By Susan Weinman
At the time of this writing, consumers are performing 660 million searches per day on mobile devices. That represents 15 percent of all Web searches. By the time you read this article, the number will have grown.
According to marketing research company ComScore Inc., smartphones are now used by one in four U.S. mobile subscribers. Estimates are that by the third quarter of 2011, they will outsell “feature phones.” Add to that the sales of iPads and other tablet-type brands, which should see $55 million sales in 2011, and you see the trend toward mobile Internet use is a powerful tool to market small businesses.
What Does This Mean for Self-Storage Operators?
A few years ago, all a self-storage owner had to do was buy a Yellow Pages ad and wait for customers to call. Those calls converted well to sales because Yellow Pages is a “directional medium,” meaning customers only rely on that type of advertising when they have a need. While statistics show that that Yellow Pages is still a high-performing advertising tool, consumers now also turn to the Internet—on the desktop and on their phones—when looking for local businesses.
As the mobile channel evolves, data shows that the consumer doing mobile search for a product or service is a highly qualified buyer. Consumers using their smartphones to conduct a business search have an immediate need and are likely to make a purchase within a short period of time. In addition to search and directory applications, they will often use a navigation or mapping application to perform the search and have a high likelihood of downloading directions or maps if they find a local business that matches their needs. This means more physical site visits and a better opportunity to close the sale.
Taking it a step further, the newest technology in development is “geo-fencing,” which will have the ability to track a GPS search to see whether the prospect actually did go to the facility. You can’t get better tracking data than that!
Remember that self-storage is geocentric, meaning our customers typically come from within a 3- to 5-mile radius. That’s what makes local search so relevant to this industry. The new local search is called “hyperlocal,” which is the type of search that has been feeding the growth of mobile-advertising revenue.