media to see if they can catch a glimpse of what they can expect.

Jennifer, prepared for this of course has;

  • Filmed some amateur drone footage of the routes whilst walking her dog, Frodo. After receiving a drone last Christmas, Jennifer has made a montage of her walks, showing off some of the beautiful scenery that surrounds her. She’s uploaded this to YouTube and other video websites and links to it in her post (it also ranks independently for a handful of keywords).
  • Ensured her company Instagram and Facebook profiles have been kept up-to-date and fresh with lovely photos of their food, behind-the-scenes shots in the kitchen, her local farm suppliers, beautiful surrounding scenery, and of course Frodo. She’s used hashtags to reach a wider audience and to gain a stronger following. These profiles are also linked to from her website.
  • Has used ALT tags and permissions on her website, to let Google Images and other image engines to index her imagery.

Jennifer knows that using a combination of rich media is likely to stand out amongst her competitors, and will appeal to a wider audience.

I want to go:

Dave and Nicole are captivated by the Peak District, and Jennifer’s post has got them in the spirit of adventure. They decide that they want to visit next weekend – but will they stay at Jennifer’s? Both armed with their mobile devices, they search for accommodation alternatives to compare options.

Jennifer’s post attracted Dave and Nicole to visit the exact area where her Pub/B&B is located, giving her a distinct advantage by localising their search to accommodation around her. To increase her chances against her local competitors, she has;

  • Filled in her Google Places profile with as much information as possible, and has kept her NAP (name, address, phone number) details consistent with other directories such as 192, Scoot, and Thomson Local. Her listing tops the local listings, and the name rings a bell with Dave and Jennifer.
  • She has been disciplined, asking her customers to leave reviews for over two years, and has built up a really great reputation that is proudly displayed publically online.
  • She has provided clear directions on her company website, with information on roads, trains, local taxi firms, and other useful information such as;

Dave and Nicole can see that Jennifer’s is a fantastic option and well received by other visitors.

I want to buy:

As Dave and Nicole browse her website, Jennifer is clued up with data from Analytics and demographic information from her Facebook Page. She’s well aware that it’s game time, and has given herself the best chance of securing a booking by ensuring that;

  • Her website is optimised for mobile, with a consistent design that uses beautifully shot photographs and easy to read text. The user-experience is a pleasure, and the website loads quickly using AMP technology.
  • Professional images of the rooms and food are easily accessible and set the tone of the quality of her business. This stands out against her competitors who use dark photos, probably taken on a smartphone.
  • Testimonials and her fantastic ratings are clearly visible and consistent throughout the website, reinforcing reasons to stay at her B&B vs competitors.
  • There are multiple ways to book including a click-to-call phone number and a simple and secure booking form that are both tracked in analytics. Jennifer knows through call analytics that 73% of her customers prefer to speak over the phone, so she’s made sure that her phone number is clearly visible at the top of the page and that the phone is always manned by one of her front-of-house team.

After a short phone call, Dave and Nicole are booked in and excited for their weekend away. Jennifer has gained another customer from her knowledge and understanding of using micro-moments to capture new opportunities. What started out as a couple watching TV, turned into a booking for a smart small business owner some 150 miles away.

Where do I start?

Understanding micro-moments is a case of stepping into the shoes of your customer. Think about the last three items you purchased. How did you end up buying them? What were your interactions? When did said item/experience first enter your mind? Grab a pen and paper and note these down. This is a great way of understanding the mechanics.

Here is an example from yours truly:

Meat syringe – My first interaction was one of two books that my colleagues bought me for my recent birthday (Pitt Cue). This triggered me to think about what I could BBQ next, since I got into it last summer and really want to up my game (I want to know).

I decided to look up blogs that I could add to my Feedly app. I researched top BBQ blogs and ended up on Steve Raichlen’s website, BarbequeBible.com, which lead me into some recipes and techniques (I want to do).

I came across this post and realised that I don’t have a syringe. Of course, I wanted one, and followed a link on that post to his product and then followed the button to his Amazon listing (I want to buy). The only downside here was that it took me to the US website, and consequently I tried to find it on the UK website with no luck. However, another product with great reviews got lucky and I received my meat syringe just a few days ago.

Though I’ve BBQ’d over the winter period, I haven’t yet used my syringe, but my guess is that I’ll be back on to Steve’s website to learn more about how I can do this. I’m very much planning to buy his book, ‘How to Grill’ as soon as I’m done reading Pitt Cue and Hawksmoor. In fact, it’s in my wishlist and ready to go. So whilst Steve hasn’t benefitted from my custom yet, he certainly will do in future.

What to do next

This is the first section of a three-part series that I’ve written on digital trends for 2017. My next post covers landing pages, and how they can help your business to not only connect with your customers in those micro-moments, but can seriously increase your conversions.


Part two: Optimising For Micro-Moments With Targeted Landing Pages

Alex Minchin is founder and director of SEO agency Zest Digital

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