According to market-research company eMarketer, adults spend an average of three hours and 35 minutes on their mobile devices every day. By 2019, mobile devices are expected to surpass TV as the medium attracting the most minutes in the United States. They’re here to stay, and your self-storage marketing strategy should reflect this trend.
Mobile-Friendly vs. Responsive
The first step to improving your mobile marketing is to grasp the difference between the terms “mobile-friendly” and “responsive.” Most people will use them interchangeably to describe a website you can access via smartphone. However, these are two entirely different kinds of websites, and they don’t provide the same functions or benefits.
“Mobile-friendly” means the website shrinks from the normal desktop size to one that fits on a smartphone screen. It’s designed to look and function the same on all devices. Essentially, the only thing that changes is the size. Usability isn’t considered in the design of mobile-friendly website, which means certain capabilities that run on a desktop version, such as a reservations portal, won’t necessarily be available via smartphone.
A responsive website automatically adjusts to a variety of devices including tablets, smartphones, laptops and desktops; but unlike mobile-friendly websites, they take design and usability into account. Users don’t have to manually “pinch and squeeze” their screen to view content in clearly.
For self-storage operations, this is particularly important if you have an online reservations tool. Most prospective renters are likely be on the go, so your call-to-action buttons need to work on all devices. Facilities that lack responsive mobile options may have a hard time reaching potential tenants. A responsive website makes navigation easy for users and creates an all-around optimal experience.
According to BusinessInsider.com, 94 percent of people will deem a website as trustworthy or not based on design alone. If a website fails to display properly on a user’s device, eight out of 10 people said they would stop engaging with that content. It’s clear they value design and usability in their customer journey.
Responsiveness also plays a big role in how customers find your website in the first place because Google uses it as a key factor in determining rankings. If a website fails to be perfectly compatible with a mobile device, it’s more likely to appear farther back in results; whereas, if it can be viewed on a smartphone, it’s more likely to appear on the front page. Google calls this mobile-first indexing. While mobile-friendly websites can technically benefit from this feature, responsive websites have a greater advantage. To increase online traffic and appear on first-page results, your website must be responsive.
Progressive Web Apps
In addition to responsive websites, app technology has taken the world by storm in the last 10 years. Apps account for 89 percent of all mobile media time, with the other 11 percent spent on native websites. So, what if there was a way to use the convenience of an app with the speed and search engine optimization abilities of a responsive website? That’s where a progressive web app (PWA) comes in.
A PWA is a new technology by Google that combines the best of an app and a website into one all-encompassing platform. By 2020, PWAs will have replaced 50 percent of general-purpose consumer-facing apps, according to Gartner Research, a global research and advisory firm.
Through an interactive PWA experience, customers can engage from any digital medium, in any location. This means your self-storage tenants can access your information from anywhere with unparalleled speed. Faster, integrated and engaging, a PWA allows your business to reach a larger audience than ever before. PWAs include all the benefits of a native app plus automatic background updates, low data and storage usage, fast-loading even with poor Internet connection, and customized push notifications. Here are some other benefits:
Speed. When it comes to speed, PWAs beat websites, and they’re 50 times faster than traditional apps. Considering that quick load speed encourages higher rankings, you want to ensure your website is performing at the highest possible level. Keep in mind, 91 percent of people won’t go past the first page of search results.
Reliability. A common inconvenience for mobile users is having to use cellular data in locations with poor Internet connection. This not only drains your battery, it can drive up your monthly bill. PWAs use 70 percent less data than traditional apps. The ability to download the website to the home screen of any device will also eliminate the need for perfect connectivity.
Customer engagement. This is an important factor to consider when it comes to accessing your mobile website. According to social networking site ResearchGate, 85 percent of adults think a business’ mobile website/app should be as good, if not better than the desktop version. To meet these expectations, you need to prioritize your website’s appearance on mobile devices.
Running as a responsive website, a PWA allows you to maintain a clean, organized layout on all devices. Your facility will also benefit through direct communication with tenants by way of customized push notifications. Examples include:
- General facility updates
- Changes to hours of operation
- Sales or specials
- Holiday schedules
- Payment-due notifications
- Upcoming events
Currently, 68 percent of companies have integrated mobile marketing into their overall marketing strategy. Many Fortune 500 companies have also made the switch to PWAs. When perfume and makeup manufacturer Lancôme switched to a PWA, the company saw a 17 percent increase in customer conversions. For “Forbes” magazine, the average user session doubled in length.
The importance of providing an enhanced mobile experience for users can’t be overstated. By using a responsive website and PWA in your mobile marketing, your self-storage business can beat the competition when it comes to customer convenience and ease of use.
Stephanie Pelski is a marketing specialist for The Storage Group, a provider of self-storage technology products and services. Based in New York City, she enjoys incorporating her love of pop culture and social media into creative content for self-storage owners. With a focus on website design, digital marketing services and software development, The Storage Group is committed to providing an improved customer experience and business success. For more information, call 407.392.2328, ext. 113; visit www.storageinternetmarketing.com.