Welcome to the third and final part of the main marketing lessons for dispensaries and cannabis businesses that I learned from MozCon 2016. In the previous posts, I reviewed how cannabusinesses (and any business, really) can take advantage of reputation marketing and personalization marketing. Today I’ll recap mobile optimization tips that can help cannabis companies better connect with their customers on the platform where they’re spending most of their time: their phones.
Mobile encompasses 65% of the time people spend on digital media. This is important because many businesses tend to focus on their desktop experiences first and mimic that experience for mobile users. The reality is that desktop is becoming more and more secondary in how consumers shop and seek out information. In fact, by 2017 there will be an entirely separate index of search results in Google for mobile, and this index will be prioritized by the search giant.
With these tips, you’ll find a few ways you can make sure your current and potential customers are finding you on mobile and getting the best experience possible once they do.
Don’t Lose People’s Attention
What many companies forget is that we are different people on mobile than we are on desktop. Think about what your screen looks like on your phone vs. your computer. You’ll notice there’s a lot more going on with your computer because it’s easier to open multiple tabs, and we’re typically more patient for content to load. On mobile, both our attention span and patience are dwindled. In fact, 60% of mobile visitors want a site to load in less than three seconds.
This is why site speed is a great place to start in optimizing your mobile website. In terms of design and code, simple is typically better; no one wants to wait for images and clunky code to load. Here are four relatively simple tips a webmaster can follow to help speed things up from the backend:
- Compress the files that make up your website into a zip file. This makes them faster for a browser to load.
- Redirect pages on the site that are 404 errors to a live URL. I’d recommend using Google Search Console to find error pages. It can also be used to diagnose other issues on the site.
- Do your research and find the fastest hosting company for your site. To help, here’s a great guide for hosting companies.
- Detail your image dimensions in the website code so the browser doesn’t have to do the work and take longer to load a page.
These are just a few tactics you can start with, but there are numerous ways to help a website load faster and easier. You can use Google’s PageSpeed tools to help with the process.
Don’t Let People Get Lost or Confused
From where to find your physical location to how to contact you, someone shouldn’t have to spend time getting lost while navigating your site or another map service. Here are a few suggestions to make things easier for them:
- Get your business listed on popular directory sites, including Google and other search engine local listings. As I mentioned in the personalization marketing post of this series, make sure your business name and address format is identical on each site. Consistency across different listings helps get your listings to show up more frequently in search results. Don’t have your name be “Grandmaster Bud’s Emporium of Cannabis” on your Leafly dispensary page but “Emporium of Cannabis Products from Grandmaster Bud” on your Google local listing.
- In your main site navigation, make the links clearly call out what is in that section – strain menu browsing, the blog, about the company, etc. It’s risky to try and be clever with your navigation link text because it can confuse and frustrate your mobile visitors.
- Use click to call buttons when you include your phone number – and clearly call out the best times to call or your hours of operation.
- Show your address and make it easy to click to get directions in a navigation app. Again, how you format your address (abbreviating words, etc.) should be consistent across sites where it’s listed.
- Make contact or opt-in forms simple, easy, and as short as possible. You can A/B test different formats and copy to see what performs best.
- When someone needs to enter information in these forms or anywhere on the site, have the default keyboard match the field the user is filling out. For example, if they need to enter a phone number, make sure the numbers keyboard is what automatically comes up.
There are a number of ways to help your mobile visitors find what they need, but you might be unsure of where to start or what to prioritize. Talia Wolf’s presentation highlighted some great questions to ask yourself that can help you find areas of improvement:
- What does your mobile traffic search for most frequently on your internal site search? This is information that you might want to better emphasize or make easier to find.
- What are the top performing pages on your site for mobile traffic? You can learn from these pages and try to better replicate certain aspects of them across the site.
- Alternatively, you can also look at your pages with the highest drop off to see what about the experience of the page can be improved (and also apply those learnings elsewhere).
Bonus Tip: Talia also shared a Complete Guide to Mobile Landing Page Optimization that you can request for free. It’s full of useful tips and recommendations to get your mobile site in top shape.
Don’t be Intrusive!
Last but definitely not least, don’t force anything upon your mobile visitors. Auto-playing movies or music, giant flashy banners detracting from the main point of the page, and anything else that interrupts the mobile experience is a surefire way to lose your mobile visitors. Plus, all of that tends to increase site load times.
The biggest culprit of mobile intrusion is screen-monopolizing pop-ups. I’m not sure who decided pop-ups taking up the whole screen that don’t allow you to continue reading until you at least click the X were a good idea, but it needs to stop. Usually these pop-ups are asking to subscribe, but interfering with a mobile visitor’s experience like that could actually do the opposite and just cause them to jump ship.
Instead, have less invasive CTAs on the side navigation, at the bottom of a post, or anywhere that doesn’t require someone to take an additional action to NOT opt-in. Plus, Google will begin deprioritizing sites with intrusive interstitials starting January 2017, so you’re also hurting your search engine performance by including these.
Note: Legally required interstitials that cannabis businesses must include to ask a visitor’s age aren’t included in this penalty.
With the conclusion of this series, hopefully the lessons covered in each post provide you some actionable items and strategies you can try now or in the near future. There were a lot of gems from the 2016 MozCon presentations, so feel free to download and explore the session presentations on the Moz site. You can also request detailed notes from Unbounce.