– By: Joe Coyle –
With all the recent changes and information buzzing around mobile it’s important to reflect on what drives individual browsers to use their devices. It’s even more important to focus on the question of which devices are they using, what are they looking for and why?
Now, more than ever we are inundated with information and outlets. We have businesses, brands and even people that are all looking for our individual attention…at all times of the day and night. We are offered and are using more and more digital sources for our research and networking.
Why are we constantly ‘plugged in,’ and what are we doing while we are there?
I would like to propose a concept that isn’t new, by any means, but is a different way to explain this ever evolving process. I try my best to look at my ‘online interactions’ with an objective eye (not always with the best success) and this concept was developed when I was recently searching for something that I had never needed previously.
My wife and I had just recently purchased our first house, and like most first time home buyers our positive and frankly romantic outlook on homeownership was quickly reeled back in to reality with the realization that we needed to purchase a new fence for our backyard.
With this new information I decided to start the process of looking for a fencing company to come out and give my wife and I some quotes. I would like to consider myself a fairly savvy individual and as my wife will state, I research everything to the point of “obsessive” behavior. I decided to start this process by using my smart phone, as this discussion had taken place while my wife and I were out at dinner one evening.
My initial search term used on Google was, “Fencing company Dayton, OH.” Google fired back with a grab bag of results, but what I was most interested in was the organic links that provided more information as to the ‘what’ of my request. The ‘what’ portion is a research statement meaning that I was not sure what type of fence I was looking for in this type of application. I was aware that there are different types of fencing, but had no idea how many options there were.
During my research I learned that there are not only several types of wood fencing, but there are composite, vinyl, chain link, iron and several others. I was becoming increasingly overwhelmed with the options that I had been presented so I changed tactics in my search types to try and hone in on what I needed which was fencing for a pool, which happened to be my next search topic on Google.
By this point we had left dinner and had arrived home to wind down the evening. I had switched over to my tablet to give myself more screen real estate for my research. My query brought back more specific results and I found myself not only visiting industry websites, but also forums, blogs, social media sources and contractor websites. I decided once I had the information and insight from others that had ‘shared’ their stories that I was interested in a specific type of fencing, that being a vinyl fence.
I went back to Google and performed another search, ‘Vinyl fencing Dayton, OH.’ Google fetched and delivered a more specific field of results based around my question. I was presented with more research sources, large format resellers, local business sites and even more targeted ads based on my specific search term. I was now getting more refined information to aide in my personal selection and was even given a better understanding of the process for installing a fence myself (which I decided was not worth the hassle).
My final search on Google during my ‘research’ stage was a pretty ‘long tail search term’ which was, “6’ Vinyl fencing contractors Dayton, OH.” Google offered up several local businesses in the ‘lucky 7’ or map section to fulfill my needs. This allowed me to begin the process of verifying and finding the best local business for my needs.
I started by looking on their Google+ local page to see if there were any reviews from past clients. I was able to hone in on 12 businesses and took my process to other relevant sources (Angies list, BBB, etc…) and even looked on Facebook to see if any of these businesses were active in social media. I was surprised to see that only five of those businesses were active on Facebook and of those there were two that had horrible reviews from past clients.
I had decided to investigate those businesses further by actively checking out their websites and other sources online. By searching for those businesses specifically on Google I was able to see not only if they had a website, but that some were also using paid search advertising. Two of those businesses were offering 10% and 20% off selected fencing jobs. At that point the process was simple and I called over and scheduled estimates with each of those businesses.
I will spare you the boring details on which business we decided to hire and all the other parts, but the point I am trying to make here is that we probably all go through a similar set of criteria when looking for products or services online. My wife is an avid deal hunter and will not buy anything at retail price, so she is constantly on the hunt for great deals online. I buy the majority of my goods on Amazon and utilize both Amazon reviews and YouTube videos to aide in my decision making process.
The path that any typical browser takes to ultimately purchase/hire products/services seems natural now and quite familiar, but looking at this with an objective eye as an internet marketing professional I touched 99% of the online marketing available today. It’s not enough to just have this online product, or that online service any longer for your business. You need an objective eye to identify where you should be placed, and most importantly how that is managed for ideal results in this ever changing environment. Consumers are becoming more ‘plugged in’ than ever before. The digital word is now sitting in their pockets and we are all capable of using these sources as we see fit.
When was the last time you looked at your smart phone? Recently studies show that there are 2 billion PC’s in the world and 5 billion mobile phones. We are looking at the mobile age, are you able to be found?
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