Customers are in the midst of a mobile mind shift. They want information and services and they want them now. Rather than set aside time to do research on their PC, they reach for a device and make an informed decision in minutes, even seconds. In other words, there is no “going online”—people live online.
For online marketers, this is a challenge. Google data tells us customers are more interested in getting what they want quickly than being loyal to a brand. You can’t assume customers will seek you out, even if they connected with you in a previous moment. To win in this environment, you need to show up in your customer’s moment of need, with answers and content that satisfies that need swiftly.
Google calls these series of moments micro-moments.. A user may want to know something; they may want to go somewhere; they may want to get something done; or they may want to buy something. If you can create content and tools to service these needs immediately, you will capture interest and drive customer engagement in ways that generate leads. If you don’t show up and satisfy your customer in their moment of need, swiftly, people will click away and find someone who does.
Here’s how to master the micro-moment and capture the customer.
1. Know your moments
The micro-moments are a little different for each business, but there are two that come up in any buyer’s journey: exploring and buying. They illustrate how customers’ needs are different at different stages.
When a customer is researching and exploring, they are not ready to buy yet. They want information, not the hard sell. When they are ready to make a purchase or sign a lease, they need help deciding exactly what to choose and how. In both cases, the micro-moment is an important opportunity to be valuable.
To prioritize the micro-moments your business can't afford to miss, there are a few key steps:
Research the top search terms, phrases and questions related to your business.
Analyze your position in those searches.
Target people during life changes or moments of truth.
2. Make sure you show up
Once you’ve identified and prioritized your customers’ moments of need, the next step is to make sure your business shows up in those moments. There are three essential ways to do this:
First, a content creation strategy tailored to your market(s) will ensure you show up for top related searches. According to Google, 73% of consumers say that getting regular installments of useful information from an advertiser is the most important attribute when selecting a brand.
Second, leveraging paid search will enable you to target your ideal prospects and residents so you show up when they need you to. Studies have shown that you can increase brand awareness by 46% simply by showing up in mobile search ad results.
Third, managing each of your locations’ online reputations and featuring the results on your website(s) and search engine results pages will make your business a trusted source when it matters most.
OK, now your business or location shows up in the critical searches. The next step is having what people need in that moment.
3. Show up with what they need
It’s not enough to show up when customers need you; you also have to show up with what they need. By analyzing the top searches related to your business, you’ve already begun to study what customers want to learn about your market, products, or services. Important questions will arise. For example, if customers want to visit your business, are you helping them find nearby locations on your website and in search results? Do you have how-to video content to support their efforts?
Context matters, too. Your content might be different based on your customer's location. Do you need to give them different information when they are on your property vs. far away?
Here are a few general tips on how to be relevant to customers' needs at the moment and connect them to the answers they're looking for:
Satisfy your customers’ needs. In other words, evaluate their intent at every touchpoint of the digital conversation. That will help you deliver insights that please customers and create value.
Make content snackable. Obviously, your website must function flawlessly on smart phones and tablets, but your content should be optimized for mobile too. Customers want small bites of information quickly throughout their day. Can you deliver this consistently across all devices?
Consider the context. Think about how the customer's needs might change based on their situation. You need to analyze how your content should be different depending on their context.
4. Make it snappy
When you show up with relevant content, you need to deliver it swiftly. These moments are called “micro” for a reason. You don’t have more than a short period of time. Your customer wants what they want when they want it, and their experience has to be fast and friction-free, especially on mobile.
Prioritizing is step one. Which functions on your website are absolutely, positively, undeniably essential for your customer? When they arrive at your website, what key actions do you want them to take? What do you already know about your customer that can help you anticipate their needs? Use these questions to prioritize the key sections of your website, and focus your efforts where they will matter most.
The next step is streamlining. How long does it take to perform key tasks or get critical answers? How many clicks does it take to get where customers need to go in various micro-moments? Does the process have dead ends? How long do pages take to download? Evaluate this from the time customers start a search to the time they can evaluate the content in full. Remember that users might not have the fastest internet connection, so test your website on 3G connections, not just Wi-Fi.
Based on what you learn, you might have some work to do on your user interface or individual areas of your website or how you produce and deliver content.
You know you have the services and expertise your customers need. Master the micro-moment, and you’ll be your customers’ trusted adviser throughout their journey.