By Danette Hill
Today, consumers use mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets more than laptops or desktop computers to search for local businesses. In fact, mobile Internet usage is estimated to take over desktop use by next year.
While it’s important to ensure your self-storage website is at least viewable on a smartphone or other mobile device, it’s not enough. It also has to be user-friendly on a small screen, allowing visitors to quickly find what they need. For example, your phone number, address, directions, services offered, etc., should be easily visible these smaller screens. In addition, your website should load quickly and be easy to navigate with touch capability. Slow load times are simply frustrating and will drive prospective customers away. In fact, you might be surprised that a visitor will abandon a site in less than five seconds if he doesn’t see what he’s looking for immediately!
Here are five reasons to focus on a mobile-Web strategy for your self-storage business.
1. Eighty percent of all searches on smartphones are for local businesses and services. Forget about the good old days when everyone was tethered to their desktops. Today, consumers are accessing the Internet through their mobile devices no matter where they are. If you don't have a mobile-friendly website, customers won't be able to find and access your services easily. If your website isn’t mobile by now, you might be missing out on a lot of business.
2. Sixty-one percent of local searches result in purchases. Your on-the-go customers want equally on-the-go results. Today's customers carry smartphones everywhere and use them for split-second decision-making. They want to take action, and they want to do it now. If a potential customer can’t find what he wants, he’ll search for it somewhere else. Make yourself accessible with a mobile presence and you'll be available anywhere, any time your customers need you.
3. Eighty-eight percent of consumers who search for a local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours. Makes sense, right? Given that 85 percent of Americans are never more than a few feet away from their smartphones, you can guess that they're doing most of their surfing on them, too. Customers are increasingly making arrangements for things like storage units by mobile phone exclusively—no desktop in sight. Don't lose out by either skimping on mobile-site development or ignoring it altogether.
4. Sixty-two percent of smartphone owners have used their device to check prices. You can be the best self-storage business in town with the best prices, customer service and location(s). You've probably spent a significant amount of money branding your facility so people recognize your name and will come to you for self-storage services. However, you'll significantly undercut the hard work you've put into your brand if your mobile-website presentation is sloppy, difficult or impossible to navigate. Again, because the majority of your customers will find you through your mobile site, that's all they'll see. Your reputation and your sales could suffer if your site isn’t up to par.
5. Twenty-two percent of small-business owners planned to invest in mobile commerce in 2013. It’s safe to say your competitors are already thinking about a mobile strategy. With customers who prefer to find your facility on a mobile device and access critical information about your services from one, self-storage operators can’t afford to ignore this rapidly growing channel.
Danette Hill is a marketing manager at EZ Storage, a self-storage facility with three locations in the Boston-metro area including Framingham, Natick and Newton. For more information, visit www.ezstoragenow.com.